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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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Trade marks – lack of use

All registered trade marks must be put to genuine commercial use within a defined period from the registration date (usually three or five years). If this has not happened, and there is no good reason to explain the lack of use, the registration becomes vulnerable to non-use cancellation by a third party. Such cancellation can be total or partial, depending on the extent of use.

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Unfair prejudice – no dividend?

’Unfair prejudice’ claims by minority shareholders are notoriously difficult to win. But, a recent case illustrates that the courts are prepared to intervene if necessary.

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Articles – wrongly filed

What happens if the wrong version of a company’s articles is filed at Companies House?

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Insolvency Rules – changes

Insolvency Rules 2016 came into force on 6 April 2017. They apply to all liquidations, CVAs, bankruptcies, debt relief orders, and individual insolvency arrangements – whenever commenced. In large part, it is a consolidation exercise but there are some changes to note:

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Website blocking – IP

It has long been accepted that website blocking orders can be made in the UK in copyright infringement cases (CDPA 1998 provides for this). But, the position has been less clear in respect of trade mark infringements.

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Jurisdiction – asymmetric clause

Asymmetric jurisdiction clauses are common in international finance agreements. Such clauses will usually require the borrower to bring proceedings in a specified jurisdiction, while allowing the lender to bring proceedings in any jurisdiction.

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Supplier payment – reporting

 The Reporting on Payment Practice and Performance Regs 2017 will require some UK companies to publish, on a government website, how long they take to pay their suppliers.

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Bankruptcy – HP vehicle

The CA has confirmed that a bankrupt photographer was not able to purchase his car back from the HP company as a ‘tool of the trade’ (s283 IA 1986). This decision confirms the approach currently taken by most trustees – to allow HP companies to take vehicles and sell them (realising the equity in the agreement, or more likely giving rise to an unsecured debt provable in bankruptcy).

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Misrepresentation – exclusion?

Can an online publication from a non-contracting third party be an actionable misrepresentation? The CA has confirmed it can.

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