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Defendant's failure to assign domain name results is finding of contempt of Court

Torion Bowles
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In the case of Juul Labs Inc v Quick Juul Ltd (formerly Quick Xuul Ltd and Quick Juul Ltd) [2019] 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.

Putting back the pieces differently - The case for restructuring your organisation

Naushad Rahman
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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.

"Relational" contract benefits from implied duty of good faith

Torion Bowles
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In the case of Bates v Post Office Ltd (No.3) [2019] 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.

How to hire and fire an apprentice

Natalie Rawson
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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. 

The scope of lawful act duress clarified by Court of Appeal

Torion Bowles
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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.

Intellectual Property: everything you need to know

Daniel Coleman
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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.      

Bank's relationship manager had no authority to write off borrower debts

Torion Bowles
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The High Court has held in the case of Stavrinides and others v Bank of Cyprus Plc [2019] 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.

Will Brexit frustrate a commercial property lease?

Molly Siggs
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The High Court has recently announced their decision in a pinnacle case regarding whether Brexit could frustrate a commercial property lease.  Molly Siggs, Commercial Property Solicitor in our Portsmouth office, reviews the outcome of the case. ...

GDPR turns one; the impact, the lessons and the future

Emilie Gas
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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.  

Business Contracts - An Overview

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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,...

Redevelopment Repercussions - how to terminate a business lease due to redevelopment

Helen Porter
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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...

GAGA about AGAs

Jenny Colvin
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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...

Changes in Trademark law

Emilie Gas
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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. We list below some of the most important changes: Marks...

Advocate General's opinion issued on consumers' obligations to return defective goods for repair or replacement

Torion Bowles
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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 issued on the use of personal data post Brexit

Torion Bowles
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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...

Estate agents secure payment despite the agency agreement lacking any express term as to the timing of when the commission would become payable

Torion Bowles
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In the case of Wells (Respondent) v Devani (Appellant) [2019] 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...

Fine for failing to respond to Information Commissioner's Office enforcement notice

Torion Bowles
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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 issues guidance on changes to company registrations in the event of a No-deal Brexit

Torion Bowles
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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...

New Solicitors extend commercial offering at Warner Goodman

Claire Battye
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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 - Much Ado About Nothing?

Natalie Rawson
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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)...

Morrisons supermarket liable for rogue employee's disclosure of co-workers' personal data online

Torion Bowles
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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.

Counter claim for loss of bargain dismissed on grounds of not terminating the Contract on the correct grounds

Torion Bowles
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The case of Phones 4U Ltd (in Administration) v EE Ltd  [2018] 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.

GDPR - A Double Edged Sword

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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...

Changes to Entrepreneurs Relief

Steven Grant
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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...

Commercial agents agents entitled to indemnity or compensation even where termination occurs during a contractual trial period

Torion Bowles
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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.

Setting up a rival business whilst misusing another party's data constitutes breach of express good faith clause

Torion Bowles
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In the case of Health & Care Management Ltd v The Physiotherapy Network Ltd [2018] 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.

GDPR is here - are you compliant yet?

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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.

GDPR - Transparency update

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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. 

The customer is always right..?

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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.

GDPR: News update on B2B communications

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The question of what constitutes a B2B communication is now applicable when considering the General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”), specifically in relation to marketing. 

Your GDPR checklist

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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.  

Government Reform - County Court Judgements

Brian Kirby
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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.  

Article 30 GDPR: What does the Paragraph 5 exemption really mean for Smaller Organisations?

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Article 30 of the General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) states that each controller and processor of a data subject’s personal data shall maintain a record of processing activities that are its responsibility. It goes on to set out what should be contained in each of the controller’s and processor’s records. 

Not another Data Protection Act!

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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.

Are you preparing for GDPR?

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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.

New deadlines for the People with Significant Control regime

Chris Greep
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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. 

Change of rules on unjustified threats

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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. 

What are Civil Restraint Orders?

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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. 

Commercial solicitor recognised by industry press

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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.

New regulations introduced to reduce late payment of invoices

Brian Kirby
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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.

Electronic Marketeer breached Advertising Standards rules

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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).  

Preparing for replacement of the Data Protection Act by the General Data Protection Regulation.

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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.

The facts about crowdfunding for your business

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Crowdfunding through online portals (crowdfunding platforms) is an increasingly popular method of raising money for new businesses and organisations to finance their activities.

Competition and Markets Authority wants to educate traders.

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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.

General Data Protection Regulation: The new obligations for consent and what these will mean for businesses

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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.

Certainty in Contracts - Hughes v Pendragon [2016]

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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.

Confirmation Statement replaces Company Annual Return from 1st July

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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.

Go straight to gaol. Do not collect £200. Or The Register of Persons with Significant Control

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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.

Brexit: The legal effect

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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.

The impact of 'Brexit' on SME's hoping to expand overseas

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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.

New obligation on companies to maintain register of Persons with Significant Control

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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.

Penalty Clauses: The new rules and how these impact on commercial contracts

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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”)  [2015] UKSC 67. In these cases the Court considered the long standing rules and principles in relation to penalty clauses contained in commercial contracts.

Taking control of goods enforcement

Brian Kirby
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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.

World IP Day 2016: Digital Creativity - Culture Reimagined

Torion Bowles
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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”).

Panama Papers Mega Leak not only relevant to the rich and dodgy

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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.   

New EU Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) Regulation creates new obligations for online businesses

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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.

Data Privacy by Design: Why organisations dealing with personal data should consider designing their processes around it

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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 increasing importance of protecting your Intellectual Property

Torion Bowles
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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.

Major new data privacy obligations on the cards for business

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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.

Franchising your business

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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

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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.

Can't pay, won't pay

Brian Kirby
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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....

The Modern Slavery Act 2015 - Should I be worried?

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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.

Cyber crime crisis

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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.

Recent Cases Involving Celebrities Highlight the Importance of Protecting Intellectual Property Rights

Torion Bowles
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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.

Registered Trademarks - should you have one?

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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.

Scrabble Trademark not infringed by Scramble with Friends Online App

Torion Bowles
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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”).

Abolition of Corporate Directors

Steven Grant
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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.

Court of Appeal upholds High Court decision on Google's Safari workaround

Torion Bowles
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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 [2015] 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.

Battle of forms: do your terms and conditions apply to your contracts?

Steven Grant
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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.

Click-Wrapped or Browse-Wrapped for Website Terms of Use

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Many UK companies first enter the US market by selling online, with a website tailored to US customers.  If they’re prudent they also tailor the Terms of Use of their website to US law.  Jonathan Strassberg, US Attorney at Law, explains here that if those Terms of Use are not adequately conveyed to the website user, legal protections can be lost; a point made clear by the US Federal Court of Appeals recently when it stated that in order to be binding online, Terms of Use must be expressly agreed to by a user of the website.

10 Essential Questions for Standard Terms of Business

Steven Grant
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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.

Cards on the table

Brian Kirby
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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.

Intellectual Property Update: Pop star pushes the Boundaries of Image Rights in the UK

Torion Bowles
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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. 

Protecting Trade Secrets Abroad

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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.

International Seminar Success

Steven Grant
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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.

International Commercial Contract Challenges Made Clear

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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.

Time for action on ethics

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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.

Learn how you can do business abroad

Steven Grant
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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.

Exclusion of Liability in Contracts

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Commercial parties to a contract will always be concerned about any exclusion of liability contained in the contracts they enter into. The service or goods provider will be concerned about the liability they may incur in fulfilling their obligations under the contract, whilst the recipient of said services or goods will be concerned as to what extent their right to recover any loss suffered under the contract is restricted.  Geoffrey Sturgess, Company Commercial Consultant, here explains the reasons behind exclusion clauses and reviews recent case law. 

New Consumer Contract Regulations...what are the implications for business?

Torion Bowles
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Torion Bowles, solicitor within the Commercial Litigation and Dispute Resolution Team at Warner Goodman Commercial, examines the impact of the new Consumer Contract Regulations on traders and their businesses.

US Attorney joins Hampshire law firm

Steven Grant
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Unless you use our commercial department for your international commercial legal work, you may be unaware that it is a major part of our commercial practice, with no sign of slowing down.  It is for this reason that Jonathan Strassberg, a US, Scottish and UK joint qualified lawyer, has joined the team to help continue this expansion of our international caseload.

Private Investigator found guilty of "blagging"

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Barry Spencer, a private investigator and director of ICU Investigations Ltd has been found guilty of conspiring to unlawfully obtain personal data under section 55 of the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA).  Geoffrey Sturgess, Company Commercial Consultant, here reviews the case and the possible ramifications that lie ahead for those who use private investigators to retrieve personal data.

Landlords Secure Legal Victory over Games Station Ltd's Administrator

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Commercial landlords will have been following the case of Games Station Ltd, which reached the Court of Appeal recently (February 2014), but it is of interest to all who supply goods and/or services to companies that then go into administration.

Shares are a serious business

Steven Grant
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The majority of questions that come from shareholders focus around a few key areas; working with other shareholders in the business, your personal rights as a shareholder, and selling your shares.

Ownership does not always mean control.  The directors, rather than shareholders, have day to day control of the company’s affairs. 

New European regulation is set to boost individual data protection rights

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The globalisation of data processing and the increasing value of that information are key factors behind the planned changes to data protection legislation in European countries.  In offering greater safeguards for the rights of individuals in how their data is handled by companies, this is set to create new challenges for business. 

No remedy for pre-contract mis-representation

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The Court of Appeal has recently ruled that a contract clause denying one party the right to rescind the contract or seek damages for the other’s pre-contract mis-representation (false information given which induced the innocent party to enter into the contract) was enforceable in the circumstances of the case, explains Geoffrey Sturgess, Commercial Consultant.

Finance Bill 2014 means urgent review needed in tax status of LLP Members

Steven Grant
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The tax status of fixed share members in LLPs has been brought into sharp focus by the Finance Bill 2014 and the expected reclassification is set to affect many, explains Steven Grant, Head of the Commercial Group.

Unfair Prejudice

Steven Grant
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The Court of Appeal has given a timely reminder as to the fair treatment of minority shareholders.  Steve Grant, Head of Warner Goodman Commercial’s Department, evaluates a recent case in which a minority shareholder alleged that he had been mistreated by the company’s director and majority shareholder, and the implications of the case outcome for shareholders.

Sky v Microsoft trademark case instructive for smaller businesses

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Television company Sky has succeeded in forcing software giant Microsoft to drop its SkyDrive name for “cloud” digital storage services.  The case highlights the need for businesses to be cautious when it comes to new brand or service names, warns Geoffrey Sturgess, IP and commercial contracts solicitor at Hampshire based law firm Warner Goodman Commercial.

Emails not considered your property...so what?

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The surprising decision of the High Court (discussed below) has been overturned by the Court of Appeal, which found in favour of Fairstar and ordered Adkins to hand over the emails. The judges in the Court of Appeal believed that it was “unnecessary” to consider whether the emails were the property of Fairstar, as the High Court had done.

Contracting with Monsters

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The term “contracting with monsters” is not the subject of a procurement manager’s nightmares but in fact a description of the common experience of entering into a commercial agreement with another entity that is much, much, bigger than you.

A fool and his money are soon parted...or are they?

Brian Kirby
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Brian Kirby, Head of our Debt Recovery Team, considers whether there is a limitation period for enforcing a money judgment, and reviews recent cases to support the law.

Mounting Debt helps fuel Solent SME business sales market

Steven Grant
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Some owner managers who have kept their business afloat by lending their own money to the business have decided enough is enough and are looking to exit, states Steven Grant of Warner Goodman Commercial.  Coinciding with a general acceptance that the economy is unlikely to return to its former levels any time soon, debt burden has caused many SME business owners to rethink their strategy and for some, selling appears to be the most attractive option.

Be prepared before buying a business

Steven Grant
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Buying a business can be one of the most important decisions you make in your life, and there are many factors to consider before signing that final contract.  Here Steven Grant, Commercial Partner, covers the key questions you need to answer before committing to buying a business.

Franchising...is it for you?

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If you’re looking to set up your own business, it may be worth considering becoming a franchisee.  In the current economic climate, this may be a path worth exploring, explains Geoffrey Sturgess, a commercial lawyer at Hampshire based law firm Warner Goodman Commercial.