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Understanding TSR and its “curious provision”
Giving judgement in the Court of Appeal case Shenzhen Senior Technology Material Co Ltd v Celgard, LLC  EWCA Civ 1293 Lord Justice Arnold has shone a further light on the UK Trade Secrets (Enforcement, etc.) Regulations 2018 (SI 2018/597) [TSR].
Dividing his analysis into pre/post the EU Trade Secrets Directive (EU Dir. 2016/943) Arnold LJ noted, “under English law prior to the implementation of the Trade Secrets Directive, trade secrets constituted a particular category of confidential information. The principal distinguishing characteristic of trade secrets, as opposed to other forms of confidential information, was that a former employee could be restrained from using or disclosing their former employer’s trade secrets after the termination of the employment”. 
“The Trade Secrets Directive harmonises the protection against the unlawful acquisition, use and disclosure of trade secrets in the European Union. It is not an exhaustive harmonisation: Article 1(1) provides that Member States may provide for more far-reaching protection than that required by the Directive provided that compliance with a number of provisions of the Directive is ensured. Thus the Directive provides both a floor and a ceiling.”
Moreover, it was noted that whilst TSR might implement the Trade Secrets Directive, it does not transpose Articles 3, 4 or 5 of the Directive.
Turning to the “curious provision” of Regulation 3 Wider Protection, Arnold LJ surmised “… it appears to be primarily intended to ensure that, if and in so far as English law prior to the implementation of the Trade Secrets Directive was more favourable to the trade secret holder…then that greater level of protection shall continue to be available…”.
Conversely it was noted that Regulation 3 does not appear to address the position if the Directive confers greater protection than English law did previously. In such a situation the solution advocated by Arnold LJ would be to interpret and apply TSR consistently with the Directive and again offer the trade secret holder the higher protection.
Previously our Acting Head of College Andrew joined us in 2004 as the Director of IP Wales®, our £4m award winning business support initiative.
Originally the Head of Swansea Law School (University of Wales Trinity Saint David) Andrew became the Director of the Swansea Intellectual Property Rights Initiative in 1999. In recognition of its support for Small & Medium Enterprise (SME) use of the IP system the Swansea IPR Initiative became the Winner of the Wales one-2-one Best 4 Business Award in 2000. Andrew was responsible for designing and launching IP Wales® in 2002. IP Wales® was the recipient of the Judges Special Prize at the WORLDLeaders European Awards in 2004. Under Andrew’s leadership over 800 businesses have been assisted to make informed commercial choices about their IP assets helping them to capture and protect over 220 patents, 70 trade marks and 10 design registrations around the World. Support was furnished to over 25 licensing deals (licensing-in & licensing-out) facilitating the commercial use of intangible assets by integrating an intellectual assets (IAs) strategy within the overall business plan.
In recognition of his success in raising levels of awareness and understanding of IP amongst the SME community in Wales Andrew was seconded from 2008-9 to work for the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). Whilst at WIPO Andrew co-organised and presented at the ‘WIPO Forum on Intellectual Property & SMEs for IP Offices of OECD and EU Enlargement Countries’ (2008) in Cardiff, one of the few occasions this prestigious event has been hosted outside Geneva. Andrew achieved National recognition for ‘services to intellectual property and business in Wales’ with the award of an OBE by the Queen under her Birthday Honours List 2009. International speaking invitations have included presenting to the World Intellectual Property Organisation, the World Trade Organisation, the European Commission and the European Patent Office.
Andrew remains as the Director of IP Wales® and was responsible for the validation of our new LLM programme in Intellectual Property and Commercial Practice. Andrew is the module leader for International Intellectual Property Law, the Law of Intellectual Assets Management & Transactions and also lectures 'Oily IP' on our new LLM in Oil & Gas.
View all posts by Associate Professor Andrew Beale OBE