From May 2018, the General Data Protection Regulation “GDPR” will come into effect for the purpose of harmonizing national data protection laws across the EU states. The aim of the GDPR is to implement adequate security measures in handling and processing the personal and sensitive data of individuals who are in the EU. Companies may face hefty sanctions for non-compliance with the GDPR requirements, which could reach up to either EUR 20 million or 4% of annual global turnover, whichever is greater.

Companies operating in the shipping industry are likely to be affected as they hold a large volume of personal and sensitive data including, but not limited to details of their own employees, business contacts, passengers, vessel crew and other contractors.

Most of this information is likely to be processed for operational reasons and cross national and international borders. That information may be vulnerable to cyber security risk. In order to eliminate the risk of breaching data protection rules and facing large fines, the GDPR requires companies to take proactive steps and implement effective data protection control systems, in their operating procedures.

Under the GDPR, there is a full list of action points for businesses to take to ensure data protection compliance. The following 5 key steps are perhaps the most important ones that should help company’s process data correctly:

  1. Appoint a data protection officer to ensure compliance.
  2. Implement a system internally to ensure the relevant supervisor is informed of a personal data breach within 72 hours of first becoming aware of the breach.
  3. Adopt an updated data protection and privacy policy by analyzing your system and practice to ensure that data is processed in accordance with the permitted legal grounds
  4. Run audits and risk assessments on collected personal data and keep the individuals informed about processing their personal data.
  5. Provide training to your employees and ensure that they are abreast with the correct processes and ensure that data controllers have contracts with all of their data processors.

Protection of Trade Mark Rights in the Shipping Industry

Intellectual Property is certainly one of the most valuable assets that a company builds up over a number of years trading. Many businesses, including shipyards, maritime equipment manufacturers and maritime design companies, invest a significant amount of time and money into their marketing, research and development activities which result in a strong brand value.

The protection of Intellectual Property Rights “IPR” is therefore an important issue for those who would like to obtain a competitive advantage over their rivals for brands and designs that they create. Businesses with a strong brand and trademark portfolio should consider registering their intellectual property rights to eliminate the risk of infringement by their competitors. A breach of a company’s IPR results in your knowledge assets ending up in the hands of your competitors, which might potentially affect your business. IPR can be protected by simple registration of trademarks, design and patent rights.

If you need legal advice or help to register your design or trademark rights, please contact a member of the LA Marine team by clicking here.