Intellectual Property Legal Practice: Employee Relations

In all countries during the period of the employment contract conditions may impose the obligation to preserve confidential secrets of the employer. After the termination of the employment contract situation becomes more complicated. In Italy, as in many other Member States of the European Union, the former employees may be offered to sign an agreement on no competition to prevent the use or disclosure of trade secrets of the former employer.

In Sweden, damages for disclosure confidentiality agreement may be collected only in exceptional circumstances. A disgruntled former employee who had access to sensitive information (for example, research data), can cause very serious damage to the company. On the other hand, the threat of such harm is pushing former employer to greatly restrict the rights of the employee’s spheres of involvement in the same field. A reasonable balance in this regard in each of the EU Member States is applied in their own way.

In Germany, after the termination of the employment contract the employee shall have the discretion to use the acquired knowledge and skills. But drug use can be considered, especially misuse, of the information that he deliberately remembered for after work in the company. And in the UK applied different approaches to information and the usual high level of confidentiality. The first kind of sensitive information a former employee can easily use and distribute. UK in general has more complicated intellectual property rules, much is solved at particular company level. Thus, businesses prefer to have their own department to service the legal needs: even educational institutions like Manchester University establish separate branches. In this particular case, UMIP branch was formed, focused exclusively on intellectual property management.

A warrant for the search of information.

Taking into account the ease of copying information by electronic means, it becomes clear the the owner faces a challenge of keeping trade secrets and proving illegal receipt of information by a third party, as well as the type and scope of misuse. No evidence-based judicial protection of rights is possible. One way to obtain evidence of a warrant is to inspect the premises and computers to detect the necessary information (search order). In a number of countries obtaining a warrant, as a general rule, is not possible (for example, in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands, Poland and Romania). In other countries, giving the right to petition for the issuance of this order, there is no case law supporting the possibility of submitting such an application owning the secret of production (for example, in the Czech Republic and Luxembourg). Cypriot courts have issued similar orders, but with great reluctance.

In some countries (Hungary, Denmark, Greece, Malta and Estonia) evidence obtained by the police and prosecutors during raids on the premises as part of criminal proceedings, they can then be used in civil cases. Issuance of search warrant for evidence in civil proceedings is permitted in the United Kingdom, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Finland (in the UK and Ireland, it is known as the Anton Piller order).