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Tag Archives: European Union

IP Translator: The EU Trademark Case Decision’s Affect on Applications

On June 19, 2012, the Court of Justice of the European Union issued a decision in a trademark case where the applicant sought registration for IP TRANSLATOR, using a class heading of “educational services” to identify the services.  Prior to this decision, an applicant for trademark protection in the European Union could use a class heading under the Nice Agreement – which sets out classes for goods/services, each of which are designated by a class headings that covers an alphabetical list of goods or services – rather than listing each good or service in the application.…

Information Privacy Regulation – What You Need to Know About Current Developments

U.S. and EU approaches to privacy regulation have been very different, but recent developments in the U.S. may be narrowing the gap. Recently, we hosted a seminar regarding current developments in information privacy regulation. The subjects covered and a link to the materials are provided below. Our panelists included: Dennis Hirsch, Esq., Professor at Capital University Law School, Counsel to Porter Wright, and a scholar of information privacy law; Christina Hultsch, Esq., Porter Wright International Law attorney; and Donna M. Ruscitti, Esq., Chair, Porter Wright’s Information Privacy and Data Security Practice Group. They discussed:

  • How EU regulation impacts both U.S. and multi-national corporations and its practical implications to U.S. corporations
  • The White House Report Released February 23, 2012 – Consumer Data Privacy in a Networked World: A Framework for Protecting Privacy and Promoting Global Innovation in the Global Digital Economy
  • FTC Report Released March 26, 2012 – Protecting Consumer Privacy in an Era of Rapid Change
  • Current U.S. Legislative Initiatives
  • Compliance with the U.S. Safe Harbor Program and FTC enforcement actions

To download the materials from the seminar, click here.…

Women in Europe for a Common Future Issues Position Paper: Nano the Great Unknown

Women in Europe for a Common Future, (WECF) founded in the Netherlands in 1994, " is a network of 100 member organizations and individual members who share a common concern to promote a healthy environment for all, strengthen the role of women and promote a gender and rights based approach in environment and sustainable development policy and implementation." Recently, WECF issued a position paper, "Nano: The Great Unknown". WECF takes the position that "Neither the industry nor public authorities have shown adequate leadership and willingness in addressing" the possible toxic effects of manufactured nanomaterials (MNMs) on humans and the environment.

After briefly surveying European Union (EU) and non-EU regulatory efforts and finding them all lacking, the WECF calls for applying the precautionary principle and the principle of "no data, no market" for all nanomaterials and products containing nanomaterials.

WECF demands that full information about possible risks of nanoparticles as well as access to information on which products contain nanomaterials should be provided to the public, including developing countries) without delay.

The position paper then presents seven additional demands or "actions" by WECF:

1- "WECF demands that manufactured nanomaterials are treated as totally new substances."

2- " WECF demands the application of "no data, no market" – and in the case of REACH, this is to be independent of tonnage. Registration of nanomaterials under the corresponding bulk chemical should by default be prohibited."

3- "Nanosubstances should be subject to a far reaching health assessment (health, environment)."

4- "WECF asks decision-makers …

EU Conference: Privacy and Protection of Personal Data

The EU Conference on Privacy and the Protection of Personal Data held March 19 in Washington, D.C., was a great illustration of the importance of the topic within the European Union. The conference was extremely well attended by high-level EU regulators and provided valuable insights into the respective priorities. Tangible results, however, were scarce and consisted largely of a joint statement on privacy by EU Commission Vice-President Viviane Reding and US Commerce Secretary John Bryson. The Joint Statement recognized the need for multinational cooperation to create mutual recognition frameworks that protect privacy in order to facilitate the free flow of information across borders. Both sides reaffirmed their commitment to the US-EU Safe Harbor Framework as a means to transfer data from the EU to the US.…

Guide to Responsible Nano-Business

ObservatoryNANO recently published a "Guide to Responsible Nano-Business", a brief report written for an audience of "Medium sized companies involved in the development, processing, production, or trade of nanotechnology-enabled materials, components, or applications".

ObservatoryNANO was created and funded by the then extant European Community (EC), the predecessor of today’sEuropean Union (EU),  “to create a European Observatory on Nanotechnologies to present reliable, complete and responsible science-based and economic expert analysis, across different technology sectors, establish dialogue with decision makers and others regarding the benefits and opportunities, balanced against barriers and risks, and allow them to take action to ensure that scientific and technological developments are realized as socio-economic benefits.”

The Guide sets out and briefly discusses four "tools to identify and manage nanotechnology-related priorities":

Tool 1: Set priorities, focusing on the process of framing responsibility measures

Tool 2: Check and complement established internal guidelines and code of conduct

Tool 3: Focus actions, described in the guide as the "strategies and programmes [needed] to be put in place to assure that a guideline is of any practicle use".

Tool 4: Inform transparently, focusing on what to communicate (content), how to communicate to employees of the company, customers and/or the general public, and the choice of communication media, ranging from company websites to product labels.

The Guide has links to "Good Practice Examples", such as BASF‘s Code of Conduct and to sites where more information can be found.

While the Guide to Responsible Nano-Business is not on the same level as …

A Look Back: Top 10 E-Discovery Developments and Trends Emerging Out of 2011

We recently prepared a summary of the top developments and trends in electronic discovery that came out of 2011.  Given the evolving nature of this area of the law, understanding the key events from last year can help with this year’s e-discovery challenges.  To see what made our list, click here.

Among the highlights:

  • "Computer-assisted review" gained traction as a potential way to reduce costs and increase accuracy during document review, resulting this year in the first-known judicial opinion recognizing computer-assisted review as an acceptable method to search for relevant electronically stored information (ESI) during discovery – a development we see playing a key role in how new technology will be leveraged to address budget and timeline concerns going forward. 
  • Information governance and the need for strong records management policies saw increased discussion last year – a development we see leading to more businesses considering what steps they can take before litigation arises to reduce the volume of potentially discoverable ESI, particularly as new sources of ESI emerge as discovery targets.
  • Discovery obligations meet data protection obligations on a global scale –  The Sedona Conference® issued a timely and important resource, which we reported on, with an eye toward multinational companies facing a conflict between the requirements of U.S. discovery rules and foreign privacy laws, particularly as the European Commission has proposed a comprehensive reform of the EU’s 1995 data protection rules.
  • National civil rule reform is still a ways off from happening, but many federal

The Sedona Conference® Publishes International Principles on Discovery, Disclosure & Data Protection

The Sedona Conference® recently published the International Principles on Discovery, Disclosure & Data Protection (“International Principles”) through its Working Group 6 on International Electronic Information Management, Discovery and Disclosure. The Sedona Conference® launched Working Group 6 in 2005 to bring the most experienced attorneys, judges, privacy and compliance officers, technology-thought leaders, and academics from around the world to discuss the management, discovery, and disclosure of electronically stored information (“ESI”) involved in cross-border disputes. The publication of the International Principles comes in light of a number of U.S. court decisions over the last two years ordering the disclosure of information in U.S. litigation despite the existence of foreign privacy laws that otherwise would have prohibited such disclosure. See, e.g., EnQuip Technologies Group, Inc. v. Tycon Technoglass, S.R.L., 2010-Ohio-28, 2010 WL 53151 (Jan. 8, 2010).…

Data Protection in Social Networks

 In a statement published on December 8, 2011, the Association of German Data Protection Agencies known as the “Duesseldorfer Kreis,” (“DK”) issued an opinion summarizing the minimum compliance criteria for operators of social networks in Germany:

  • Transparent privacy policy and informed consent are essential for protecting the right to data privacy
  • Opt-out solutions are insufficient, all privacy settings must be on the basis of opt-in selections
  • Users must have simple access to their stored personal data
  • Facial recognition features require express, confirmed consent
  • No tracking profiles without the informed consent of the user
  • Obligation to delete data after the termination of the membership
  • Social plug-ins on the websites of German operators are not compliant with data protection laws unless they are covered by informed consent and provide the opportunity for the user to prevent the data transfer
  • Social networks must protect user data through implementation of suitable privacy controls; operators must be able to demonstrate that such measures were taken
  • Minors require particular protection and information regarding the processing of personal data must be easily comprehensible to them
  • Social networks located outside the EEA must nominate an agent in Germany who serves as the contact person for the DPAs

The opinion, however, is not limited to this rather generic list of minimum requirements. Instead, it takes the opportunity to address two of the most pressing issues which have dominated the discussion of social networks and their commitment to data privacy over the past several months.…

Will Facebook soon be privacy-friendly?

FTC Audit Agreement According to various news reports, Facebook and the FTC are about to enter into an agreement which will subject Facebook to privacy audits for the next 20 years. The agreement will apparently require Facebook to obtain prior express consent before making public any information to which the user had granted limited access only. The agreement is a direct response to complaints over the changes Facebook made to its privacy policy in 2009, when previously private information became accessible to the public and users had to take active steps in order to return to their accustomed privacy settings.…

What’s next in EU data protection?

The Article 29 Working Party outlined its agenda for 2012 at a recent plenary meeting in Brussels. Not surprisingly, the top priority is a new legal framework for data protection. But other topics, some of interest for US data protection developments, were discussed as well.

  1. Revision of the EU data protection framework: To ensure that EU data protection authorities can consistently apply the EU data protection rules, the revisions to the current Data Privacy Directive will emphasize harmonization efforts to advance the cooperation and coordination between the various authorities.
  2. WADA: The EU has ongoing concerns related to the current legal framework and the protection of athletes’ personal information. The EU Commission, supported by the Working Party, will provide comments to the proposed revision of WADA’s World Anti-Doping Code, which is planned for 2013.
  3. Cooperation with the European Network and Information Security Agency (ENISA): The Working Party and ENISA share common interests with regard to data breach notifications and will intensify their cooperation.
  4. EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA): While the discussion addressed projects of the near future such as redress mechanisms and the publication of a Handbook on European data protection case law, FRA has long been critical of Passenger Name Record (PNR) data transmissions and a cooperation with the Working Party may suggest that the use of PNR will come under scrutiny again.

Whether the newly harmonized EU data protection rules will be a curse or a blessing for US companies doing business in the EU remains to be …

Still think consent is easy?

In my last entry I stressed the importance of complying with the various consent requirements hidden in European data protection laws. To prove my point and to illustrate further the high standards imposed by the German Data Protection Law, a regional German DPA (das “Unabhängige Landeszentrum für Datenschutz” in Schleswig Holstein or “ULD”) has taken aim at Facebook’s data privacy practices by sending cease and desist letters to all website operators located in the area who incorporate the “like” button and other Facebook plugins on their pages. Operators have until the end of September to deactivate these features or face up to € 50,000 in fines.[1]

Joint US-EU Workshop: Bridging NanoEHS Research Efforts

In the Federal Register for February 15, 2011, the National Nanotechnology Coordination Office announced it would hold a workshop on March 10 & 11 2011

to provide an open forum and engage in an active scientific discussion about environmental health and safety questions for nanomaterials and nanotechnology-enabled products, to encourage joint US-EU programs of work that would leverage resources, and to establish communities of research practice, including identification of key points of contact/ interest groups/themes between key US and EU researchers for near-term and future collaborations.

The March 10, 2011 sessions, to be held at George Washington University Elliott School of International Affairs, is divided into two parts. Part 1, "Understanding Perspectives and Programs", will focus on an overview of EU and US EHS research plans and the different perspectives both bring to their research efforts. Part 2, "Data Needs for Regulatory Decision Making", focuses on

1 – Human health data

2- Environment data needed to make informed regarding regulations, particularly the regulation of nanoindustries.

The March 11, 2011 sessions will be held at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). The first part of this days sessions focuses on "Tackling the Challenges of Producing Reliable and Reproducible data for nanoparticles assessment and risk management", while the final session, "Getting it done together", will look at establishing mechanisms for EU and US regulatory agencies to work together in the future.

Pre-registration is required and can be done at www.nano.gov . Registration closes at 4PM on March 9, …

European Parliament Members Vote for Ban on Nanomaterials, Including Nanosilver and Carbon Nanotubes

The Members of the European Union’s (“EU”) Environment Committee (“MEPs”) recently voted in favor of proposed amendments to the EU’s Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive, first passed in 2002, banning the use of nanosilver and long multi-walled carbon nanotubes in electrical and electronic products. The legislators also approved language requiring that any electrical or electronic materials containing nanomaterials should be labeled as such and that manufacturers who use nanomaterials would be required to provide the European Commission with safety data on any materials used. Commentators have noted that the MEPs’ definition of nanomaterials is unclear and the current interpretation could require labeling for every electronic product, such as every transistor in a computer chip. A vote on the proposal is expected in October.…

European “Framing Nano” Report

Things have been mostly quiet in the United States on nanotechnology regulatory developments lately.  There have been some items, but not much.  So, we look across to Europe to see what they are up to.  A new report adds more perspective to the nano-regulatory question.  The Swiss based Innovation Society recently released its report: "FramingNano Mapping Study on Regulation and Governance of Nanotechnology."  The Innovation Society is part of the European project on nano-regulation: Framing Nano.…

More from Europe and REACH

Last week we told you about the just-opened REACH pre-registrations here.  Now, the news from across the pond tells us that carbon and graphite are to be specifically included in the REACH submissions.…

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