AIJA News

AIJA Insider: Berlin to host seminar on start-ups, smart cities, tech and work 4.0

25 January 2019

Smart mobility. IP issues for tech start-ups. Updates on the application of the GDPR. Data ownership and control. Workplace 4.0 and the future of work. Smart Up Berlin is shaping up to be a promising seminar, with a wide range of topics of interest to law practitioners as well as representatives from the start-up and smart city scene. One of Europe’s most vibrant cities, Berlin will be on this occasion the host of our discussions from 14-16 March.

Smart cities need smart laws

The academic programme will kick off on Friday, 15 March with some in-depth talks on smart mobility, particularly on the exchange and control of information and data between road users, vehicles and the surrounding infrastructure.

‘It is a very exciting time to be a lawyer working in this area. It really challenges us to think about the difference between what technology can enable and what, as a matter of privacy, it should permit’, says Sven Preiss, head of legal commercial, Scout24 Group.

‘Smart mobility changes the way that we, as lawyers, think about transportation in a number of ways. For instance, smart cars transform a product into a system that relies on the maintenance of software – and this requires a continued integration of software and hardware. In terms of public transportation, the use of smart cards and other techniques to gather data on the individual’s use of transport, as well as to aggregate data to use big data increases the importance of data and threatens to impinge on individuals’ privacy – forcing transportation and town planning to consider the GDPR and data ownership’, he adds.

These changes require lawyers to work collaboratively across different disciplines – transport, planning, technology, commercial, intellectual property (IP).

IP for start-ups

The second half of the day will be dedicated to IP and ‘Industry and Employment 4.0’.

One of the topics will address the most common IP issues for tech start-ups. Starting a business is a daunting task. Some grow and achieve great success, others fail. And sometimes failure comes right from the start, particularly when a business fails to protect one of their most valuable assets – their intellectual property.

‘There are some general rules to follow to avoid such failures. First, entering (mutual) NDAs before sharing the initial business idea and creating a paper trail of all presentations and meetings. Second, talking to the people in the company about who owns the IP and again, making sure to write this down. Thirdly, businesses should register their domain names and trademark early on’, says Sven Preiss.

Work 4.0. and Labour Law: new challenges and opportunities

Another highlight of the day will be the discussions on the future of the workplace.

Today, mobile labour has become the new normal. Home office models, co-working initiatives and mobile working technologies redefine the limits between work and personal life as the workplace becomes more and more digitalised. Thanks to modern technology employees can work anywhere and at any time. Co-working spaces are rising in popularity and often, individuals can carry most of their lives and work with them on their phones.

Opinions vary as to whether this is positive, especially in relation to the different employment and labour laws. ‘Employers and employees face huge challenges when it comes to compliance with mandatory labor law. They need to find the balance between compliance with maximum working hours, employees’ personal data protection as well as industrial and health safety provisions on the one hand and offering flexible and attractive working methods on the other hand’, says Sachka Stefanova-Behlert, attorney-at-law, KPMG Law.

‘Further to this, the new personnel structures raise questions regarding co-determination and the need to strengthen the role of the works councils. Mandatory laws have often come under serious attacks for not being timely’, she adds.

Finally, who owns the data?

On Saturday, 16 March, the day will move on to revealing the latest on the application of the GDPR and data ownership, access and control.

Compliance with the GDPR can still be challenging for some organisations. While small companies struggle with allocating the necessary resources, bigger companies have more resources and at the same time bigger amounts of data to process in a compliant manner. Consumers and employees are also becoming more aware of their rights and have started to regularly file access requests and complaints with the authorities.

‘Meanwhile, who owns the data remains a difficult legal concept in most countries. There is little law governing this. Data protection laws mainly serve to protect data subjects and not owners. Trade secret rules may provide some tools, but we should reflect on whether this is really enough’, concludes Silvia van Schaik, attorney at law, bureau Brandeis.

This is just a small sample of what participants can expect to learn during the seminar. Join us in Berlin to find out more! To register, click here.

Silvia, Sven and Sachka are part of the organising committee of the seminar and/or the Intellectual Property, Technology, Media and Telecommunications or Labour Law commission of AIJA. Meet them at the seminar from 14-16 March.