Commercial Law Update: Review 2016

Author:Mr Philip Nolan
Profession:Mason Hayes & Curran

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There were some important developments in the privacy, technology and intellectual property sectors in 2016. The introduction of a new way to transfer data between the EU and the US, known as the 'Privacy Shield', now fills the void created by the invalidation of the previous 'Safe Harbor' regime. In a similar vein, preparation for the adoption of the new European General Data Protection Regulation is on-going and affecting thousands of businesses. Brexit will force many UK and Irish businesses to re-examine their IT and commercial contracts. 2016 also saw new laws and court rulings from Europe impacting the areas of e-signatures, the digital economy and the resale of software.

Key topics in 2016 include:

  1.   EU-US Privacy Shield - and Introducing the General Data Protection Regulation

  2.   E-sign on the Dotted Line - The EU's New Rules on Electronic Identification

  3. What Does Brexit Mean For Your IT and Commercial Contracts?

  4.  EU Court Answers: When Can You Re-sell Software?

EU-US Privacy Shield  and Introducing the General Data Protection Regulation

Privacy Shield

In July 2016, the European Commission adopted the replacement for the EU-US Safe Harbor scheme, the so-called 'Privacy Shield'. This is the new, EU-approved mechanism for the transfer of personal data between the EU and the US. The Shield framework seeks to protect the fundamental rights of individuals whose data is transferred to the US and to provide legal certainty for businesses. While businesses can self-certify with the US Department of Commerce, the Shield imposes greater obligations on them and provides for stronger monitoring of and enforcement against participating companies by US authorities. In addition, EU concerns over US surveillance have been addressed through commitments and written assurances made by US authorities and by reforms in US surveillance laws.

General Data Protection Regulation

The European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will replace the current EU Data Protection Directive in May 2018. The GDPR will comprehensively regulate data protection throughout the EU, with the exception of data processed for law enforcement purposes. It builds upon familiar concepts and rules in the existing EU Data Protection Directive, but in many ways it goes further, having a wider scope, raising standards and increasing sanctions. As the GDPR will capture both data and companies that previously fell...

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