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  • Trading secrets safely in Europe (Brands & IP Newsnotes - Issue 2)

    28 March 2016

    In December 2015, while most of us were busy wrapping presents and eating mince pies, the representatives of the European Parliament and Council agreed the text of the Trade Secrets Directive.

  • Play those bars again and end up behind… bars (Brands & IP Newsnotes - Issue 2)

    28 March 2016

    The High Court has handed down a custodial sentence of 28 days for breach of an injunction against copyright infringement, albeit suspended for a period of 18 months. Two points rang out.

  • Kylie v Kylie (Brands & IP Newsnotes - Issue 2)

    28 March 2016

    It isn’t often that trade mark oppositions receive mainstream media attention. Kylie Minogue has bucked that trend by filing an opposition to reality TV star Kylie Jenner’s trade mark application for ‘Kylie’ in the US.

  • But we settled that! (Brands & IP Newsnotes - Issue 2)

    28 March 2016

    Parties will understandably often be relieved to sign on the dotted line of that “full and final” settlement agreement. But two decisions of the High Court earlier this year may give pause for thought. What is the practical effect of such a settlement and is it really what the parties want?

  • Pheasant sick as a parrot

    21 March 2016

    Today, 21 March 2016, HHJ Pelling handed down his judgment in relation to the account of profits element of the long-running dispute between Jack Wills and House of Fraser over the use of a logo consisting of a pigeon with a top-hat and bow-tie on some of its own-brand “Linea” products. The logo was found by Mr Justice Arnold to infringe Jack Wills’ rights in its “Mr. Wills” pheasant with a top-hat and a cane.

  • Shared parental leave

    16 March 2016

    A new system of shared parental leave has been introduced as part of the Government’s commitment to create a fairer society that gives parents more flexibility to decide how they want to share care for their child in the first year. Shared parental leave is available for parents in respect of children due on or after 5 April 2015.

  • More than one storey: business rates liability

    04 March 2016

    A business may occupy a single unit of accommodation, such as a floor in an office building. Or it may occupy more than one unit, such as a number of floors within the office building. Such floors might adjoin, or they might be separated by other floors, or by common areas, or structural parts of the building. Or neighbouring properties might be occupied by the same business.

  • Tape measures - tackling the risk of employee recordings

    02 March 2016

    Modern technology has made it increasingly easy for employees to make covert recordings in the workplace. This can be done in different contexts and for a variety of reasons, but is rarely something that the employer would want to take place.

  • International Trade Marks

    27 February 2016

    Whilst there is no single trade mark that covers the entire world, knowledge of the various regional and international filing systems means that global protection can be achieved with greater ease and less expense than filing national trade mark applications in each country.

  • Latest ruling on holiday pay and commission

    24 February 2016

    The Employment Appeal Tribunal (“EAT”) has confirmed that UK law can and should be interpreted to give effect to the decision of the European Court of Justice (“ECJ”) that results-based commission must be taken into account when calculating workers’ holiday pay (British Gas Trading v Lock).

  • Trade Mark Watch Services

    21 February 2016

    There is a temptation for trade mark owners to breathe a sigh of relief as they eventually file their trade mark applications. It is often the culmination of months of work searching for any prior rights and perhaps investigating, negotiating, cancelling or acquiring such rights. It is an end, but only to the beginning of a brand’s lifecycle. Once the application is filed, this is when the brand protection programme begins in earnest.

  • Trade Mark and Design Searches

    21 February 2016

    Whenever a new launch is proposed, whether it is for a product, brand, business name or an advertising campaign, there is always a risk that someone else is already using an identical or a similar name or design. If so, then that party may be entitled to obtain an immediate injunction from the court to prevent the launch and obtain damages for trade mark, design right or copyright infringement and/or passing off.

  • UK Trade Marks

    17 February 2016

    A trade mark registration for a business, brand or product name, a logo, slogan or other trade mark provides a business with the most effective form of protection against a competitor making improper use of its trade mark. Whilst a trade mark might be capable of being protected through other areas of the law, such as passing off, copyright or design right, registering a trade mark has a number of important benefits.

  • Highly unattractive: Court criticises complaints raised for the first time when resisting enforcement

    04 February 2016

    The Commercial Court denied an application to resist enforcement and recognition of a French judgment on the basis of public policy. The court reiterated the exceptional nature of the public policy carve out in the Brussels Regulation (44/2001) particularly in circumstances where the grounds relied on by the applicant could have been raised in the foreign court itself.

  • When a loss becomes a gain: accounting for gains made when mitigating losses

    01 February 2016

    Following a breach of contract, the innocent party is usually entitled to damages. Broadly speaking these are set at a level required to put them in the position they would have been had the contract been performed properly. However, there is no entitlement to recover for avoidable loss and so this gives rise to what is sometimes referred to as a “duty” to take all reasonable steps to mitigate one’s loss. If the steps taken increase the loss overall, the increased figure is recoverable. On the other hand, if steps taken in mitigation are successful, the wrongdoer is entitled to the benefit accruing and their liability is for the resulting loss as lessened. But what happens when the claimant’s steps to mitigate are so effective that he makes a profit, wiping out any loss arising from the breach?

  • Court of Appeal has no appetite for salami slicing

    25 January 2016

    Without prejudice privilege is founded upon public policy. It serves to encourage litigants to settle their differences. Its effect is to exclude all negotiations genuinely aimed at settlement (whether oral or in writing) from being referred to at trial. Solicitors will often head negotiating correspondence “without prejudice” yet protection is not dependent upon use of the label. It is often misused and arises automatically in appropriate circumstances. So what happens when no label is used and attendees of a meeting later disagree as to its status?

  • What’s obvious to some is not obvious to all: Supreme Court espouses a conservative approach to implied terms

    18 January 2016

    “Rent” is what a tenant pays to occupy premises – agreed? So you might think it was “obvious” that a tenant shouldn’t pay rent for any period after the tenancy terminates – e.g. in circumstances where a tenant validly terminates the lease early. If you think that, you were in good company and indeed many landlords would voluntarily reimburse rent paid for the period after the termination date even where the lease did not expressly require this. Why? – because it was it was the right thing to do, obviously!

  • When will a court override an exclusive jurisdiction clause?

    30 November 2015

    In Jong v HSBC Private Bank (Monaco) SA [2015] EWCA Civ 1057, the Court of Appeal upheld the decision of HHJ Purle QC not to override an exclusive jurisdiction clause, setting out the factors to be balanced in the exercise of the court's discretion.

  • No duty of loyalty owed by directors to shareholders

    26 November 2015

    On 12 November 2015, in Sharp & Others v Blank & Others [2015] EWHC 3220 (Ch), Mr Justice Nugee handed down his latest judgment in litigation between the directors and shareholders of Lloyds Bank. His decision is of interest to directors and shareholders alike. It re-affirms the scope of duties owed by directors to shareholders, as well as the approach to be adopted when assessing them.

  • New protections for workers on zero-hours contracts

    17 November 2015

    Earlier this year, we reported on the Government’s ban on the use of exclusivity clauses in “zero-hours contracts”. The ban, which came into force in May, renders unenforceable a contractual provision which prohibits an individual working under a zero-hours contract from working elsewhere. The Government has recently proposed new legislation designed to add teeth to the ban, giving employees and workers the right to bring a tribunal claim if they are penalised for working elsewhere.

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