Sunday, 8 December 2019

Trade Secrets and Non-Disclosure Agreements

The Atrium at M-SParc


















Jane Lambert

On my last visit to the Menai Science Park (M-SParc), last month, I spoke about IP Database Searches and Understanding Specifications. I had a good audience and I think it shows that there is a demand for short talks on specific subjects, When I return to Anglesey at the end of next month, I propose to talk about trade secrets and non-disclosure agreements.

Why that topic?  Well, every business has trade secrets and for some companies such as Coca Cola, Microsoft and the distillers of Chartreuse a trade secret may be the most valuable intellectual asset that they own.  It can last a lot longer than a patent and can provide much better protection just so long as secrecy can be maintained.  Also, as patents are granted only for inventions that are new, every patentable invention starts off life as a trade secret,  If you want to discuss your invention with a consultant or a customer before you apply for a patent you had better make sure he or she signs a confidentiality agreement before you disclose any secret technical or commercial information to him or her.

The law relating to trade secrecy has recently changed across Europe with the coming into force of the Trade Secrets Directive last year.  Non-disclosure agreements and confidentiality clauses in consultancy, employment, joint venture, licensing and other commercial agreements have to be reassessed in the light of that Directive and the implementing regulations (see The Trade Secrets Directive 7 July 2016 NIPC Law and Transposing the Trade Secrets Directive into English Law: Confidentiality Agreements 30 Nov 2019 NIPC Law). So, too, must  companies' measures for keeping their sensitive technical and commercial information secret.  I shall also be talking about remedies if secret information is disclosed or used improperly.

This topic should be useful for each and every business in North West Wales from the very smallest seaside café with a recipe for scrumptious bara brith to the increasing number of knowledge-based businesses with winning technologies in life sciences or computation.  As with my previous visits, I will hold pro bono one to ones after the talk until the science park closes.

Shortly, Pryderi will give me a date for the talk and Emily will post a notice on Eventbrite inviting registrations. if in the meantime anybody in Northwest Wales (or anywhere else for that matter) wants to discuss this topic or any other IP issue, he or she should call me on +44 (0)202 7404 5252 or send me a message through my contact form.

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