A new online digital fingerprinting service has been launched to help protect designs and innovations from copycat misuse. Torion Bowles , Partner and Solicitor in our Litigation and Dispute Resolution department, explains more as to why this...
At the end of June, businesses in certain industries were given just 10 days to prepare themselves for re-opening, which included implementing a system to collect their customer data in case it was required for the NHS Test and Trace system. Initial...
Many businesses are continuing to struggle financially due to the restrictions in place following the coronavirus pandemic and, even though those restrictions are beginning to ease and in spite of the range of Government support on offer, there are still...
In response to a written question posed to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the Government has indicated that it has no plans to implement the Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market ( (EU) 2019/790 ) (the...
The Commercial Court has recently held in the case of Alafco Irish Aircraft Leasing Sixteen Ltd v Hong Kong Airlines Ltd  EWHC 3668 (Comm) (22 November 2019) that a commercial lease which made provision for a party to recover "all reasonable...
The European Patent Office (“EPO”) has recently refused two applications on the basis that the applicants had named an Artificial Intelligence (“AI”) system called DABUS as the inventor (Case: Grounds for the EPO decisions...
The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) and the Competition & Marketing Authority (CMA) have issued joint guidance to influencers and affiliates to assist with making their advertising clearer and that consumers are aware of the advertising. The published...
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) and the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) have issued a joint statement re-iterating the need for insolvency practitioners and other FCA-authorised firms to be...
In most cases where there is a dispute between business parties, it is likely that you will be told to try and resolve matters through Alternative Dispute Resolution. Mollie Leak , Solicitor within our Commercial Litigation and Dispute Resolution ...
Following the implementation of the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) in May 2018, there has been little news of fines from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). That is until recently, when the ICO issued its first penalty notice on 17 December 2019 to a pharmacy in London. Brian Bannister, Solicitor in our Company Commercial department, reviews the circumstances of the fine and how other organisations can avoid the same situation.
In the recently reported case of Akita and another v Governor and Company of the Bank of Ireland  EWHC 1712 (QB) (31 January 2019), the High Court has allowed an appeal against the dismissal of a claim following non-attendance at Court. The appeal related to the application of Civil Procedure Rule 39.3, which permits the Court to strike out a claim if the claimant does not attend the trial of the matter.
Superior Style Home Improvements Ltd (Superior Style) has been fined £150,000 by the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) for failing to comply with Regulation 21 of the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003 (SI 2003/2426) (PECR).
In the case of Al-Ko Kober Ltd v Sambhi  EWHC 2409 (QB) (13 September 2019) the High Court has granted summary judgment in favour of Al-Ko Kober Ltd and its marketing director against the defendant, who manufactured a competing product (stabilisers for towing caravans), for their claims for defamation, malicious falsehood and breach of the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA 1998).
The High Court recently determined the question of whether a notice of assignment of a debt was valid where it stated an unverifiable date of assignment.
Individuals have the “right to be forgotten” under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which means they have the right for their personal data to be erased upon their request. A recent case has confirmed that the territorial scope of the right applies solely within the EU and not worldwide.
With the current uncertainty surrounding the British economy, it is fair to say that businesses are considering their long term options, with many now looking to sell. Naushad Rahman, Partner in our Company Commercial team, explains some basic steps you should bear in mind when preparing for such an eventuality and how we can support you, your business and your employees through what can be a traumatic transition.
Using other people's corporate and brand images without consent is obviously asking for trouble. But what about using other types of image for commercial purposes? The internet is awash with free-to-view images and there is an understandable temptation to appropriate them in some fashion for one's own use, without ever verifying whether or not those images are still subject to copyright and, if so, seeking an appropriate licence from the copyright holder. Brian Bannister, Company Commercial Solicitor, explains here the best option for you when using images for commercial purposes.
The Law Commission has announced that electronic signatures can be used instead of a handwritten signature on nearly all legal or contractual documents following a lengthy consultation. Helen Porter, Partner in our Commercial Litigation and Dispute Resolution team, here explains more about the move, the areas of legal practice where there are still exceptions and what this means for businesses.
In the case of Juul Labs Inc v Quick Juul Ltd (formerly Quick Xuul Ltd and Quick Juul Ltd)  EWHC 1281 (Ch) (21 May 2019) the High Court has found an individual to be in contempt of Court having intentionally breached the terms of a court order by failing to sign two documents to transfer a domain name to the claimants in passing off proceedings. The sentence handed down was two months' imprisonment.
During their lifetime all companies, businesses, partnerships and sole traders will have to react to personal, economic or financial change as certain factors become more salient at any given point in time. Organisations that refuse to change with the times face the risk of becoming obsolete, or at the very least, miss opportunities.
In the case of Bates v Post Office Ltd (No.3)  EWHC 606 (QB) (15 March 2019), sub-postmasters' contracts with the Post Office have been held to be "relational contracts" and in turn benefited from an implied obligation of good faith. As a result of the implied obligation neither party could exercise its express contractual rights in a way that reasonable and honest people would consider commercially unacceptable.
Many employers have enjoyed the benefits of hiring apprentices, particularly since the Government introduced the Apprenticeship Levy in 2017. Ensuring your apprentice is employed under the right documentation is essential to protect your business against possible claims in the Employment Tribunal.
Where a party enters in to a contract because of duress, the contract is voidable by the party who suffered the duress. Economic duress is one aspect of the duress doctrine with the party seeking to prove economic duress having to show the existence of an illegitimate pressure applied by the defendant without which it would not have entered into the contract. Common examples of the illegitimate pressure involve a crime or tort or breach of contract. On occasion, however, unethical but lawful acts have also been held to constitute economic duress.
It was recently World International Property Day (26 April), a day on which the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) seeks to raise awareness about how various intellectual property (IP) rights impact on our daily lives. This year’s event celebrated the positive role that IP plays in encouraging sports amongst the masses, centring around how developments in technology and IP have seen sporting events grow to a global scale over the years.
The High Court has held in the case of Stavrinides and others v Bank of Cyprus Plc  EWHC 1328 (Ch) (24 May 2019) that a bank's local relationship manager (the agent) had no actual or ostensible authority to write off its borrowers' substantial debts. As a consequence, the bank (the principal) was not bound by the letter purporting to do so, which had been initialled by the agent. In turn, the borrower was not entitled to rely on the terms of the letter.
The High Court has recently announced their decision in a pinnacle case regarding whether Brexit could frustrate a commercial property lease. Alexandra Savage , Commercial Property Solicitor in our Portsmouth office, reviews the outcome of the case....
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was implemented a year ago, requiring businesses to adapt to the most revolutionary change in data protection seen in years. Even though 12 months have now passed, businesses are still working towards compliance with the regulations.
As this is my last edition as editor of the Commercial Brief I thought it would be appropriate to become slightly philosophical on a legal subject that is very close to my heart—commercial contracts. I have, over the years, seen and indeed drafted,...
Landlords will be familiar with the protection afforded to business tenants when it comes to lease renewal under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954. At the end of WWII, commercial property was at a premium. Business tenants found that when they...
An option available to a tenant under a commercial lease is the ability to assign (or transfer) the lease to a third party. This will usually require the landlord’s consent. One of the conditions of a landlord giving their consent will inevitably be...
The Trade Marks Regulation 2018 (SI 2018/825), implementing the Trade Marks Directive (EU) 2015/2436 and amending the Trade Marks Act and the Trade Mark Rules 2008 came into force on 14 January 2019.
In the case of Christian Fülla v Toolport GmbH (Case C-52/18) EU:C:2019:22 (15 January 2019) Advocate General Wahl has issued an opinion concerning the return of defective goods for repair, under the Sales and Guarantees Directive (1999/44/EC )...
Guidance has been issued by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) concerning the use of personal data after Brexit. The BEIS guidance explains how Brexit will affect UK businesses both in the event of a deal and if there is no...
In the case of Wells (Respondent) v Devani (Appellant)  UKSC 4 (13 February 2019) ), the Supreme Court unanimously found that an estate agency agreement with the seller was complete and enforceable despite not expressly stating the trigger events when...
Magnacrest Ltd, a housing developer, pleaded guilty at the Westminster Magistrates' Court to a charge brought under section 47(1) of the Data Protection Act 1998 for failing to comply with an enforcement notice issued by the Information...
Companies House has published guidance concerning changes to the registration of companies in the event of the UK leaving the EU without a deal. The guidance includes information concerning: European entities formed under EU law (i.e. Societas Europaea...
Our Commercial division have expanded their expertise in their support for businesses with the introduction of two new Solicitors; Molly Siggs and Naushad Rahman.
GDPR has been effective for almost six months now and the Information Commissioner’s Office (“ICO”) has prosecuted or taken other enforcement action (and imposed monetary penalties, enforcement notices, or demanded undertakings)...
Wm Morrison Supermarkets Plc was unsuccessful in its appeal against the High Court ruling that it was vicariously liable for an employee's deliberate disclosure online of co-workers' personal data.
The case of Phones 4U Ltd (in Administration) v EE Ltd  EWHC 49 provides a useful reminder that the content of a notice served to terminate a contract will be critical when considering whether a party can sue for damages arising from a party’s repudiatory breach of a contract.
It is nearly five months since the General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) came into force but whether any business could achieve full compliance is still uncertain. Is it possible that efforts to comply are being drowned in a sea of Data...
The Chancellor announced two significant changes in his autumn budget to the qualifying conditions required to claim Entrepreneurs’ Relief (ER). ER is an important tax relief for many of our clients because it may be applied to reduce the rate of...
In the European case of Conseils et mise en relations (CMR) SARL v Demeures terre et tradition SARL (Case C-645/16) EU:C:2018:262 (19 April 2018) the European Court of Justice (“ECJ”) was required to consider whether a commercial agent was entitled to indemnity or compensation when termination occurred during a contractual trial period.
In the case of Health & Care Management Ltd v The Physiotherapy Network Ltd  EWHC 869 (QB) (19 April 2018), the High Court has underlined the benefit of a well drafted “good faith” clause and the ability for such a clause to make up for any drafting deficiencies within the body of the contract.
This article is directed particularly to those “fortunate” individuals responsible for GDPR compliance in their organisations. It is anticipated that in answer to the question are you ready for GDPR, many would answer no—in common with most UK businesses.
As we edge closer to GDPR-Day further guidance is being issued by the Article 29 Working Party (“WP29”), with a recent one on transparency (“the Guidance”). Their original guidance on this was adopted on 29 November 2017; this document was open to consultation until 23 January 2018.
As we edge nearer and nearer to GDPR-Day (25 May 2018) more businesses are questioning their data protection policies and are attempting to overhaul their data protection practices.
The Consumer Rights Act 2015 (“the Act”) which came into force on 1 October 2015 has been billed as the biggest overhaul of consumer rights in a generation.
The question of what constitutes a B2B communication is now applicable when considering the General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”), specifically in relation to marketing.
It is now only three months until the General Data Protection Regulation goes live and local law firm, Warner Goodman are seeing an increasing number of requests for assistance in making businesses compliant.
As from 13th January 2018 businesses are no longer able to charge a consumer for payments made by credit card or debit card.
Against a background of government reforms in Courts and Tribunals, the Ministry of Justice aims to ensure that the process of debt recovery strikes a balance, between the legitimate right of an individual or business to pursue a money claim, and the right of a debtor, to know of any claim against them and have the opportunity to defend that claim.
Articles 13 and 14 of the General Data Protection Regulation set out the requirement to send data subjects information about their personal data and how is it being processed.
On 7th August the Digital Minister of the UK Government announced the imminent publication of a “Data Protection Bill” and released a “Statement of Intent” in which the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport sets out its plans for the future regulation of personal data usage by business and its enforcement.
On 25th May 2018 the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into effect across all the EU and EFTA member states, replacing the Data Protection Act in the UK (DPA), the Federal Data Protection Act in Germany (BDSG) and similar data privacy laws in all those states. It will be enforced by local data protection agencies and courts and provides for fines for defaulters of up to 4% of global turnover or, if higher, EUR 20m. It makes substantial changes to data protection rules in the UK. The UK Government has announced that it will continue in effect post Brexit.
Following the implementation of the Money Laundering Regulations on 26 June 2017, businesses need to be aware of important new deadlines under the People with Significant Control (PSC) Regime.
Outside specialist lawyer/IP practitioner circles the risks or benefits of legal action against unjustified threats are little known. This cause of action is only applicable to intellectual property infringements and even specialists have had difficulty analysing what is, or is not, a threat.
Civil restraint orders (CROs) prevent individuals from bringing claims or applications which are without merit. CROs normally require their subject to obtain court permission before further claims or applications relating to a particular cause of action can be issued (e.g. a claim for patent infringement). They should not be confused with “Restraining Orders” being court orders that help protect people from violence; stalking, serious harassment or threats of violence.
Geoffrey Sturgess, Consultant Solicitor within the Commercial department of Warner Goodman, has been named as one of 20 Legal Eagles according to Global Franchise Magazine.
Small businesses are due to benefit from new regulations introduced this month that require larger companies to publish information about how long they take to pay their suppliers. Brian Kirby, Head of Debt Recovery, reviews the regulations here and further explains how small businesses can help reclaim debts if there are payments outstanding.
The sending of electronic marketing (emails, SMS etc) to consumers is governed by the Data Protection Act (DPA), The Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003 (PECR) and the Code of Advertising Practice (CAP).
GDPR was adopted by the European Parliament on 25th May 2016 and comes into effect on 25th May 2018. Geoffrey Sturgess explains what this means for businesses and what action you need to be taking.
Crowdfunding through online portals (crowdfunding platforms) is an increasingly popular method of raising money for new businesses and organisations to finance their activities.
The Competition and Markets Authority (previously the Office of Fair Trading) has carried out a survey and discovered that over half the businesses questioned did not understand the meaning or significance of unfair contract terms.
The use of personal data in the United Kingdom (UK) is currently governed by the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) which was implemented in order to comply with the European Union’s (EU) Data Protection Directive (DPD). The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) replaces this current legislation and is in force with effect from the 25th May 2018, in a bid to harmonise practices across all member states.
Where parties enter into a contract and there remain provisions to be agreed in the future then the contract may lack certainty and be considered a mere agreement to agree. It has long been held that if such a contract lacks sufficient certainty then it may be unenforceable.
From 1st July 2016 the Company Annual Return that needs to be made to Companies House has been replaced by the Confirmation Statement. The change was made by the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015. The Confirmation Statement will be due on the date that the Annual Return would have been due.
It is very likely that a significant number of UK unlisted companies and their directors, have since 6th April 2006 unwittingly been committing a number of new criminal offences for which the humans amongst them could be imprisoned.
On 23rd June the UK voted to leave the European Union, a decision that will have substantial effect on a number of legal issues which are very relevant to UK businesses even if they do not trade with other EU states. At present it is not easy to predict those effects as they all depend, in large part, on decisions which are yet to be made by UK and EU politicians and bureaucrats as part of the two year disconnection process.
Since 52% of eligible UK voters chose to leave the EU, there has been debate over when Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty should be triggered and prominent business figures have weighed in with their outlook on life and business outside of the Eurozone.
As reported in our Autumn 2015 Commercial Brief, the (“the Act”) received Royal Assent on 26 March 2015.
One of the aims of the Act is to enhance the transparency of UK private companies and from 6th April 2016 most companies have to start maintaining a register of people with significant control (“PSC register”), although the obligation to file this information at Companies House will not come into effect until three months later.
The General Data Protection Regulation, GDPR, will replace the Data Protection Act in 2018 following its adoption by the European Parliament on 14th April. It is much tougher on businesses.
In late 2015 the Supreme Court gave its judgment on the joint cases of Cavendish Square Holding BV v Talal El Makdessi (“El Makdessi”) and ParkingEye Ltd v Beavis (“ParkingEye”)  UKSC 67. In these cases the Court considered the long standing rules and principles in relation to penalty clauses contained in commercial contracts.
The Taking Control of Goods Regulations, part of the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007, came into effect on 6th April 2014. The aim of these regulations was to bring conformity and clarity to the various forms of debt enforcement.
On 26 April 1970 the World Intellectual Property Organisation (“WIPO”) came into force. In 2000 the member states of WIPO designated 26 April as “World Intellectual Property Day” (“World IP Day”). The aim behind this was to increase general understanding of intellectual property (“IP”).
Reports on the so-called Panama Papers have focused on the tax affairs of wealthy individuals and the businesses that help them avoid tax, but the hacking of client files at law firm Mossack Fonseca should sound a warning for every business.
From 15 February 2016 the EU’s new online dispute resolution (ODR) platform became operational.
Under EU Regulation 524/2013 (“the Regulation”) consumers and traders within the EU can use the ODR platform to refer contractual disputes between a consumer and a trader in relation to goods and/or services purchased online to an agreed alternative dispute resolution (“ADR”) provider.
There is currently much debate and uncertainty over the status of the UK’s membership in the European Union. If the UK does remain in the EU following the referendum on 23rd June 2016, then along with the much talked about changes to its membership, the UK will also face significant changes to data protection law as a result of the new General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”).
The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations (“the Regulations”) gave effect to the European Unfair Commercial Practices Directive. The Regulations prohibit misleading commercial practices that may cause the average consumer to take a different commercial decision to that which they intended.
After substantial discussions in the corridors of Brussels a nearly final form of the General Data Processing Regulation “GDPR” has been published. Announced by Brussels as creating a “single market for data processing across the EU” it will in fact create substantial new compliance obligations for most businesses in the UK when, as anticipated, it comes into effect in 2017.
After building up a successful business and reaping the rewards, it may be time to think about how else your brand can work for you. Apart from the typical route of employing more staff in new locations, and taking on new premises, an alternative and often overlooked option is franchising.
The Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015 (“the Act”) received Royal Assent on 26 March 2015. The aim of the Act is to enhance the transparency of UK companies. The Act introduces new filing requirements for companies, and will impact upon most businesses of all sizes.
If a client of yours is refusing to pay an outstanding bill, the financial implications to your business are obvious, but there’s also the cost of spending time attempting to recover the debt, as well as disruption to any future engagement or projects....
Alice Samuel, Legal Secretary in the Company Commercial team reviews The Modern Slavery Act which was passed in March 2015 and is intended to tackle modern slavery by consolidating and defining various offences that relate to human trafficking and slavery. It provides for two main offences that relate to holding another person in slavery, servitude and forced or compulsory labour and arranging or facilitating the travel of another person with the intention of exploiting them.
The release of the hacked data from an extramarital dating site will have given its customers more than the usual worry that accompanies news of cyber-crime. Geoffrey Sturgess, Company Commercial Consultant Solicitor, explains the different ways in which cyber-crime can occur and advises businesses to carefully review their information risk management regime, assessing their processes with the same rigour as legal, regulatory, financial or operational risk.
Torion Bowles at Warner Goodman Commercial reviews two cases involving global superstars in the music industry, which have recently highlighted the importance of protecting intellectual property rights.
If you are trading and you have a brand either for you or for a particular type of good or service that you supply you should consider getting it registered as a trademark. The fact that it is your company name is NOT sufficient to prevent others using it or a similar mark as a trading name or a brand.
Torion Bowles of our Commercial Litigation and Dispute Resolution Team takes a look at the recent Court of Appeal decision where it was found that Mattel’s Community Trademark for SCRABBLE was not infringed or passed off by Zynga Inc’s online words game Scramble With Friends (“SWF”).
The Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015 (SBEE Act) will abolish corporate directors from 1st October 2015. Steven Grant, Company Commercial Partner, explains here that companies will no longer be allowed to be a director of another company and advises that those using corporate directors would be well placed to start considering how the SBEE Act will affect them, and whether they will need to restructure their boards.
Three individuals set out to bring a claim in England against US based company, Google Inc., for misuse of their private information. Torion Bowles, Litigation Solicitor, reviews the case (Google Inc. v. Judith Vidal-Hall and others  EWCA Civ 311), which has not reached trial yet, but has resulted in a number of ground-breaking changes to the law already being decided upon.
Two companies who went to court in an argument over whose terms and conditions applied to a contract between them, have both lost out. Steven Grant, Head of the Commercial Team at Warner Goodman Commercial, explains more about the case here, and why the High Court decided that neither company had a leg to stand on in their dispute over the supply of rubber gaskets.
Most businesses need standard terms to operate, and it’s important these are kept up-to-date. Steven Grant, Partner in the Company Commercial team, here answers 10 of the most common questions asked by clients.
A new Pre Action Protocol for Debt Claims (The Debt Protocol) is likely to be introduced by Spring 2015, following on from Lord Justice Jackson’s recommendation that a new specific pre action protocol should be introduced. Brian Kirby, Head of Debt Recovery, explains what these changes mean if your business is claiming payment of a debt from an individual.
In the week that Taylor Swift reportedly obtained a trademark in the USA to protect the use of her lyrics from her “Shake It Off” and “1989” albums, the Court of Appeal in England & Wales has upheld a decision where the use of an image of the pop star Rihanna on a T-shirt was found to be passing off and had damaged the goodwill and reputation of her business.
When a company decides to expand internationally, not only must it take with it resources such as materials, capital and personnel, but also the trade secrets which it hopes will give it a competitive advantage in its new market. Protecting those trade secrets from disclosure to and use by competitors is an important challenge made more complicated by the lack of uniform laws in the international realm.
Warner Goodman Commercial recently presented a seminar under the banner “Doing Business Abroad” at the Chilworth Manor Hotel. With over 40 guests in attendance from a variety of business sectors, the evening was a great success. The audience, mainly comprised of SME business people, came to learn how to trade, expand and operate overseas and how to avoid pitfalls.
Doing business overseas (unless on the Isle of Wight) will always involve issues of international law – even in Northern Ireland. It doesn’t need to be overseas either, consider Scotland which has Scottish law, not English. Doing business always involves contracts, even if they are unwritten and so here Geoffrey Sturgess, Consultant Solicitor, highlights the potential pitfalls you must be aware of when doing business overseas.
The British Franchise Association has again been concerning itself with the question of self-regulation v Regulation. Regulation with a capital “R” in this context means regulation by the State—laws governing the way in which the relationship between franchisor and franchisee has to work; laws that might, for example prohibit “no reliance” (on anything said by the franchisor to the franchisee prior to the contract) clauses; or proscribe formal, pre-contract, disclosure by franchisor to franchisee (on which the franchisee can rely); or cooling off periods.
Warner Goodman Commercial is pleased to announce a forthcoming seminar on “Doing Business Abroad”, an evening of presentations in Southampton for SMEs interested in trading, expanding or operating overseas.