In Penhallurick v MD5 Ltd [2021] EWHC 293 (IPEC) the Court held that the copyright in various literary works relating to software Mr. Penhallurick created during his tenure with former employer MD5 belonged to MD5. The Court found that the works were created in the course of Mr. Penhallurick’s employment with the result that MD5 was deemed the owner of the works (under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988), despite the fact that some of the work was done from Mr. Penhallurick’s home, outside normal office hours and using his own computer.

Continue Reading UK Court Rules on Copyright over Software Developed Whilst Working at Home

By Fredericka Argent and Hannah Edmonds-Camara

This is the final instalment in our series looking at accessibility in the workplace. Part 1 looked at the importance of deploying accessible IT in order to benefit employees and businesses. Part 2 examined national equality laws requiring businesses to make “reasonable accommodations” for employees in the workplace. In part 3, we set out how industry standards are playing an increasingly important role in helping organizations demonstrate compliance with accessibility requirements.

In this final instalment, we look at practical steps businesses can take to improve their accessibility credentials.

Practical steps

In light of the increasing importance of ensuring workplace accessibility and diversity, both as good business practice and in order to meet legal obligations, it is advisable that enterprises start pushing accessibility higher up the agenda. Companies can kickstart this process by reviewing their policies on workplace inclusion, procurement of IT and accessibility in the recruitment process.


Continue Reading Accessibility In The Workplace: What Businesses Need To Know: Part 4

By Fredericka Argent and Hannah Edmonds-Camara

Part 1 of our accessibility series explored the importance of businesses deploying accessible IT to recruit and retain employees with a view to reducing job polarization and inequality. Part 2 described how national equality laws are imposing affirmative obligations on businesses to make “reasonable accommodations” in the workplace for employees with disabilities — which may include ensuring that IT devices and services are enabled with accessibility functions.

This third instalment in our series looks deeper into the compliance landscape, at global rules and standards in the U.S., EU and beyond. Although many of these standards currently apply to public sector entities, rather than private entities, we expect this to change as technology transforms the nature of the workplace — not only within back offices and factories, but also on the front-line for customer-facing operations, in sectors such as the hospitality industry and retail.


Continue Reading Accessibility In The Workplace: What Businesses Need To Know: Part 3

By Fredericka Argent and Hannah Edmonds-Camara

As we noted in Part 1 of our series, there are strong business incentives to invest in accessible IT in order to recruit and retain employees with disabilities. However, aside from the business imperatives for ensuring workplace accessibility, businesses should also consider the compliance landscape — especially national equality laws. These too argue in favor of deploying accessible IT.

The compliance landscape

In many jurisdictions, equality laws place affirmative obligations on private companies, as employers, to protect their employees from discrimination on the grounds of a disability. Equality laws (and their equivalent, anti-discrimination laws) expect employers to make “reasonable accommodations” or “reasonable adjustments” in the workplace for employees with disabilities.


Continue Reading Accessibility In The Workplace: What Businesses Need To Know: Part 2

By Fredericka Argent and Hannah Edmonds-Camara

In our increasingly hyper-connected, technology-reliant society, it is important to ensure that the information technology (“IT”) that we use is accessible for all individuals. “Accessible IT” refers to technology that individuals with disabilities can navigate, perceive, understand and interact with and that enables them to consume and create content independently. It is incumbent on businesses, in particular, to provide their employees and customers with accessible IT so that nobody is left behind. This is not simply a matter of good business ethics; it is also reflected in the legal and compliance landscape. For example, in the U.S., regulators have recently taken strides to increase the accessibility of IT for persons with disabilities and to harmonize IT accessibility standards with those in other countries through the adoption of new rules pertaining to Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (“Section 508”). Section 508 requires all IT developed, procured, or used by federal agencies to be accessible to federal employees and to the public, except where unduly burdensome.

Compliance with the new Section 508 standards was required as of January 18, 2018. In order to mark the coming into effect of the new version of Section 508, this blog is running a short series highlighting the importance of accessibility, especially in the workplace. We will look at the business imperative for providing accessible IT to employees and customers, the legal and compliance landscape, the role of standards in the U.S., EU and Australia, and offer some practical guidelines for meeting accessibility goals.


Continue Reading Accessibility In The Workplace: What Businesses Need To Know

On 22 May 2013, the Supreme Court issued a ruling on the English law of confidential information.  The case represents a helpful guide as to how confidential information may be protected by a business after the end of an employment contract.

The case, Vestergaard Frandsen A/S (now called MVF 3 ApS) and others v Bestnet Europe Limited and others [2013] UKSC 31, deals with facts that may represent a fairly common business scenario.  In the case, one employee left a business, together with a consultant, to set up a rival business.  In the course of their work at the new business, the ex-consultant used what was, unbeknownst to the ex-employee, confidential information that the court deemed to be a trade secret from the prior business.

Considering these facts, the High Court found the ex-consultant liable for breach of confidence.  Expanding on that finding, the Supreme Court found that the ex-employee — in contrast to the ex-consultant — should not be liable for breach of confidence, because unlike the ex-consultant the ex-employee had had no knowledge of the trade secret when working for their former employer, and because the ex-employee hadn’t subsequently realised that the information had ever originated from their former employer when it was being used in the new rival business.

Summarising the Supreme Court’s logic, Lord Neuberger stated that “an action for breach of confidence is based ultimately on conscience”.  In other words, the ex-employee was not liable because she had no knowledge of the breach, so her conscience couldn’t have been affected – despite the fact that the ex-employee had arguably assisted in the use and misuse of the trade secret in the course of running a rival business.


Continue Reading UK Supreme Court Rules on Case Involving Misuse of Trade Secrets by Former Employee