In the wake of the financial crisis and the so-called ‘shareholder-spring’ of 2012 (a period during which many shareholders refused to endorse directors’ remuneration policies), the government has introduced new rules on directors’ remuneration reporting. The new rules: (i) increase the compliance burdens regarding the reporting of directors’ remuneration policies; (ii) increase shareholder control over remuneration and termination packages; and (iii) introduce potential personal liability for directors who authorise payments in violation of an approved policy.

These changes bound certain UK-incorporated quoted Life Sciences companies with effect from 1 October 2013. The government estimates that around 900 companies have been affected.
Continue Reading New Directors’ Remuneration Regime: The Facts for Life Sciences Companies

Hannah Edmonds, a trainee associate in Covington’s London office, contributed to this post.

Currently, legal  regimes governing protection of trade secrets and confidential information across the EU are fairly disparate. A study published by the European Commission in July (http://ec.europa.eu/internal_market/iprenforcement/docs/20130711/final-study_en.pdf)  has identified a ‘widespread appetite for a harmonized approach’ across the region. Harmonisation of the rules could be of significant financial and practical benefit to life sciences companies.

Ensuring that sensitive information (such as customer supply lists, R & D data and process know how and technology) is legally protected from misuse by employees, consultants, competitors and other third parties is a key concern in the life sciences sector. ‘Trade secrets’ often form the bedrock of a company’s assets. 75% of the 537 EU firms who responded to the Commission’s preparatory survey (some of which were SMEs in the life science sector) indicated that trade secrets were of significant strategic importance to their company’s growth, competitiveness and innovative performance.
Continue Reading A Move to Harmonise Trade Secret Laws Across Europe?

Since Apple launched the first iPhone in 2007, the popularity of smart phones and tablets has sky-rocketed.  These devices, with their sleek design, touch screens and easy access to a myriad of entertainment options, have fast become the preferred method of communication for executives.

In recent years, a growing number of companies have allowed employees to forgo the less glamorous and often outdated technology assigned by their IT department and instead access corporate emails and data on their personal devices – a practice known as “bring your own device” to work, or “BYOD”.


Continue Reading “Bring Your Own Device to Work” – Can Life Sciences Employers Safely Embrace the Trend?

Article originally published in PLC Life Sciences Handbook 2012

M&A in the life sciences sector has remained robust, driven by factors such as:

  • „„ The need to replenish shrinking product pipelines.
  • „„ The need to maintain revenues as patents on top-selling
  • products expire.
  • „„ The strategic diversification of business lines.
  • „„ Expansion into emerging markets.

Originally published as Covington E-Alert on June 15, 2011

The U.K. Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) has recently issued the final version of its guidance on the Agency Workers Regulations 2010, which implement Directive 2008/104/EC.

The Regulations come into force on 1 October 2011, and will entitle agency workers (or “temps”) to the