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The European Council was yesterday due to adopt the directive on the protection of undisclosed know-how and business information (trade secrets) against their unlawful acquisition, use and disclosure (“Trade Secrets Directive“), following a vote by the European Parliament on 15 April 2016.  This was following a long legislative process which began with a draft directive in 2013.

Continue Reading Can you keep a (trade) secret?

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On 16 March 2016, the Advocate General (AG) delivered an Opinion, in McFadden v Sony Music Entertainment Germany GmbH Case-484/14, that a business offering free WiFi access to the public cannot be held liable for copyright infringement committed by a user of that WiFI. The decision confirms the applicability of the E-Commerce Directive, and the “mere conduit” defence, to free WiFi providers.


Continue Reading WiFi providers not liable for copyright infringement by users

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In Barbulescu v Romania, a case concerning employees’ right to privacy, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) held that an employer could monitor and access personal messages sent by an employee during work hours from his Yahoo Messenger account. The decision, however, is not a precedent for unrestricted monitoring by employers of personal messages sent by employees during office hours.


Continue Reading ECHR rules employer can monitor personal messages sent by employee

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In December 2014 the European Commission published its 5th Report on the monitoring of patent settlement agreements in the EEA in respect of the period January to December 2013. The focus of the report was to gather some insight into the types of agreements being entered into between originator and generic companies and to identify the types of agreements that were resulting in a delay to generic entry to the market. While these types of agreements can potentially give rise to competition law issues the Report does clarify that there is no presumption of any legislative breach and that each case would require analysis of the merits and specific circumstances.


Continue Reading Commission Report on the Monitoring of Patent Settlement Agreements

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The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has ruled that the Data Retention Directive 2006/24/EC (Directive) is invalid.

The Irish High Court (in Digital Rights Ireland Ltd v Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources & Ors C-293/12) and the Austrian Constitutional Court (in Kärntner Landesregierung, Michael Seitlinger, Christof Tschohl and others, C 594/12), asked the CJEU to examine the validity of the Directive.


Continue Reading CJEU rules that the Data Retention Directive is invalid

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Election candidates in the upcoming May local and European Parliament Elections have all recently received correspondence from the Data Protection Commissioner reminding them of their obligations with regards to communicating with the electorate.  Candidates were made aware that should any complaints be received by the office of the Data Protection Commissioner they will be investigated, with appropriate action taken.

Candidates and political parties must adhere to the clear statutory guidelines as set out the in the European Communities (Electronic Communications Networks and Services) (Privacy and Electronic Communications) Regulations 2011, particularly in relation to the use of SMS, phone and e-mail in sending electoral messages. 


Continue Reading Restrictions on electronic direct marketing- politically correct?

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The European Court of Human Rights, in Defli AS v Estonia, has upheld unanimously a finding of liability against an Internet news portal regarding offensive comments that were posted online by one of its readers. The Court held that making Defli AS liable for the comments was a justified and proportionate interference with its right to freedom of expression and thta there was no violation of Article 10 (freedom of expression)

The facts of the case date back to 2006, when Delfi AS, one of Estonia’s largest internet news sites published an article relating to a ferry company and its decision to change some of its routes to certain islands. This change subsequently damaged ice roads considered to be a cheaper alternative to the ferry services. This led to an outcry of abusive and potentially defamatory online comments about the owner of the ferry company underneath the article.


Continue Reading Website found liable for online commentary