SUBSCRIBE TODAY!
Subscribing entitles a reader to complete stories on all topics released as they happen, special features, confidential documents and access to the complete, searchable story archive online back to 2004.
IP-Watch Interns Summer 2013

IP-Watch interns Brittany Ngo (Yale Graduate School of Public Health) and Caitlin McGivern (University of Law, London) talk about their Geneva experience in summer 2013. 2:42.

Inside Views

Submit ideas to info [at] ip-watch [dot] ch!

We welcome your participation in article and blog comment threads, and other discussion forums, where we encourage you to analyse and react to the content available on the Intellectual Property Watch website.

By participating in discussions or reader forums, or by submitting opinion pieces or comments to articles, blogs, reviews or multimedia features, you are consenting to these rules.

1. You agree that you are fully responsible for the content that you post. You will not knowingly post content that violates the copyright, trademark, patent or other intellectual property right of any third party or which you know is under a confidentiality obligation preventing its publication and that you will request removal of the same should you discover that you have violated this provision. Likewise, you may not post content that is libelous, defamatory, obscene, abusive, that violates a third party's right to privacy, that otherwise violates any applicable local, state, national or international law, that amounts to spamming or that is otherwise inappropriate. You may not post content that degrades others on the basis of gender, race, class, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual preference, disability or other classification. Epithets and other language intended to intimidate or to incite violence are also prohibited. Furthermore, you may not impersonate others.

2. You understand and agree that Intellectual Property Watch is not responsible for any content posted by you or third parties. You further understand that IP Watch does not monitor the content posted. Nevertheless, IP Watch may monitor the any user-generated content as it chooses and reserves the right to remove, edit or otherwise alter content that it deems inappropriate for any reason whatever without consent nor notice. We further reserve the right, in our sole discretion, to remove a user's privilege to post content on our site. IP Watch is not in any manner endorsing the content of the discussion forums and cannot and will not vouch for its reliability or otherwise accept liability for it.

3. By submitting any contribution to IP Watch, you warrant that your contribution is your own original work and that you have the right to make it available to IP Watch for all purposes and you agree to indemnify IP Watch, its directors, employees and agents against all damages, legal fees and others expenses that may be incurred by IP Watch as a result of your breach of warranty or of these terms.

4. You further agree not to publish any personal information about yourself or anyone else (for example telephone number or home address). If you add a comment to a blog, be aware that your email address will be apparent.

5. IP Watch will not be liable for any loss including but not limited to the following (whether such losses are foreseen, known or otherwise): loss of data, loss of revenue or anticipated profit, loss of business, loss of opportunity, loss of goodwill or injury to reputation, losses suffered by third parties, any indirect, consequential or exemplary damages.

6. You understand and agree that the discussion forums are to be used only for non-commercial purposes. You may not solicit funds, promote commercial entities or otherwise engage in commercial activity in our discussion forums.

7. You acknowledge and agree that you use and/or rely on any information obtained through the discussion forums at your own risk.

8. For any content that you post, you hereby grant to IP Watch the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual, exclusive and fully sub-licensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part, world-wide and to incorporate it in other works, in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

9. These terms and your posts and contributions shall be governed and interpreted in accordance with the laws of Switzerland (without giving effect to conflict of laws principles thereof) and any dispute exclusively settled by the Courts of the Canton of Geneva.

Quantitative Analysis Of Contributions To NETMundial Meeting

A quantitative analysis of the 187 submissions to the April NETmundial conference on the future of internet governance shows broad support for improving security, ensuring respect for privacy, ensuring freedom of expression, and globalizing the IANA function, analyst Richard Hill writes.


Latest Comments
  • Why should anyone care what James Anaya thinks? In... »
  • If this goes ahead, as the EU will "speak" for all... »

  • For IPW Subscribers

    A directory of IP delegates in Geneva. Read more>

    A guide to Geneva-based public health and intellectual property organisations. Read More >


    Monthly Reporter

    The Intellectual Property Watch Monthly Reporter, published from 2004 to January 2011, is a 16-page monthly selection of the most important, updated stories and features, plus the People and News Briefs columns.

    The Intellectual Property Watch Monthly Reporter is available in an online archive on the IP-Watch website, available for IP-Watch Subscribers.

    Access the Monthly Reporter Archive >

    Industry Groups Press For EU, US Action On Trade Secret Protection

    Published on 16 July 2012 @ 10:25 am

    By for Intellectual Property Watch

    Theft of trade secrets, or “confidential business information,” has reached such an appalling level that legislative action is needed, industry groups say. They’re pushing the European Union and United States to get involved, and may be making headway.

    Trade secrets are an important strategic asset for many European companies, EU Internal Market and Services Commissioner Michel Barnier said [pdf] before a 29 June conference on the topic in Brussels. As a result of time-consuming and costly research, decades of experience and presence in a particular market, businesses find they possess unique information and knowledge that allow them to compete successfully, he said.

    That know-how is particularly valuable because it can give companies an advantage over rivals, Barnier added. Management of trade secrets, along with intellectual property (IP) rights such as patents and trademarks, is “key to achieving competitiveness gains linked to innovation and excellence,” he said.

    But digital technology now enables huge amounts of data to be captured and transmitted across the globe in seconds and at no cost, he said. Outsourcing, subcontracting and expertise consulting, all widely used, involve sharing of strategic information and knowledge. An adequate level of protection for such know-how, alongside effective forms of redress, can help maintain fair competition, he said.

    The EC published a study on the legal protection of trade secrets in January. It’s now surveying companies to gauge the economic significance of trade secrets in order to assess their role in complementing patents and their importance for driving the innovation needed to create jobs and growth, Barnier said. The final study will be made public in the first half of 2013, the EC said.

    The problem is that there is no EU-level protection for trade secrets, DuPont de Nemours Associate General Counsel Patrick Schriber told Intellectual Property Watch. There’s no good reason for that other than a lack of awareness of the issues and of the importance trade secrets hold for Europe’s economy, he said.

    There are national laws, which vary greatly from country to country, Schriber said. DuPont is part of a lobbying group, the Trade Secrets & Innovation Coalition (TSIC), that is pressing for monetary and injunctive relief at European level.

    “Severe and Shocking” Theft

    Members of the TransAtlantic Business Dialogue are reporting “severe and shocking” trade secret theft problems, TABD US Executive Director Kathryn Hauser said in an 11 July interview. The situation is so bad that the TABD IP Working Group discussed it for the first time on 10 July at a strategy session in Brussels, she said. The TABD wants to use the working group to make government officials in the EU and US aware of the concept of trade secrets in the hope that they will seek a transatlantic solution, she said.

    DuPont de Nemours has noticed a striking increase in theft of its trade secrets over the past five to six years, Schriber said. Concerned, the company took internal measures to boost protection, but the thievery continued, he said. One major incident involved Kevlar, a substance DuPont patented in the 1970s, he said. The patents have expired, but the product’s continued success has led to a multitude of trade secret thefts involving the corporation’s manufacturing and processing knowledge, he said.

    Alstom is currently in a dispute with a Chinese company over the sale of air quality equipment, a TSIC primer says. The Chinese company, a previous licensee of Alstom, is now selling products outside China, including in the EU, using Alstom technology and know-how illegally, it says.

    Michelin had one of its prototype unpatented tires stolen during a 2005 rally in Japan, and more recently was involved in a trade secret theft involving an ex-employee, the TSIC said.

    The hike in stealing business secrets is driven by cybercrime and delocalisation of manufacturing and research and development, Schriber said. The phenomenon is linked to the very strong development of global trade, via outsourcing to China, India and other countries, and the advent in those regions of local companies seeking to compete with DuPont and other big companies, he said.

    The illegal activity appears to take several forms, Hauser said. It can involve an employee leaving one company and taking confidential business information with him to another, she said. That information may or may not be used in an “evil” way, but there are concerns about how to stop this situation from happening, she said.

    Another scenario is when visitors, suppliers or vendors take photographs on mobile phones while they’re inside a particular company, Hauser said. In addition, sometimes visitors are actually working for a state-sponsored organisation, often in a developing economy, looking to gain information from companies, she said.

    The IP community has been so focused on copyright and trademark issues that it hasn’t been aware until recently of the damage trade secret theft is causing, Hauser said. She welcomed the fact that the TABD IP Working Group is willing to put this on the agenda.

    Seeking a Solution

    Among other things, the TSIC aims to raise awareness of trade secrets as a complement to patents and to show how much European innovation is based on business know-how, Schriber said. The fact that the unitary EU patent is finally making some progress can’t hurt the effort, he said.

    But there are obstacles to achieving protection for trade secrets, Schriber said. As with all EU-based legislation, there must be support from a majority of member states. The EC Internal Market Directorate is strongly behind the push for protection, but the data it is seeking for its economic study will be hard to get hold of because organisations are reluctant to admit they’ve been robbed, he said.

    The coalition wants EU-wide legislation that clearly recognises trade secrets as a form of IP in order to allow redress for theft, Schriber said. It is not seeking new monopolies, and does not oppose reverse-engineering or parallel product development, he said. Companies want monetary redress, but, more importantly, injunctive relief, he said. Under US law, the International Trade Commission can bar imports into the States which have been made using infringed trade secrets, a measure that could be taken up at EU level, he said.

    At a minimum, there should be an EU-wide approach to protection, Schriber said. The other concrete step the EU could take would be to expressly include trade secrets as a form of IP protected by the directive on enforcement of IP rights, he said.

    Next Steps

    Coalition representatives met with European Parliament members on 11 July. At this point, everyone is awaiting the EC study and any proposal the Commission might make.

    But interest in the topic is starting to “become buzzing,” TSIC spokeswoman Ann Becker told us. In the works are several possible conferences in the autumn, and there is increased interest from the US side, as well as from other EC directorates, she said.

    The TABD IP Working Group usually meets twice a year, Hauser said. She plans to talk to the US Trade Representative and Department of Commerce about replicating the Brussels 10 July strategy session in Washington, but said no date has been set.

    Dugie Standeford may be reached at info@ip-watch.ch.

     


    Leave a Reply

    We welcome your participation in article and blog comment threads, and other discussion forums, where we encourage you to analyse and react to the content available on the Intellectual Property Watch website. By participating in discussions or reader forums, or by submitting opinion pieces or comments to articles, blogs, reviews or multimedia features, you are consenting to these rules.

    We welcome your participation in article and blog comment threads, and other discussion forums, where we encourage you to analyse and react to the content available on the Intellectual Property Watch website.

    By participating in discussions or reader forums, or by submitting opinion pieces or comments to articles, blogs, reviews or multimedia features, you are consenting to these rules.

    1. You agree that you are fully responsible for the content that you post. You will not knowingly post content that violates the copyright, trademark, patent or other intellectual property right of any third party or which you know is under a confidentiality obligation preventing its publication and that you will request removal of the same should you discover that you have violated this provision. Likewise, you may not post content that is libelous, defamatory, obscene, abusive, that violates a third party's right to privacy, that otherwise violates any applicable local, state, national or international law, that amounts to spamming or that is otherwise inappropriate. You may not post content that degrades others on the basis of gender, race, class, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual preference, disability or other classification. Epithets and other language intended to intimidate or to incite violence are also prohibited. Furthermore, you may not impersonate others.

    2. You understand and agree that Intellectual Property Watch is not responsible for any content posted by you or third parties. You further understand that IP Watch does not monitor the content posted. Nevertheless, IP Watch may monitor the any user-generated content as it chooses and reserves the right to remove, edit or otherwise alter content that it deems inappropriate for any reason whatever without consent nor notice. We further reserve the right, in our sole discretion, to remove a user's privilege to post content on our site. IP Watch is not in any manner endorsing the content of the discussion forums and cannot and will not vouch for its reliability or otherwise accept liability for it.

    3. By submitting any contribution to IP Watch, you warrant that your contribution is your own original work and that you have the right to make it available to IP Watch for all purposes and you agree to indemnify IP Watch, its directors, employees and agents against all damages, legal fees and others expenses that may be incurred by IP Watch as a result of your breach of warranty or of these terms.

    4. You further agree not to publish any personal information about yourself or anyone else (for example telephone number or home address). If you add a comment to a blog, be aware that your email address will be apparent.

    5. IP Watch will not be liable for any loss including but not limited to the following (whether such losses are foreseen, known or otherwise): loss of data, loss of revenue or anticipated profit, loss of business, loss of opportunity, loss of goodwill or injury to reputation, losses suffered by third parties, any indirect, consequential or exemplary damages.

    6. You understand and agree that the discussion forums are to be used only for non-commercial purposes. You may not solicit funds, promote commercial entities or otherwise engage in commercial activity in our discussion forums.

    7. You acknowledge and agree that you use and/or rely on any information obtained through the discussion forums at your own risk.

    8. For any content that you post, you hereby grant to IP Watch the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual, exclusive and fully sub-licensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part, world-wide and to incorporate it in other works, in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

    9. These terms and your posts and contributions shall be governed and interpreted in accordance with the laws of Switzerland (without giving effect to conflict of laws principles thereof) and any dispute exclusively settled by the Courts of the Canton of Geneva.

     

     
    Your IP address is 107.22.45.61