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Debt – winding up

A company’s liquidator can potentially recover any of the company’s property that is transferred after the date on which a winding-up petition is issued. Section 127 IA 1986 makes any disposition of property (eg money) void if it is done after the issue of the winding-up petition.

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Exclusion clause – ‘business common sense’

Ove Arup gave advice on a development site, including advice on asbestos contamination. After purchase, substantial asbestos was found and the developer sued Ove Arup. They, in turn, relied upon an exclusion clause which limited liability for pollution and contamination to £5m. Liability for asbestos was specifically excluded.

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Luxury brands – online sales

Luxury brands do all they can to preserve the exclusiveness of their products. Thus, they try to prevent them being sold online (especially through retailers such as eBay and Amazon). But, to what extent are such policies anti-competitive?

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Trade mark – ‘Special K’

In Australia, Kellogg’s has taken action against wild-boy tennis player Thanasi Kokkinakis who is widely known as ‘Special K’. Since Kokkinakis has started using that nickname in his branding, Kellogg’s says it is merely protecting its registered trade mark.

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Chattel as security – bill of sale

A bill of sale is a useful way of taking security against high-value moveable items (eg luxury cars, artworks). A bill of sale is a non-possessory form of security (ie the lender does not take possession of the asset), which has the advantage of being registerable under the Bills of Sale Acts 1878 and 1882. But, a form prescribed by the Acts must be followed, and the bill must be registered within strict time periods (with any variations and amendments also being registered). In addition, the bill of sale must be re-registered every five years. Failure to comply with the strict rules results in the security becoming invalid.

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Insolvency rules – concerns

One would hardly expect a new set of insolvency rules to be regarded as controversial. However, there are two aspects of the new IR to have caused consternation among practitioners: 

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Airline flights – delay

The Denied Boarding Regs give compensation to passengers who arrive late if the flight departs from an EU airport. 

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Tax – ‘reasonable excuse’

Two contrasting cases on whether a taxpayer had ‘reasonable excuse’ for not paying tax due:

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Dawn raids – preparation

These are some tips from DLA Piper for companies subject to a dawn raid:

Ask the company’s corporate lawyers to attend immediately. In the meantime, ask that the officials wait until the lawyers arrive, and assure them that you are going to be co-operative. Officials will usually wait for a reasonable amount of time before they begin their search (but if they do start the search, then do not interfere).

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IP – threats

Threatening proceedings for IP infringements can backfire. As far as patents, trade marks and designs are concerned, action can be taken against a threat-maker by a person aggrieved by the threat (who may not necessarily be the person directly threatened with proceedings). Not only does this expose the IP right-holder to the risk of damages, it also turns the potential claimant into a defendant – with the resulting reversal of burden of proof (requiring the IP-holder to prove the validity of the rights which it originally asserted).

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