The REACH regime for the registration, evaluation, authorisation and restriction of chemicals in the European Union (EU) is designed to encourage, and in many cases compel, the sharing of data on the human health and environmental hazards and risk management procedures for thousands of chemical substances. This data must be shared amongst manufacturers and importers of the same substance. Unlike prior regimes, suppliers will not be permitted to continue to place substances on the EU market unless the necessary registration is submitted. This has at least three important implications for industry. First, in many instances, businesses will need to generate data that does not currently exist. Second, companies will be forced to share data, even with their direct competitors. Third, companies that have invested resources in generating data can require compensation for their costs, thereby preventing free-riders. Businesses need to approach the new regime with care and caution to ensure both compliance, and to protect the IP in their data and their commercial interests.
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