Home > Legal Opinions from December 2010


  • Generic chocolate (Lindt) reindeer anyone?

    Paula Dumbill

    The General Court of the European Union has dismissed Lindt’s appeal against the examiner’s decision refusing registration of its 3D reindeer, bunny and bell as Community trade marks. Storck’s chocolate mice also suffered the same fate. Why? Such shapes are devoid of distinctive character as they are the typical chocolate-shaped goods that one finds in […]

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  • Bribery Act – SFO volunteers guidance on corporate hospitality

    Fiona Carter

    The upcoming implementation of the Bribery Act 2010 next year continues to be a major concern for UK businesses, but with Christmas approaching the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has offered some extra help. The question on the lips of every UK company is “how will corporate hospitality be dealt with under the new legislation?” The […]

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  • Coming soon to a television near you

    Fiona Carter

    Ofcom has confirmed that from 28 February 2011, paid for references for products and services will be permitted in UK TV programmes. The new rules can be found in a revised section nine to the broadcast code and includes restrictions on the types of product that can be placed, the types of programmes in which […]

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  • ‘Inclusion’ results in ‘exclusion’ for pup...

    Mark Blois

    It has been revealed that over 70% of excluded pupils have some form of special educational needs. The official figures were revealed in a response to a parliamentary question by Charlotte Leslie, the Conservative MP who sits on the Commons Education Select Committee. Out of those excluded, 44% are on ‘school action plus’ (which is […]

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  • NHS Reforms: What‘s the latest on the Estate?

    Mick Suggett

    The Department of Health has recently released two important papers; the 2011 NHS Operating Framework and the PCT Allocation. Together these two papers show how the Government is developing it’s thought process after responses to the White Paper and indicates what the NHS should do to deliver a patient centred service in the future. Interestingly […]

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  • Opening the floodgates for old equal pay claims

    Peter Jones

    Generally speaking, an equal pay claim in an employment tribunal must be brought within six months of the end of employment. Last Friday a High Court judge has held that such claims may also be pursued in the courts, where a time limit of six years applies. In Abdulla v Birmingham City Council 174 female […]

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  • Santa clause does not exist!!!

    Fiona Carter

    The ASA has recently reminded us that Santa Claus most definitely does not exist. Or rather, as those keen eyed readers will notice from the title, that a Santa clause does not exist, as part of the Advertising Codes. The ASA has reported that every year at the time of glad tidings, mince pies, carols, […]

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  • Score draw in L’Oreal v eBay trade mark case

    Emma Tuck

    The Advocate General (AG) has given his opinion on questions referred by the High Court in the trade mark litigation between L’Oreal and eBay. L’Oreal argued that in using L’Oreal’s trade marks, eBay (in some cases) directed its customers to infringing goods and that it was involved in the infringements of sellers using its online […]

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  • Cheaper EU patent protection, but at a cost?

    Emma Tuck

    National validation and translation costs currently make the cost of obtaining a patent in Europe around ten times as expensive as obtaining a patent in the USA. In the absence of agreement on proposals for a single EU patent, and in a bid to make the application process cheaper, the European Commission this week presented […]

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  • Localism Bill imposes ‘unfair’ EU fines on local autho...

    Dominic Swift

    The newly proposed Localism Bill contains in it a general power for the Secretary of State to order councils to contribute to the UK’s obligation to pay an EU fine, if an act or omission of the council can be shown to have contributed to the fine being imposed. The EU Treaty clearly specifies that […]

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  • Affordable justice for environmental cases?

    Richard Barlow

    The supreme court has cleared the way for the European Court of Justice (ECJ) to cut the cost of environmental litigation. In line with the doctrine that environmental litigation must not be ‘prohibitively expensive’ under Article 9 of the Aarhus Convention, the supreme court appeal committee ruled that the decision to refuse a claimant a […]

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  • Will national standards be sticks to beat social workers with?

    Sarah Erwin-Jones

    The Social Work Reform Board has set out what is expected of social workers at every stage of their career in the profession’s first ever proposed national standards framework, set out in its report, Building a Safe and Confident Future: One Year On Once in place these standards will be relied on in professional negligence […]

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  • Academies and VAT recovery – new powers

    Andrew Noble

    On 9 December 2010, HM Treasury announced that from 1 April 2011 Academy schools should be put on the same footing as local authority maintained schools, in terms of their ability to recover VAT from HM Revenue & Customs in certain situations. The announcement focuses on Academies recovering VAT which they incur on incoming supplies […]

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  • Localism Bill – can we afford to give power to the people

    Christian Webb-Jenkins

    The Localism Bill was unveiled yesterday on the day that each local authority learnt how much less grant it will receive over the next four years from central government. The big theme of the Localism Bill is a transfer of power from centre to regions. Some powers will travel all the way to the individual. […]

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  • The Right to an Audience?

    Hannah Rice

    In the recent case of K Mehta v Child Support Agency the EAT has provided guidance on reading witness statements aloud in employment tribunals, suggesting no value is added by the practice and that it wastes tribunal time. An odd procedure, those more familiar with civil courts may think. But what exactly are the pros […]

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  • Over-hyped promises fall flat as budget and premium take a downturn

    Katie Michelon

    The government have announced that, contrary to previous statements, the education budget will not rise in real terms over the next 4 years due to changes to the forecast of inflation. They have also announced that the pupil premium will be £430 per pupil whose family earns less than £16,000. Not only is this significantly […]

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  • Courts sympathetic to council budget pressures

    Jonathan Cook

    A recent Court of Appeal judgement suggests courts will consider the economic restrictions placed on local authorities before deciding if there has been a breach under Section 41 of the Highways Act. In Ali v The City of Bradford & Metropolitan District Council the Court found that there was no such provision to extend the […]

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  • Room at the inn for a photographer?

    Christian Webb-Jenkins

    Can you take photos of your child performing in the school nativity production? It comes as no surprise that people are confused. The law in this area is difficult and complex. This leads to defensive practice. If you say “no”, the risk of breaching the law is removed. However, knee-jerk refusals cause damage themselves. As […]

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  • A beginner’s guide to becoming more abusive

    Ryan Harrison

    Nominet recently considered whether an initially non-abusive domain name registration might become abusive through its later use. In this case Daniel Stubbs registered a number of spread betting related domain names including worldspreads.co.uk for the purposes of making money through affiliate marketing. The website at the domain initially contained links to generic shopping websites. WorldSpreads, […]

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  • An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind

    Oliver Sweeney

    Online freedom of speech activists continue to campaign against companies that have declined to do business with WikiLeaks. Companies such as Mastercard and Visa have said that WikiLeaks failed to comply with their terms and conditions. Activists feel that these companies have in fact bowed to anti-WikiLeaks pressure. The LOIC bot tool, through which distributed […]

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