This week’s top 15 legal briefings – 27 April 2014

Three from Europe: enhanced regulation for cross-border workers; beefed-up measures to protect trade secrets; and a ruling on Austrian bread rolls

Nearly 20 years ago, Brussels legislative boffins gave us the Posted Workers Directive, which to the uninitiated sounds like a law requiring businesses to parcel up in brown paper wrapping a minimum number of employees and bung them into pillar boxes. The reality, as with so much of EU legislation, is a lot more complicated. The directive sets out rules applicable to workers posted from one undertaking within the EU to another. Now the commission has drafted a new enforcement directive on the subject in the wake of calls to reinforce inspections and beef up the rules generally. The trigger, explain our commentators from law firm Gateley, is a series of European Court of Justice decisions highlighting conflicts between single market principles and the original directive. The Swiss have also thrown a spanner in the works by backing a referendum to crack down on immigration from EU countries. Click here for more information

Jonathan Ames
Jonathan Ames

The commission has also busied itself recently with how companies can better protect their trade secrets from thieving pirates in the digital cyber age. Geeing along the eurocrats have been a couple of studies, with the first showing that one in five European companies has suffered at least one attempted theft of its trade secrets in the past 10 years. Another claimed even more dramatic figures – that 25 per cent of European companies reported that baddies had nicked their information in 2013, compared with 18 per cent the previous year. With a crisis like that on its hands, the commission knows that urgent action man-style measures are needed – so it drafts a law. This one is the ‘Directive on the protection of undisclosed know-how and business information (trade secrets) against their unlawful acquisition, use and disclosure’ – which if nothing else will distract the pirates as they try to work out exactly what it means. Our commentators at law firm Bristows do their best to explain. Click here for more information.

Teenagers – and no small number of adults – around the world have happily hoovered up bucket-loads of coke in their time. And they’ve managed to down the sickly stuff without realising that they are perfectly illustrating an intellectual property phenomenon whereby a registered trademark becomes a victim of its own success. Lawyers from Walker Morris point out that if through the acts or inactivity of a proprietor a name becomes commonplace in the trade for the product or service in respect of which it is registered, that trademark may be revoked. Indeed, that fate has already befallen aspirin, cellophane and yo-yo. Recently, Europe’s top court has got stuck into the debate, ruling in a case involving that instantly recognisable global brand… Kornspitz. For those who have been living on another planet, it’s a type of Austrian bread roll. Click here for more information.

Top five briefings by law firm 
Goodman Derrick: CRAR: a new system for the recovery of commercial property rent arrears is now in forceDownload
Dentons: MMR (Mortgage Market Review) is here — are you protected?Download
Anthony Collins: Recent data security challenges in the health and social care sector — what is your response?Download
Taylor Wessing: A new European trade secrets regime takes shapeDownload
No5 Chambers: Criminal parallel proceedings — when is it appropriate for parties to postpone?Download
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Top five briefings by practice area 
Banking & finance: Expect greater SEC scrutiny of hedge funds that share information or collaborate in advance of their tradesDownload
Employment: Posting workers abroad: key issues for UK employers to considerDownload
Intellectual property: Victims of their own success: trademarks that become the common name for their product or serviceDownload
Litigation/dispute resolution: Litigation: a marathon or a sprint?Download
Real estate: Update on Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2014Download
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Top five briefings by region 
Asia-Pacific: China’s energy revolutionDownload
Offshore: Norwich Pharmacal relief — obtaining information relating to a BVI company from its registered agentDownload
Middle East & Africa: Private equity: AVCA conference April 2014Download
UK & Europe: Dare to share? Proposed new directive should help protect your confidential information when doing business in EuropeDownload
US & The Americas: Lehman: new limitations on plan payment of individual creditors’ committee members’ professional feesDownload
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