Intellectual Property and Information Technology

Written by Aaron Wais

Daily headlines of data breaches, resulting class actions, governmental investigations and enforcement actions, and the settlements of those actions serve as constant reminders of the need to implement and maintain reasonable cybersecurity measures. Yet another example can be found in the recent announcement by the Federal Trade Commission, which states that the operators of Ashley Madison have agreed to settle the charges brought against them by the FTC and over a dozen state attorneys generals arising out of the July 2015 data breach of Ashley Madison’s network. Analyzing the settlement also provides additional guidance on what regulators mean when they refer to reasonable safeguards.

In its complaint, the FTC alleged that Ashley Madison’s parent company, Ruby Corp. (f/k/a Avid Life Media, Inc.), and a pair of related entities failed to adequately protect their approximately 36 million users’ accounts and profile information. (The FTC also alleged various misrepresentations that are not relevant here.) According to the FTC complaint, the defendants collected a broad range of personal information from its customers, including full names, addresses, dates of birth, payment card numbers, sexual preferences and desired encounters. The defendants also collected and maintained their customers’ communications with each other, such as messages and chats.

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A night club owner has been sentenced to three months imprisonment on a suspended sentence, in addition to payment of £5,177 damages to the claimant and £17,000 in costs, for playing sound recordings in public without a licence in contempt of court.

Read more: English night club owner faces prison sentence due to ongoing Copyright Infringement

In October this year the High Court found the designated premises supervisor of a nightclub in Essex personally liable for authorising and procuring acts infringing copyright as a result of the unlicensed playing of sound recordings at the nightclub she managed. This decision acts as an important reminder to nightclub managers of the personal liability they could face due to a failure to comply with the laws relating to copyright infringement.

Read more: High Court's decision on nightclub manager's personal liability for copyright infringement

By: Gayle Curry

The Head of Marketing at a leading plc in the transport industry was telling me about her business' re-branding strategy over dinner recently.

She is new in the post and clearly impressed that the company was committing significant investment of money and time to the project. Rightly so, because a rebrand is an opportunity to not just change a logo, but to reassert values, re-engage customers and mobilise the workforce through a change in culture. I was impressed as she described the serious investment from the top down to drive meaningful transformation and instil the desired culture change to transform customers' experiences in line with the brand objectives.

Read more: How to avoid the legal pitfalls when rebranding your company

Today, the European Patent Office (EPO) and the EU Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) released the results of their second study which explores the contribution of intellectual property rights (IPRs) to the EU economy. The purpose of the study was to provide an improved assessment of the situation in terms of GDP, employment, and trade with the intention of supporting policy making and increasing understanding amongst EU Citizens on the importance of intellectual property (IP).

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