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From time to time we will post news articles and announcements relating to the firm and to various legal issues that may be of interest to you.

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Recent blog posts

Casino Wins In Supreme Court Dispute

Phil Ivey, 10 times winner of the World Series Of Poker and one of the world’s best known professional gamblers, has
recently lost his bid to recover £7.7m in winnings from a game of Punto Banco (a Casino card game based on baccarat) that
took place in 2012 at Crockfords Club in London.

The Brexit effect – looming problems with patent and intellectual property law

German intellectual property lawyer Ingve Stjerna has succeeded in a court action which effectively puts the European patent regime on hold, having described the UK’s desire to remain a member of the new system – the Unified Patent Court (UPC) - as ‘astonishing’.

Contracts, Business and Alcohol – not always a good mix

Mike Ashley, Sports Direct boss and owner of Newcastle United football club, emerged victorious from a recent £15m High Court case over an alleged deal made in a pub.

Investment banker Jeffrey Blue claimed that he and Ashley had agreed a verbal contract which would see Blue be entitled to a bonus based on the share price performance of retail giant Sports Direct.  Whilst Ashley admitted to making the offer, the very nature of the meeting, its setting (in a Pub) and the large amount of alcohol consumed, meant that it was quite clear that he wasn’t being serious.

F1 celebrity Eddie Jordan to pay indemnity costs

The recent High Court ruling in the phone hacking related case Jordan v MGN Ltd has highlighted the importance of making serious attempts to settle a case as early as possible in the action.

Jordan , 69, a former F1 team boss and current Channel 4 pundit, was involved in  the careers of many F1 World Champions including Michael Schumacher & Damon Hill.

Britains Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) has blocked a class action lawsuit against credit card company Mastercard. The class action – which would have been one of the most complex such cases in British legal history – was based on allegations that the credit card giant had, over a 16 year period, overcharged over 40 million people in Britain alone.

Access to Justice – online and simple better than none at all

At a recent and wide ranging speech in London, Supreme Court President Lord Neuberger was critical of a range of civil justice and litigation issues including ‘wrong turns’ taken in civil legal aid (or more importantly, lack of civil legal aid) and also the need for “quick and dirty” online dispute resolution (ODR) as at least a workable alternative to either “no justice or absurdly over-priced justice”.

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One of the realities of business life is that disputes will happen, be they with suppliers, contractors, customers or regulators. Whilst litigation and ‘going to court’ may well be your only realistic course of action to resolve business disputes, it can be a costly and time consuming process.  To minimise the need for such legal action in the first place, here are our top 5 business best practice tips suitable for businesses of all sizes.

31 August to 4 September 2015 is UK-China Copyright Week, when UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) representatives together with official from the UK's leading creative firms travel to China (Beijing, Hangzhou and Shanghai) to work with the National Copyright Administration of China (NCAC).

The UK's delegation is being lead by Dr Ros Lynch, who is the UK IPO's Director of Copyright and Enforcement.

The aim of the seven-day high profile international event is to allow dialogue between business, policymakers and government from both countries.

Those found guilty of commercial-scale online copyright infringement may soon face much longer jail terms.

Currently, the offence is only punishable by a maximum jail term of two years but the government in the United Kingdom (UK) has launched a consultation on plans to increase the maximum sentence to ten years.

The proposals, which will increase the sanctions for those who infringe the rights of copyright holders for large-scale financial gain, are designed to ensure the sanctions online copyright offences better match those relating to the copyright infringement of physical goods.

The Law Society of England has reacted to further increases to court fees, which were very recently announced by the UK government, by claiming the move is a 'a further assault on access to justice for individuals and small businesses'.

While the government increased the maximum court fee, which is payable by a claimant to £10,000 in March 2015 – they are now proposing to double this amount to 'at least' £20,000.

Insolvency trade body m R3, has called on the UK Government to reform the collective redundancy process in insolvencies, requesting, in particular, clearer Government as well as change to 'protective award' compensation regime, which means that the taxpayer covers the costs of incomplete redundancy consultations.

Currently insolvent businesses must undertake a 45-day redundancy consultation, when alternatives are to be discussed. This requirement is not practical however, as companies, which are insolvent, often cannot afford to comply – despite wanting to do so.

Electronics payments (i.e. BACS) are now the method of choice for UK SMEs, according to the Close Brothers Business Barometer.

The quarterly study, which gathers opinions from owners/managers across the UK and Ireland, shows that sixty five per cent (65%) of SMEs have stopped using cheques in the last five years; instead making use of electronic payment methods.

Insolvency body, R3's Business Distress Index, shows that 24 per cent of businesses are 'distressed' – which is a record low.

According to a recent study undertaken by BDRC Continental on behalf of R3 - the UK's insolvency trade body – since January 2015, businesses across the nation have had to deal with approximately 16 per cent of their issued invoices being paid late, while 50 per cent of UK-based enterprises have had invoices paid late over the same period.

This trend is concerning signed a separate R3 study showed that late payment is a major contributory factor when it comes to the number of corporate insolvencies.

The highest UK court – namely the UK Supreme Court – has reaffirmed the territorial nature of 'goodwill' in relation to 'passing off ' actions.

A Passing off action is a common law method of intellectual property enforcement that can be used to prevent the unauthorised use of a mark, which is similar to another's registered or unregistered trademark.

Starbucks and PCCW, who provide internet TV services in Hong Kong under the name NOW TV, were unhappy when SKY announced a plan to launch their own internet TV service of the same name.

The number of corporate insolvencies in England and Wales have dropped to the lowest level since the last quarter of 2007 with 4,052 companies entering into formal insolvency in the first quarter of 2015, which is one per cent less than the last quarter of 2014 and 11 per cent lower than in the same quarter in 2014.

Creditors' voluntary liquidations are also at their lowest since the summer of 2008 with 2,481 companies entering into a creditor's voluntary liquidation 2015 Q1 - six per cent less than 2014 Q1.

The UK Government has unveiled new measures, which if approved, would force large companies across the country to disclose their payment practices twice every year.

Unfair payment practices, can cause creditors financial problems - which may lead to insolvency events.

UK personal insolvency rates have found to be highest in towns, which are located in northern England, according to new data recently published by credit reference agency Experian.

The research shows that 19 out of the 30 towns with the highest rates of insolvency are situated in either Northern England or Northern Wales.

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), which regulates solicitors in England and Wales, will cease to regulate insolvency practitioners (IPs) as of November 2015.

The decision is somewhat controversial given that the SRA appears to have ignored the opinions of most respondents to its consultation on the topic.

Posted by on in Litigation Funding

Apple have been fine circa £350 million for three patents relating to iTunes - the media player, library and mobile device management application.

Subject to an appeal, which is likely, the iTunes creators will now have to pay $530 million (£342 million) to Smartflash after a Texas jury concluded that Apple copied Smartflash’s patent (at least in part) and should pay for damages for such wrongdoing.

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Latest News

  • Casino Wins In Supreme Court Dispute Phil Ivey, 10 times winner of the World Series Of Poker and one of the world’s best known professional gamblers, has recently lost his bid to recover £7.7m in winnings from a game of Punto Banco (a Casino card game based on baccarat) that took place in 2012 at Crockfords Club in London. Read More

  • The Brexit effect – looming problems with patent and intellectual property law German intellectual property lawyer Ingve Stjerna has succeeded in a court action which effectively puts the European patent regime on hold, having described the UK’s desire to remain a member of the new system – the Unified Patent Court (UPC) - as ‘astonishing’. Read More

  • Contracts, Business and Alcohol – not always a good mix Mike Ashley, Sports Direct boss and owner of Newcastle United football club, emerged victorious from a recent £15m High Court case over an alleged deal made in a pub. Investment banker Jeffrey Blue claimed that he and Ashley had agreed a verbal contract which would see Blue be entitled to a bonus based on the share price performance of retail giant Sports Direct.  Whilst Ashley admitted to making the offer, the very nature of the meeting, its setting (in a Pub) and the large amount of alcohol consumed, meant that it was quite clear that he wasn’t being serious. Read More