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Professional Ethics In

Intellectual Property Laws
o The Law of Confidence / Confidential Information
o Copyright Law
o Patent Law
o The Law Relating to Designs
o Trade Marks and Passing Off
o Semiconductor Regulations
Confidential Information
o It is possible to take action in a civil court to prevent someone from using or revealing
confidential information.
o Non-disclosure agreements to protect exchanged information or obligation under
o Example:
o Current sales prospects – Software Companies X vs. Y
o Y may win if X’s sales staff pass on confidential information to Y
o Common practice for contracts with employees having sensitive knowledge:
o Longer notice period e.g. 6 months

o Immediately remove from sensitive assignment and assign other tasks

Confidential Information
o A court may rule that it is in the public interest that certain confidential information is
disclosed. E.g. illegal price fixing, serious environmental damage.
o Conditions for an action on account of breach of confidential information:
o The information must be confidential
o The information must have been disclosed in circumstances which give rise to an
obligation of confidence
o There must be an actual or anticipated unauthorized use or disclosure of the
confidential information
Confidential Information
o Qualifying disclosures
o A criminal offence
o Failure to comply with a legal obligation
o A miscarriage of justice
o Danger to health and safety
o Environmental damage
o Information showing that any of these has been concealed
o What Does Copyright Give Rights Holders?
o Right to reproduce the work
o Right to prepare derivative works
o Right to distribute copies for sale
o Right to perform Audio Video works publicly
o Right to display musical and artistic works publicly

o Copyright Notice:
o © owner, year of first publication, All rights reserved
o Not compulsory
o Fair Use: Fair Use allows for copyrighted materials to be used without
permission as long as certain guidelines are met:
o The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a
commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
o The nature of the copyrighted work;
o The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the
o copyrighted work as a whole; and
o The effect upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.
Alternatives to Copyright:
o Licenses: Creators can retain copyright but allow people to use content
under certain terms. For example, the copyright can give schools to use
content for free and without permission.
o Open License: Others can use but must credit original source. Further,
any version that others create must also have the open license and be
useable by others as well.
o A patent owner has the right to decide who may or may not use the
patented invention for the period in which the invention is protected.
o The patent owner may give permission to, or license, other parties to use
the invention on mutually agreed terms.
o The owner may also sell the right to the invention to someone else, who
will then become the new owner of the patent.
o Any person who makes an invention may deal with it in any of the following ways:
o May broadcast the invention for free use by the public
o May work the invention in secrecy without patenting it
o May work the invention openly without patenting it
o May exploit the invention on the basis of patents
o Rights could be enforced legally
o Secure commercial –scale manufacturing / Profitable use by selling or licensing
o Any word, name, phrase, color, symbol or design, or combination of words, phrases,
symbols, or designs that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods or
services of one party.
o Trademarks identify the product of a particular manufacturer or supplier. E.g.
Microsoft, McDonalds, Oracle, Coca Cola etc.
o It appears on the product or on its packaging (TM - trademark).
o The purpose is to safeguard the integrity of products and to prevent product confusion
and unfair competition.
o Trademarks are renewable indefinitely as long as the mark is being used.
Trademark Symbols
o ® - Registered trademark / service mark symbol
o ™ – Unregistered trademark symbol
o SM – Unregistered service mark symbol
Domain Names
o Universal resolvability – always lead to the same location

o Originally for connecting computers, now for identifying businesses

o Companies want to use trademarks as domain names

o Cyber Squatting
o Registering trademarks of other companies as your own domain names.
o Then sell domain name to the owner of trademark at an inflated price.
o Possible because of inconsistencies in trademark and domain name
registration systems.
Trade mark - Domain Name Conflict
Trademarks Domain Names
o Territorial registration and o First come first served
application / regional basis
o One unique registration
o Different classes
o Application across jurisdictions
o Examination and opposition
o In principle, no examination
o Goods and services in commerce
o Broad use
Registered Designs
o Protects the artistic aspect (namely, texture, pattern, shape) of an object
instead of the technical features.
o The term of protection.
o The third party is prohibited from making, selling or importing articles
bearing a design which is a copy of the protected design, when such acts
are undertaken for commercial purposes.
This is it … Thank you and Best Wishes