Most Read Contributor in Netherlands, January 2017
In 2017, the focus will continue to be on the impact of the new
Trade Secrets Directive and the expected realisation of the Unified
Patent Court. In addition, the Court of Justice of the EU will
hopefully provide some useful answers in a number of intellectual
property cases, and we can expect new (largely media-related)
legislation at both EU and national level.
Keeping secrets secret
The Trade Secrets Directive, which aims to
standardise national civil law in EU countries against the unlawful
acquisition, disclosure and use of trade secrets, was adopted in
June 2016. It is necessary for companies to implement an extensive
trade secret strategy, as information is only protected by the
Directive if it is (i) secret, (ii) has commercial value because it
is secret, and (iii) is subject to reasonable steps to keep it
secret. As the Directive typically provides for general rules, such
as on keeping information confidential during civil court
proceedings, it will be interesting to see how EU countries
implement them. They have until 9 June 2018 to do so.
The long-awaited UPC
Uncertainty followed the vote for Brexit in June 2016. However,
the UK government has since confirmed that it is continuing to
prepare for ratification of the Unified Patent Court Agreement and has signed
the Protocol on Privileges and Immunities of the
Unified Patent Court (UPC). This means that the UPC may be launched
at the end of 2017, depending on other factors such as ratification
by Germany. The UPC will be a single European patent court, having
competence in respect of European patents and European patents with
unitary effect, and its establishment will drastically change the
EU patent landscape.
2017 will also see media-related legislative proposals. At EU
level, legislative proposals are pending in relation to copyright (the EU Copyright Reform Package)
and audiovisual media services. The proposals
mainly affect broadcasters and include rules on the cross-border
offering of online content and commercial communications. It
remains to be seen which proposals will become legislation in 2017.
In addition, the European Commission has indicated that it will
focus on the field of domain names and databases as well as on EU
consumer and advertising law in 2017.
In the Netherlands, several amendments to the Media Decree 2008 entered
into force on 1 January 2017. The amendments relate to the funding
of the regional public service broadcasters and the obligation on
national service broadcasters to provide subtitles. In addition,
two bills relating to gambling are pending; the first bill relates to the division and sale of
Holland Casino and the second bill introduces a licensing regime for
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