GrokLaw reports on a new proposed law in the European Union that could lead to criminal sanctions for intellectual property infringement:
"They probably mean well. They are thinking about criminal gangs and counterfeit goods that may, in some cases, actually harm or kill people, as well as the revenue lost. So EU lawmakers have come up with a proposed law that ensures that "all intentional infringements of an intellectual property right on a commercial scale, and attempting, aiding or abetting and inciting such infringements, are treated as criminal offences.
Several lawyers are already pointing out that actors like SCO would have a field day with such a law, because they could sue Linux end users in criminal court: Richard Penfold, a partner at law firm DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary, said last week that the proposed directive could "quite possibly" allow the imprisonment of the boss of a company that is using infringing software, although it would depend on whether the defendant can argue that the infringement was unintentional. . . Ross Anderson, the chair of the Foundation for Information Policy Research, said the proposed directive could help SCO or other companies in future IP infringement cases against open source software."
Make a note to yourself – it’s time to take a few weeks to visit the European subsidiaries to conduct an IP audit – it may take a few weeks and require stays in hotels in London, Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, etc., but hey, that’s the tough life of the in-house counsel. Link: GROKLAW.
-> Click to subscribe to InhouseBlog's FREE Weekly Newsletter featuring in-house counsel news and jobs.