This week’s top 15 legal briefings – 3 August 2014

Commercially sensitive data and information (or trade secrets in old money) are more important than ever – and more vulnerable than ever. Businesses and their lawyers need to be on constant guard to protect vital nuggets – and now the EU is lending a hand with a soon-to-be-implemented directive. As usual with Brussels, literalism is the order of the day when titling legislation, so practitioners will have to spend a few hours memorising the name of the ‘Directive on the protection of undisclosed know-how and business information (trade secrets) against their unlawful acquisition, use and disclosure’ – yes, that’s the DPUKBIUAUD for those in the know. But despite a tortuous name, our analysis team from law firm Dentons reckons European businesses will welcome the directive as an improvement on the current position where ‘laws to protect and enforce trade secrets across the EU are…fragmented and diversified’. Indeed, the directive is the second recent boost in the intellectual property field. In our 29 June Briefings Digest, we reported on the UK’s forthcoming Intellectual Property Act 2014. Set to come into force in October, the legislation aims to make the handling of design and patent issues faster and more efficient. Click here for more information.

Jonathan Ames
Jonathan Ames

That blasted internet doesn’t half cause aggro for traditional media outlets. A recent battle in the US Supreme Court illustrates just how nervous the grey-bearded conventional broadcasters are, and how equally tenacious are the new-kid-on-the-block internet companies. New York-based technology company Aereo has been winding up US television broadcasters something rotten by streaming their programmes over the internet without paying fees for the privilege. The big boys sued and lost at first instance, won on appeal and then won again in the Supreme Court. But, as our commentators from law firm DLA Piper explain, there is more to run in this complicated case. Aereo has returned to the federal district court claiming that under provisions of the Copyright Act, it is entitled to a compulsory licence allowing it to carry over-the-air broadcasts. Such a licence, it maintains, would be a complete defence to copyright infringement claims by broadcasters. Click here for more information.

It was only six weeks ago that China’s premier, Li Keqiang, was taking tea at Downing Street and wooing David Cameron with suggestions that his country’s companies were keen to get a piece of the High Speed 2 rail project and several slices of British nuclear power stations. Regardless of how apoplectic Middle England might be turning at the prospect, the Chinese are moving apace with domestic reforms to allow greater foreign investment. Analysts from Australian law firm Minter Ellison point to a recent decree from China’s State Administration of Foreign Exchange, which will make it easier for Chinese individuals and companies to engage in outbound investment. Before long, it’ll be shark-fin soup all round on the fast train to Brum. Click here for more information.

Top five briefings by law firm 
DLA Piper: The Google tornado: just how ground-breaking is the ‘right to be forgotten’Download
Shepherd and Wedderburn: Trustees’ decision set aside in death benefits caseDownload
Minter Ellison: Is this referral affecting your impartiality? Federal Court backs ASIC in Walton wind-upDownload
Dentons: Are supervisors able to assess impairment? Drug driving decision suggests soDownload
Kemp Little: Court of Appeal clarifies Mitchell guidance on relief from sanctions — a welcomed departure from the hardline approach to procedureDownload
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Top five briefings by practice area 
Banking & finance: UK banking sector under investigationDownload
Employment: Confidential information: inspection of ex-employee’s computersDownload
Information technology: The future of big data — the big elephant in the roomDownload
Litigation: Termination and liquidated damages dispute costs subcontractor €1mDownload
Real estate: Breaking up is hard to do — Friends Life v Siemens Hearing InstrumentsDownload
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Top five briefings by region 
Asia-Pacific: New regulations make it easier for Chinese individuals and companies to invest abroadDownload
Middle East & Africa: Extension of the sanctions relief provided for in the Joint Plan of Action between the P5+1 and the Islamic Republic of IranDownload
Offshore: Employment Update: July 2014 — family-friendly rightsDownload
Europe: Europe: new laws to increase protection of trade secrets and confidential informationDownload
US & The Americas: Following loss before the Supreme Court, Aereo ‘astonishes’ broadcasters with new legal strategyDownload
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