20 September 2017

Don’t panic about data protection! 9 tips to steer organisations in the right direction

Data protection is a hot topic at the moment.  Some organisations may be  ahead of the game and already implementing internally some of the changes that compliance with the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) requires. There will be others who have not quite turned their attention to this issue. If you haven’t yet thought about data protection issues in your organisation, now is a good time to start. 

19 July 2017

Patents: why design-arounds are now harder

A recent judgment of the Supreme Court (Eli Lilly v Actavis) has revisited the law on the scope of protection of patent claims.

Patent holders can be pleased that the decision has broadened the previous test, and they are now more likely to be able to stop competitors who have attempted to design-around their patents.

For those competitors, things are harder: the test requires not only a consideration of the literal scope of the claim of the patent but, even if it falls outside this scope, if your product uses functionally equivalent elements to those directly claimed, there is now a higher chance you will still infringe.

5 July 2017

Why you could be sued for making threats to sue

Patents, trade marks and designs are valuable intellectual property assets, and the temptation is to act first and think later if the value of those assets is put at risk.

However, while firing off a cease and desist letter to distributors and retailers of infringing products may seem like an obvious first line of defence, this strategy is not without its pitfalls.

20 January 2017

Three (employment law) predictions for 2017

Few would dispute that 2016 was a tumultuous year. The biggest news in the UK was surely June’s vote in favour of Brexit. Theresa May has indicated that Article 50 will be triggered in March, which will then start the formal process of the UK leaving the European Union. That may generate some of the bigger political headlines of the year, but as we have discussed previously triggering Article 50 is, in itself, unlikely lead to major changes in employment law.

That does not mean, however, that 2017 will be uneventful from an employment law/HR perspective. Prediction may be difficult, "especially if it is about the future" as Niels Bohr once said, but we can still make some educated guesses about what will be competing for our attention over the next 12 months.

24 November 2016

Plumb is the keyword: a fruity search advertising dispute

Buying a bath can be a confusing experience at the best of times. This isn't helped by the fact there are 2 bathroom retailers with very similar names: Victorian Plumbing and Victoria Plum, who have been co-existing since 2001.

To confuse things even further, towards the end of 2012 Victorian Plumbing started bidding heavily on the keywords "Victoria Plum" and "Victoria Plumb" as part of its search advertising campaign. As a result, users searching for "Victoria Plum(b)" were presented with ads linked to Victorian Plumbing's website, and which variously contained the words "Victorian Plumbing", "Victora Plum(b)", "Victoria Plumbing" and "Victorian Plumb".

14 November 2016

What does the Uber case tell us about the direction of travel in employment law?

It is not often that an Employment Tribunal decision makes headline news, but the recent Uber case was a noisy exception. As was widely reported, two Uber drivers brought a claim alleging that they are entitled to certain employment rights, including the national minimum wage and paid holidays. In its defence, Uber argued that it simply provides a technology platform (through which cabs can be booked) and that each of its drivers operates their own business, with the passengers as their customers. The drivers were therefore, said Uber, genuinely self-employed and not entitled to any employment rights.

13 October 2016

Lessons from the U.S. election - when an old story causes new trouble

The 2016 U.S. presidential election has been like no other. Donald Trump has been embroiled in a series of controversies each of which might have been expected to derail other campaigns. Most of these have arisen from things Trump has said or done during the course of the campaign. But the latest, and most serious, relates to a private conversation that took place in 2005.