Universiteit Leiden

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Business & Law Research Network

Intellectual property and unfair competition

Intellectual property (IP) is the most valuable asset of many businesses. Conflicts about intellectual property and trade secrets happen between businesses of all sizes and can also be considered as part of the broader field of unfair competition law. That field can also be subdivided in in unfair competition in business-to-business relations and unfair business-to-consumer commercial practices. Comparative and misleading advertising are also part of this field.

Unfair commercial practices, such as deceptive (price) advertising, can harm consumer and business interests. Appropriate protection from the consequences of these practices is a key priority at regulators in Europe.  

Conflicts about descriptive identifiers of businesses, such as trade names, trademarks and domain names are the most conflicts among small and medium enterprises and the outcome of legal procedures in such conflicts is often hard to predict. Insights in theory and practice in this field are very important for businesses of all sizes.  

Trade secret protection is also at the core of many businesses and is harmonized at the EU level since 2018, but is a field of the law that is still very much developing and difficult to qualify under civil law systems. This field deserves clause attention in academic legal research.

Research projects

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