Welcome to Penrose IT Law
Penrose specialises in the field of Dutch Information & Digital Technology law. We advise and assist IT/technology entrepreneurs, IT providers and tech investors with various topics such as the drafting and negotiating of IT and cloud contracts, privacy and information security, IP rights, Blockchain agreements, licensing conditions, and investment agreements regarding start-ups and scale-ups. A number of the Dutch legal IT issues that we encounter on a daily basis are outlined hereunder.
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IT / Cloud contracts
More and more business processes are being automated and outsourced. This may involve the storage and retention of (confidential) information in the cloud, whereby software is received ‘as a service’ (SaaS), and innovative prediction algorithms analyse the personal data of website visitors.
Dutch law agreements with IT providers or developers are key to guarantee a consistent quality and continuation of your business processes and (confidential) information. Who is responsible for managing the hosting of the service? Who owns the copyright or other intellectual property rights in relation to the software that has been developed under a cooperation agreement? Is an organisation in the Netherlands still able to access and obtain its valuable data after the agreement expires or terminates? Can the IT supplier be held liable if the agreed delivery dates have not been met? These are part of the questions that we deal with in IT and cloud contracts under Dutch law.
Privacy and information security
In the event of outsourcing IT and company processes, an IT supplier will often also process personal data and/or business-sensitive information. For example, the outsourced payroll administration or the hosting of the overall IT environment. Dutch and European privacy are important in such event.
The continuous developments in the field of digitisation and technology also result in new vulnerabilities (e.g. hacking, phishing and other forms of cybercrime). Due to the increasingly strict privacy laws and regulations in the Netherlands, as well as the growing risks in this respect (such as identity fraud), it is becoming more and more important to make proper contractual arrangements with IT providers and ensure adequate measures in the area of privacy and information security.
Blockchain: a relatively new phenomenon since the introduction of the World Wide Web that many expect to change the world permanently. A blockchain may be best described as a digital ledger, which is created by the sequential digital processing of transactions and including them in so-called blocks. Subsequently, the transactions concerned may take place independently because they are pre-programmed in smart contracts. Dutch law may apply to such smart contracts.
Blockchain and smart contracts are developing rapidly, but because for many this remains unknown territory, legal issues such as data protection and IP are becoming more complex, not only in the Netherlands but also internationally since blockchain and smart contracts generally go cross-border.
Software, copyright or patent
Information and digital technology services often also entail the development of (platform) software. It is possible that your company independently develops software and provides such software to customers as a service. Another possibility is that your (Dutch) company or organisation buys or licenses standard software from a third party.
In the Netherlands, software and, in particular, the source code, is protected by Dutch copyright law to the extent the software is sufficiently original. The functionality, programming language and underlying ideas of a computer program are not protected by Dutch copyright. Although less common, in some cases, intellectual property protection by means of obtaining a patent right is also possible in the Netherlands. Under circumstances, software may qualify as a trade secret under Dutch law and, thus, also enjoy a certain level of protection.
Data, Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI)
The developments in the area of digitisation and technology occur in rapid succession. Through digital sensors all kinds of applications and equipment are being connected via the Internet. This generates enormous amounts of data (nowadays also called big data). These technologies are used to make our phones, houses, cars, refrigerators and even cities ‘smart’. This innovative development is also known as the Internet of Things (IoT). If analyses are then performed on the basis of artificial intelligence (such as machine learning), the data may be used to identify connections and patterns and to improve existing algorithms. The protection of personal data and privacy is a recurring issue in this context. For the Netherlands, the privacy rules and regulations regarding data, IoT and IA are based on the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The Dutch acronym for GDPR is AVG.