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.

29 September 2016

14 negotiation hacks to close deals faster and cheaper

Most commercial lawyers like a good contract negotiation. It gets us out of the office and doing what we do best.

After a while though, when the novelty wears off, ongoing negotiations can often become frustrating, bad tempered and, crucially, way too expensive.

So if ‘getting to yes’ quickly, effectively and efficiently is more your thing than debating the hypothetical nuances of convoluted legal drafting, each of these fourteen hacks could serve you well.

21 September 2016

Outsourcing - innovation, risk and opportunity

“Innovate or die”. We’ve all heard it, nobody seems to know who first coined it, but everyone understands it. Our businesses must constantly be better, cheaper and faster or inevitably, we’ll be overtaken by our competitors (à la Kodak, Blockbuster, and the entire motor industry if it doesn’t keep up with Google and Über). 

12 July 2016

My nine-year-old lawyer

You’re sitting in the vast reception of an expensive, upmarket law firm, sipping your perfect cappuccino and scanning your email (again), when you look up to find yourself literally eye-to-eye with a smiley four and a half feet tall nine-year-old girl in a surprisingly tailored business suit. She politely introduces herself as Zoë, and she's your lawyer.

Do you buy it, or do you beat a hasty retreat to the exit?

28 June 2016

After Brexit: Part 2 - what next for IP and data protection?

We are now post referendum and, barring minor miracles, Brexit seems inevitable. But while the exact status of the UK's post-Brexit relationship with the EU is yet to be determined, a consensus is emerging about the impact on intellectual property and data protection law.

27 June 2016

After Brexit – what next for employment law?

Vast numbers of column inches have already been devoted to the recent vote in favour of the UK leaving the European Union. Many of these column inches have focused on the political and economic fallout from the vote. At some stage, however, the gnashing of teeth has to stop and the practical consequences have to be considered. 

26 May 2016

Chelsea's Mourinho trade marks - a special brand

As a dedicated follower of both football and IP, I was intrigued by yesterday's reports that a deal between Man United and Mourinho was being held up over "image rights" owned by Chelsea.

This merited further investigation. It turns out that Chelsea have an extensive portfolio of some 175 live trade marks. These include FERNANDO TORRES and TORRES (but not COSTA or HAZARD), ABRAMOVICH, CHELSKI, and ANCELOTTI (but not HIDDINK).

20 May 2016

Why class is NOT permanent for European Union Trade Marks

We previewed changes to the European Union trade mark regime earlier this year in a previous post.  

Since 23 March 2016 Community Trade Marks have been known as European Union Trade Marks, or EU Trade Marks for short. On the same date, changes to the classification of goods and services protected by EU Trade Marks were also enshrined in law.

18 May 2016

Stayin' alive - keeping that planning permission alive

You’ve spent months, sometimes years, and paid considerable application, professional and other fees, negotiating and obtaining your valuable planning consent for your land. The judicial review challenge period has now passed. Congratulations! It is understandable why at this stage developers often breathe a sigh of relief. However, if you are not intending to dispose the land at this stage, now is not the time to relax fully. This blog explains why not, and ultimately how to get there. 

8 February 2016

Whither the red tape challenge? Whistleblowing, illegal workers and other developments to watch out for in 2016

Remember the red tape challenge? It was a Government initiative which was intended to reduce the regulatory burden on businesses.

The exercise appears not to have been an unqualified success. A report in the Financial Times published towards the end of the last Government's time in office suggested that whilst the Government had removed £1.2bn worth of regulation since 2010, it had added £4.3bn of new regulation. Against that backdrop, it is perhaps unsurprising that 2016 looks like being another busy year for HR professionals. We discuss below some of the key upcoming changes.

12 January 2016

Pseudonymise this! The General Data Protection Regulation and what it means for you

After years of negotiations, reforms to EU data protection laws have finally been agreed by the European Parliament, Council and Commission, with the changes likely to be implemented by 2018.

According to the European Commission, the reform package will "make Europe fit for the digital age" and "put an end to the patchwork of data protection rules that currently exists in the EU".

7 January 2016

New Year, new trade mark rules

What were your New Year's resolutions? While the rest of us have been mulling over healthier lifestyles or ambitious life goals, Europe's legislature has been focusing on the more mundane topic of trade marks.

The European Parliament has recently approved a package of reforms with the proud boast that registering trade marks will become cheaper, quicker and more reliable.