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Robert Williams

is a partner and co-head of Bird & Bird’s Intellectual Property Group in London. He has significant experience in both contentious and non-contentious IP work, advising on the full range of issues relating to patents, copyright, trade marks, designs and trade secrets/confidential information. He also jointly leads our International Trade Secrets Protection Group.

Rob has particular experience of complex IP disputes (with a focus on multi-jurisdictional patent litigation and trade secrets disputes) and has advised clients from a range of IP rich industries, including life sciences, energy, and utilities, specialty chemicals, mechanical engineering and electronics on various strategic IP issues including lifecycle management.

For more information or to contact Ron, please visit his Firm Profile Page.

Recent Articles by Robert Williams

Trade Secrets: Contempt proceedings put miscreant in jail for failure to provide information about misappropriation

Generally, a breach of confidence under English law does not give rise to criminal liability (and the recently implemented Trade Secrets Directive only addresses civil remedies for misappropriation of trade secrets). Sometimes the conduct giving rise to the breach may constitute an offense in its own right (for example an offense under the Computer Misuse Act 1990) but in the absence of such a scenario sanctions will be limited to inter partes remedies. However, as recently seen, if an order for inter partes relief is breached, criminal sanctions may still be imposed following a finding of contempt of court.

Protecting Trade Secrets in Europe – An Update

With the June 9 deadline for national implementation fast approaching, we surveyed colleagues in our other European offices to check the state of play in their jurisdiction. The picture which emerged was mixed. Much progress has been made towards national implementation of the Directive in the UK, Italy, France, The Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, and Hungary. Implementation in these jurisdictions is expected on or around the June 9 deadline. Work is also underway in Poland and Finland, but it’s possible that implementation could slip a few months past the deadline. Slightly further behind are Spain, Belgium, and the Czech Republic. Germany is currently lagging behind as the recent political deadlock surrounding the formation of the new government has delayed the legislative agenda, although a draft bill has been promised for the first half of 2018.