AIRR DATA UNDER THE E.U. TRADE SECRETS DIRECTIVE- ALIGNING SCIENTIFIC PRACTICES WITH COMMERCIAL REALITIES

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Jacob S. Sherkow, Timo Minssen

Whether the E.U. Trade Secrets Directive sufficiently and appropriately covers cutting-edge complex technologies is of critical interest to policy-makers, scientists, and commercial developers alike. One such technology—adaptive immune receptor repertoire sequencing, or AIRR-seq—raises difficult questions concerning what information is and should be protected under the new Directive, and how to best align scientific practices with commercial realities. The ‘raw’ form AIRR-seq data—massive genetic datasets of hundreds of millions of individuals’ immune cells—tends to be freely shared among academic researchers, thus typically destroying the protectability of the underlying information. But follow-on data—essentially, information interpreting that data—is nonetheless protectable under the Directive because it is both economically valuable and not readily available from an examination of the raw data itself. Protecting this follow-on information while encouraging the free sharing of AIRR-seq data best accords the purpose of the Trade Secrets Directive. Lessons from the case of AIRR-seq data also sheds light on other puzzles concerning the tensions between disclosure and intellectual property protections, such as the mutual exclusivity of patents and trade secrets, the sharing of clinical trial data, and protecting genetic diagnostics.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe harmonization and protection of trade secrets in the EU – An Appraisal of the EU Directive
EditorsJens Schovsbo, Thomas Riis, Timo Minssen
Number of pages23
PublisherEdward Elgar Publishing
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2019

ID: 198513023