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Friday, 31 May 2013

Ambush Marketing: Just Not Cricket

The England and Wales Cricket Board ‘ECB’ has trademarked key-terms relating to the upcoming Ashes test series against Australia, in an attempt to kerb ambush-marketing by non-sponsors.

Rising to prominence in last summer’s Olympic Games, ambush-marketing is where a non-sponsor attempts to make financial gain by associating themselves to an event or competition.

LOCOG described its brand for London 2012 as 'its most valuable asset', a factor that is also true for many other events.

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Protection for ‘Orphan’ Copyright Works Set to Change

Newly enacted Government legislation has caused a stir in its attempt to bring about change to UK copyright law relating to ‘orphan’ works. These works are defined as works which have no identified owner and include material such as images, books, films and music.

The new law will require those seeking to use orphan works to undertake a ‘diligent search’ to identify the rights holder before a licence may be granted for their authorised use.

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

No Variation of Unsealed Consent Order Despite Non-disclosure by Husband

A wife’s application to have the financial remedy proceedings of a ‘big money’ case re-opened has been rejected by the family division of the High Court.

The remedy hearing initially took place in July 2012 and, at its conclusion, the heads of agreement and consent order had been approved but were not sealed by the court.

In her application, the wife alleged material non-disclosure by the husband. The husband was found to be guilty of non-disclosure, but that it was not considered material.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Levi’s Red Tabs Protected as Part of Composite Mark

The European Court of Justice’s (ECJ) decision in the seminal case of Colloseum Holding AG v. Levi Strauss & Co. [2013] has provided big brand owners with welcome relief.

The ruling on composite trademarks means that brand owners with distinctive elements of their slogans and packaging designs that have become well-known and instantly recognisable will not lose their trade mark protection where the mark is normally used as part of a composite mark.

Friday, 24 May 2013

Trademark Infringement and ‘Hypothetical Licensing’

An on-going dispute between 32Red and William Hill regarding an issue of trademark infringement has seen 32Red awarded £150,000 damages on the basis of ‘hypothetical licensing’. The infringement concerned the name 32Vegas, an online casino platform offered by William Hill; 32Red successfully claimed that the use of this name was an infringement of its trademark.

The court ruled that a trademark breach had occurred because the name 32Vegas could create confusion among consumers and inadvertently undermine 32Red’s reputation. However, this case is more significant due to the court’s indication that the “user principle” could be extended to trademark infringement.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

‘Availability’ is No Defence to Trademark Infringement

A trade mark is used to distinguish goods and services provided by a brand, from its competitors. A registered trade mark can offer protection to a brand’s reputation and ensure that consumers are not misled when purchasing goods and services.

The seminal, 2008 ‘Adidas’ European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling may have afforded extra trademark protection to well-known brands. The ECJ dismissed the ‘availability’ argument in relation to trade mark infringement.

This means that the public interest in keeping generic signs such as stripes generally available for use will not be a factor taken into consideration in relation to the assessment of potential infringement.

Monday, 20 May 2013

Copyright Proposals May Loosen Infringement Rules for Parody

The Government has proposed various changes to existing copyright laws for autumn 2013 following the Hargreaves report of 2011. The changes seek to introduce a variety of exceptions which will place limitations on copyright infringement for forms of copying that do not interfere with the aims and objectives of copyright law. Underlining the government’s approach is a desire to ensure that the framework for protecting copyright in the UK is flexible, modern and robust.

Although many of the proposals appear designed to help legislation keep up with technological advances in the way copyright material is stored or displayed, the relaxation of the rules on parody are noteworthy for their broader scope.

Friday, 17 May 2013

An Overview of the Commercial Agents Regulations 1993

Businesses or individuals that employ commercial agents or that operate as commercial agents must be aware of the legal regulations they are subject to.

The Commercial Agents Regulations 1993 brought considerable alterations to the agency principle in English law, extending specific rights and liabilities to commercial agents and their principals.

The 1993 provisions are implied into all commercial agency agreements.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Consumer Rights and Harassment

Consumers who reach their wits’ end trying to deal with faceless organisations that persistently send aggressive communications should not be cowed.

And businesses should tread carefully when pursuing consumers for any reason.

Consumer rights were bolstered in 2009 when, in a true case of David and Goliath, Mrs Ferguson succeeded in bringing a claim for harassment against British Gas.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Starting a Franchise Business and Managing Disputes

Franchise businesses can be a great way for individuals to set out on their own while benefiting from the support of an established business model. It is also a great way for existing businesses to leverage their brand and industry knowledge with the help of locally based entrepreneurs.

Before entering into a franchise, both parties should understand the nature of the franchise agreement and have a strategy for dealing with any disputes that arise.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Richest Divorcees – a Recognised Category of Wealth

It may be no surprise that London is often considered the divorce capital of the world. For some of the world’s richest couples it has become the place of choice to get a divorce, meaning the phenomenon of so-called ‘divorce tourism’ is on the rise.

Monday, 13 May 2013

An Overview of the Financial Conduct Authority

In the wake of widespread criticism following the onset of financial crisis, the Financial Services Authority has finally been disbanded with its previous responsibilities split into two newly created entities.

The new bodies which took over responsibilities on April 1, 2013 are the Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”) and the Prudential Regulation Authority (“PRA”).

Friday, 10 May 2013

MPC Holds Firm, But Evidence Builds Help To Buy Shared Equity Is Radically Impacting New Build

  • Many Questions remain on Mortgage Insurance Scheme set for 1 January

  • Superb Remortgage Opportunities Now Available To Many SVR Borrowers

Ray Boulger of leading independent mortgage adviser John Charcol comments on the mortgage market and today’s announcement from the MPC of no change in Bank Rate or the amount of Quantitative Easing (QE).

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Personalised Pricing Online Investigated by OFT

In today's marketplace, the internet offers both consumers and traders a wealth of opportunities for buying and selling. The expansion of this global market is especially valuable for businesses, providing endless ways in which firms can target potential customers.

Personalised pricing is one way that businesses are using targeted advertising and marketing to maximise margins on goods or services sold online. However, the information required to implement such strategies means they have started to attract close scrutiny from regulators such as the Office of Fair Trading (OFT).

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Huge Rise in International Family Disputes

There has been a huge rise in the number of international family disputes overseen by UK courts in the last few years. The Office of the Head of International Family Justice for England and Wales (the “Office”) has just released its 2012 annual report which shows an increase of over 40 per cent compared to 2011.

The latest figures continue a marked trend in the numbers of international family disputes which have been brought to the attention of the Office since its inception in 2005.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

SFO Confirms the Use of Civil Recovery Orders

Any doubts about the continued use of civil recovery orders as a means to tackle criminal activity such as serious or complex fraud have recently been dispelled. There were some indications that these orders might be dropped to emphasise a tougher approach by authorities but the SFO has recently confirmed that they will still be used as ‘an additional means of dealing with certain cases’.

Monday, 6 May 2013

Proposed Reforms to Directors’ Remuneration

Proposals are afoot for changes to the way directors of certain companies are remunerated. The proposed reforms to directors’ remuneration are mainly applicable to quoted companies registered in the UK and are likely to take effect on 1 October 2013.

These reforms, which may yet be subject to amendment, have arisen against the backdrop of company failures and excessive remuneration of company executives in spite of poor stewardship.

Going forward, shareholders will be empowered to have binding votes on the remuneration of company executives in order to make them more accountable to the company and provide a nexus between performance and pay.

Friday, 3 May 2013

Significant Effects Likely Following the Defamation Act 2013

On 25 April 2013 the Defamation Bill was given royal assent and became the Defamation Act 2013 (the Act).

Although its provisions are not yet in force, the government hopes the changes to the previous defamation laws will provide for a more balanced and fairer system particularly for peer-reviewed academic publications, public interest journalism and website operators.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Changes to Child Support Assessment Regime

In December 2012, the Child Support Agency (CSA) began running a new gross income assessment scheme known as CS3 for a Pathfinder Group of applicants.

The aim is to simplify the assessment of child support payments for non-resident parents by using gross income rather than net income figures. Gross income figures can be sought directly from HMRC making it faster, more accurate and transparent, and helping to reduce administration costs.

The Pathfinder Group consists of families with four or more children having the same primary care and non-resident parents. Any pre-existing support payments under the CS2 net income scheme are combined under CS3 if parents qualify for the Pathfinder Group.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

France Legalises Gay Marriage

At the end of April 2013, France became the 14th country in the world to legalise gay marriage. France joined a growing list of countries who have legislated for gay marriage including; New Zealand, Uruguay, Denmark, Argentina, Iceland, Poland, Sweden, Norway, South Africa, Canada, Spain, Belgium and the Netherlands, along with a number of US States.