Article 58

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Protection of confidential information

To protect the trade secrets, personal data or other confidential information of a party to the proceedings or of a third party, or to prevent an abuse of evidence, the Court may order that the collection and use of evidence in proceedings before it be restricted or prohibited or that access to such evidence be restricted to specific persons.

 

Case Law

 

See also Rule 262 RoP (public access) and Rule 262A RoP (inter parties access)

 

IPPT20240710, UPC CFI, LD Mannheim, Panasonic v Xiaomi
Confidential information and confidentiality club rules in a FRAND case (Article 58 UPCA, Rule 262A RoP). Confidential information (Rule 262A RoP). Not accepted that the circumstances of the negotiations between the parties,  which are naturally already known to the defendants, are to be fully protected under Rule 262A RoP. A subsequent restriction of access on the part of the defendant is out of the question. Rather, this information can generally only be restricted in its intended use and be subject to protection against disclosure to uninvolved third parties in accordance with Rule 262 RoP. Likewise, the plaintiff's view that the very fact that the plaintiff enquired with the third-party licence agreement partners on the basis of the court's instructions and requested their consent to the submission must be kept secret cannot be accepted. This is because it is a procedural step ordered by the court, which must also be reflected in the court's orders. 

 

 

IPPT20240626, UPC CFI, CD Paris, Suinno v Microsoft
Access to two agreements containing business secrets related to granted licenses restricted to Microsoft attorneys and Microsoft directors who have a legitimate need to access these Agreements for the purposes of the current proceedings (Article 58 UPCA, Rule 262A RoP).

 

IPPT20240514, UPC CFI, LD Milan, Oerlikon v Bhagat
Public interim conference and protection of confidential information (Article 45 UPCA, Article 58 UPCA). Ordered that the interim conference be open to the public, unless in the course of the interim conference, for the purposes of protecting confidential information, the Court decides to limit attendance to the parties' advocates only, in respect of specific matters dealt with, with particular regard to the issues examined in the order rendered on 6.5.2024. 

 

IPPT20240506, UPC CFI, LD Milan, Oerlikon v Bhagat
Lawyers only confidentiality club by consent with respect to a document filed in preparation for the Interim Conference in connection with the JR's invitation to document the costs (Article 58 UPCA, Rule 262A RoP)

 

IPPT20240327, UPC CFI, LD Düsseldorf, Fujifilm v Kodak
Confidentiality club membership rules are to balance (i) the right to have unlimited access to the file documents  against (ii) the interest to protect confidential information, on the facts of a particular case (Article 58 UPCA, Rule 262A RoP). Whereas certain guidelines how this balance can be struck may be developed, a schematic solution is not possible. Request, that employees from claimant’s R & D department must not be granted access, denied. Claimant sets out in detail with persuasive arguments why it is necessary to exchange with these employees exactly, who are in a position to comment on defendants’ allegations before the background of the technical expertise in and knowledge of the industry sector. In a dispute revolving around technical aspects it is of fundamental importance that a party may have resort to technically qualified employees in order to exercise its right to be heard. Only in rare circumstances where e.g. cutting-edge technical improvements are at stake, which put the proprietor in a significant pole position on the market, further restrictions may be considered to be proportionate. This is not the case here. Requests of the defendants to set out in further detail, in which way the claimant has to organize itself in order to prevent the breach of the court’s protective order have to be rejected. The information is sufficiently protected by the order of the court without such detailed measures to be ordered. A breach of the order will result in severe penalty payments. Rejected as manifestly disproportionate on the instant facts requests to impose upon the named employees to refrain from getting involved in research and development, pricing or any other competitive decision making, and shall not be involved in prosecution of patent applications for a period of 5 years after the end of the present proceedings (including potential appeal proceedings)

 

IPPT20240326, UPC CFI, LD Paris, C-Kore Systems v Novawell
Confidentiality club which with the consent of both parties does not include “one natural person from each party” (Article 58 UPCA, Rule 262A RoP). In view of all these facts, the Court notes that there is an agreement between the parties on the composition of the confidentiality club and that this proposal by the parties is in accordance with the principle of a fair trial. Even though Rule 262A RoP provides that the confidentiality club shall include at least one natural person from each party, the Court considers that it is possible for the parties to exclude access by a natural person by mutual agreement, provided that the principle of a fair trial is not affected. (UPC-CFI-239/2023, The Hague LD, Order of 4 March 2024 on confidentiality) [IPPT20240304]

 

IPPT20240304, UPC CFI, LD The Hague, Plant-e v Arkyne
Possible for the parties by mutual agreement to establish an “attorneys’ eyes only’’ restricted-access group for confidential information and exclude access by a natural person from each party, provided that fair trial is not affected. (Article 58 UPCA, Rule 262A RoP, Article 9 Trade Secret Directive). Principle of fair trail not likely to be impaired where the confidential information is a side issue (providing security for costs of a party, Rule 158 RoP). Confidential Information:non-public financial information concerning sales and investments is information that is generally considered to be confidential, especially vis-à-vis a competitor.

 

IPPT20240223, UPC CFI, LD Düsseldorf, 10x Genomics v Curio Bioscience
Because of article 9(2) Trade Secrets Directive and Rule 262A(6) RoP at least one natural person from a party must have access to confidential information, even though such is not provided for in article 58 UPCA. In the interest of effective protection of “confidential information” protection the requirement to invite written comments prior to secrecy order only applies to the final secrecy order and access restriction (article 58 UPCA, Rule 262A RoP). With regard to “trade secrets” access can be further restricted to party representatives until a final order is issued (Article 9 Trade Secrets Directive). Discussion of the confidentiality application with the party is possible with the redacted versions of the documents concerned. Generally, a preliminary limitation to four lawyer representatives (two partners and two associates to support them), two patent attorney representatives and three representatives of the client appears appropriate, whereby this group of persons can be extended by two paralegals if necessary (Rule 262A(6) RoP). In order to take into account the special features of summary proceedings, the group of persons required for a fair trial (Rule 262A.6 RoP) must be selected in such a way that the party affected by the provisional secrecy protection order is fully capable of working and in a position to comment on the merits of each point raised by the opposing party, taking into account the confidentiality interests of the opposing party. Since the group of persons who are granted access to the (allegedly) confidential information must not exceed the scope necessary to ensure compliance with the right of the parties to the proceedings to an effective legal remedy and a fair trial (Rule 262A(6) RoP,) the group of persons entitled to access must always be subject to a case-by-case examination, taking into account the above considerations, and, if necessary and appropriate, adapted to the requirements of the respective proceedings.

 

IPPT20231117, UPC CFI, CD Munich, Astellas v Healios

Inter parties restricted access to confidential commercial information (Rule 262A RoP). Unrestricted access to specific document containing commercially sensitive information not necessary to understand Claimant’s legal position. Access restricted to specific natural persons, at least natural party form each party (not limited to employees) and the respective lawyers, or other representatives of those parties to the legal proceedings. Public access to confidential commercial information restricted (Rule 262 RoP). The Court grants request to keep the information in the Confidential Annex confidential for third parties, provided a redacted version thereof is submitted (Rule 262(2) RoP).

 

IPPT20231114, UPC CFI, LD Paris, C-Kore Systems v Novawell
Ex parte measure granted to preserve evidence, detailed description, physicial seizure of product and technical and promotional documentation an a written report by expert appointed by the Court (Article 58 UPCA, Article 60 UPCA, Rule 196 RoP, Rule 197 RoP)

 

IPPT20230925, UPC CFI, LD Milan, PMA v AWM

Ex parte order to inspect premises and to preserve evidence; confidentiality: In accordance with art. 58 UPCA, rule 196.1 (d) and rule 199.1 RoP, the Court orders that the access to any information and document gathered by the experts in charge of carrying out the measure is prohibited, so to ensure effective protection of confidential information. Whether the Defendants should lodge a request for the review of this order according to rule 197.3 RoP, they are expressly invited to comment on any confidentiality interests that they might have after the written expert Report has been submitted by the experts appointed to carry out this order.