Latest News

The spirit of adventure - Sir Ranulph Fiennes licensing deal

Birkett Long was recently tasked structuring a licensing deal with Sir Ranulph Fiennes for the purposes of producing high quality Rum. The resulting rum is called ‘Sir Ranulph Fiennes’ Great British Rum’ and is available at ...

In the pink: colour marks & overreaching rights holders

Birkett Long regularly makes European Community Trade Mark applications. Recently, a couple of those applications concerned icons and slogans in a distinctive shade of pink.   Our client, which is a global leader in computer software and gaming,...

COVID-19 : The response of Intellectual Property Offices

As the coronavirus epidemic sweeps across the World, the Intellectual Property Offices (IPOs) of different countries have been quick to respond and support clients: The UK IPO has issued a notice stating that 24 March 2020 and the subsequent period are...

Compulsory licences - demand meeting supply for patented products

Extraordinary times often call for extraordinary measures, and there is no more extraordinary time than that of the present. COVID-19 is leading to shortages of all manner of products, not least consumer articles such as hand sanitiser, pasta and toilet...

Business disposal and Intellectual Property Rights

There are many different Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) that a business or business owner may own. For example, there may be copyright in written and artistic works, the business name and/or the names of particular goods or services could be protected...

Intellectual Property Department recruits patent attorney

Chris Burnett has joined Birkett Long’s new Intellectual Property team as a patent attorney, where he will be advising on patent and trademark matters. His role involves advising in relation to every intellectual property right, from patents and...

Websites, cookies and data protection

Many online business owners ask me about the significance of “cookies”. They question the need for a Cookies Policy for their website. If you are one of them, the following might provide some assistance. Cookies are text files which contain...

Online platforms - promoting fairness and transparency

If you are running online intermediation services or if you are a user of online intermediation services, this article is for you. A new European Regulation, which will become enforceable in 2020, has been adopted by the Economic and Financial Affairs...

Introducing the Birkett Long Intellectual Property Department

Jonathan Perlmutter has recently joined Birkett Long as Head of Intellectual Property, having spent nearly 13 years at a firm of patent and trade mark attorneys, latterly heading up their London operations. Jonathan and his team provide us with the ability...

E-commerce essentials

The number of online businesses is growing at an ever-increasing pace. This has led to a multitude of legal, regulatory and transparency requirements. I am often asked to review commercial contracts and notices for online businesses. Mostly, information...

Look Before You Leap With Trade Names

The first Intellectual Property Enterprise Court case heard outside London took place recently , when the court sat in Birmingham at the request of both parties involved in the dispute. It concerned an allegation of improper use of a registered trade mark...

This Is Why You Need Professional Support to Protect Your Trade Marks

The validity of trade marks can be challenged post-registration and that is one good reason why it is essential to enlist professional support in protecting them. In a case on point , the Cypriot authorities had their own disorganisation to blame after they...

Trade Marks and the Territorial Limits on the High Court's Jurisdiction

UK and EU trade marks are a highly effective means of protecting your brand – but they are subject to territorial limits. The High Court made that point in ruling that it had no power to entertain infringement proceedings brought by British airline...

ICO Publishes Technology Strategy for Next Three Years

One of the more interesting aspects of the new Technology Strategy document published by the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) is that it specifically identifies Artificial Intelligence as a data protection risk to individuals and concludes that...

Small Business Data Protection Law Compliance Checklist

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) publishes a great deal of useful information for all organisations on data protection and compliance with data protection law. The ICO has recently updated its guidance on exemptions from some of the rights...

Confidential Information Leakage Stopped by Injunction

One of the biggest dangers when a senior employee leaves an organisation is the ease with which they can spirit away confidential information of importance to the business. Data is a critical asset for many businesses, and as well as the sanctions which may...

High Court Stamps on Illicit Live Streaming of Boxing Matches Online

Unauthorised online streaming of major sporting events, depriving organisers of their legitimate revenues, is ever on the increase. However, as a case in which the High Court came to the aid of a boxing match promoter showed, the law is far from powerless...

Failure to Have a Social Media Policy Can be Costly

Firms that do not have a social media policy in place should give consideration to introducing one and taking steps to make it part of the terms and conditions of employment for all staff members. Use of the Internet during working hours can be a...

'No Deal' Brexit - Guidance on Geographical Descriptions of Food and Drink

The Government has commenced issuing a series of guidance notes on how to proceed in the event that a 'no deal' Brexit occurs. Whilst the guidance does not have the status of law and will be replaced by legislation as soon as practicable if...

Debranded Goods Still Protected by Trade Mark Law

Products sell for widely differing prices in different national markets and that creates the opportunity for goods to be transferred from a low-price market to a higher-price one – a practice known as 'grey importing'. This can undermine the...

New Guidance on Transfers of Data Abroad

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has issued new guidance on compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) for organisations that transfer data out of the UK. Because the GDPR protects only data within the EU, it restricts...

£500,000 or £1 Billion? It's Just a Matter of Timing

The recent £500,000 fine for Facebook regarding the transfer of data to Cambridge Analytica was widely criticised as being inadequate (Facebook makes roughly £3.5 million per hour) but it should not be forgotten that the fine was the maximum...

Unitary Patent

Obtaining a patent can be a rather arduous process, and it is therefore not surprising that sometimes thought is not given to the breadth of patent protection that is needed. The Unitary Patent (UP) is intended to solve the problem of having to undertake...

Greetings Cards Company Pays Price for Copyright Infringements

It is only right that those who make commercial use of others' creative ideas without permission should be hit hard in the pocket. Exactly that happened in a High Court case in which a greetings cards company was found to have serially infringed...

Data Protection Latest

You'd have to be living on Mars not to know that the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is now in force. Its strict provisions must be complied with (the penalties for failing are swingeing) and it is practically impossible to run any organisation...

Software Company Fails to Lock Out Customer

One aspect of intellectual property (IP) rights that is often not given much thought, but which can be extremely important indeed, is what happens when a licence to use comes to an end. Much computer technology is supplied by licence (it is quite rare for...

Agency Law Gives No Recourse to Dumped Software Reseller

Under law which originated in the EU, agents of firms have considerable protection if their agency is terminated, and can normally be compensated. This reflects the commercial reality that agents frequently make a considerable investment in time and money in...

GDPR - ICO Launches Awareness Campaign for Micro-Businesses

The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) replaces the Data Protection Act 1998 and comes into force on 25 May 2018. The new law gives individuals more control over how their data is used, shared and stored and requires organisations to be more...

Words, Not Intention, Determine Meaning of Contract

When disputes arise over the meaning of a contract, it is usual for the court to look first at what the wording of the contract means and then at the commercial logic of that wording. In a recent case , the dispute essentially turned on whether two...

Copyright Law Still Applies on the Web

The idea that the Internet is a free-for-all is nothing more than a persistent myth and the consequences of publishing copyright material online without permission can be severe. In one case, a television news broadcaster found itself in hot water after...

Morrisons Held Vicariously Liable for Rogue Employee's Data Leak

In a workplace context, an employer can be found liable for the acts or omissions of its employees, provided it can be shown that they took place in the course of their employment – i.e. where there is sufficient connection between the employee's...

E-Signature Consultation

Under the Law Commissions Act 1965 , the Law Commission is required to submit programmes of law reform to the Lord Chancellor. The latest topics put forward for consideration include a review of the use of 'e-signatures'. These are becoming...

Copyright Claim Success Does Not Necessarily Mean Victory

When a man copied part of a photograph (showing the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas's head) from a website, he probably had the commonly held (but incorrect) view that because the picture was visible on the Internet, reproduction of it would not constitute a...

More than just small print?

Websites offer a fantastic tool that no businesses can afford to ignore.  Set up correctly and maintained well, a website can reach a wide – even global – marketplace and give customers quick and easy access to the products and services they...

Why register your brand

Your brand and reputation are significant business assets that are key to keeping ahead of your competitors and developing your market perspective. When it comes to preventing another business from using or copying your brand, whether or not you have...

Customer Details Email Leads to Fine for Ex-Employee

When an employee left her recruitment agency employer, she took the dubious step of emailing to her private email address the personal data of about 100 of her clients and contacts. She subsequently used the data to contact them in connection with her new...

How to deal with Restrictive Covenants

Whether you are considering building a new extension, a single house or developing a large site for multiple properties, best practice is to first check the deeds of the property for restrictive covenants.  Restrictive covenants may appear on the legal...

Brexit's affect on UK laws - business as usual!

Whilst the government has suffered the recent set back of loosing a court case requiring parliament to vote on the triggering of Article 50 it remains committed to starting the process of leaving the EU by no later than the 31 March 2017. But what does this...

Brexit's effect on UK laws - business as usual!

Whilst the government has suffered the recent set back of loosing a court case requiring parliament to vote on the triggering of Article 50 it remains committed to starting the process of leaving the EU by no later than the 31 March 2017. But what does this...

EU General Data Protection Regulation

In the UK, the Data Protection Act 1998 sets out the principles of data protection in compliance with European legislation. The more recent approval of the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has imposed some changes on the operation of UK data...

Protecting your Intellectual Property Rights post Brexit

Birkett Long’s Intellectual Property expert says that the legal safeguards businesses have used to protect trademarks and design rights in the UK might not be valid when the exit from the European Union becomes a reality. He says the way businesses...

Protecting your Intellectual Property Rights post Brexit

Legal safeguards businesses have put in place to protect their trademarks and design rights in the UK may not be valid when we officially exit the European Union. Birkett Long says if you used a European-wide right to protect your IP it will no longer be...

Brexit - what does it mean for intellectual property owners?

Britain leaving the European Union will not have any effect on domestic national intellectual property rights, such as trade marks, registered designs, patents and copyright, but many UK businesses that previously considered registering intellectual...

Do you own your website?

At Birkett Long we regularly advise clients who have become embroiled in disputes over the ownership of their website. Unfortunately, people believe that because they paid for the website, they own it. This is not always the case. Copyright and other...

Premises: perils and opportunities

Whatever your health-related or social care business or undertaking, your premises may give you the opportunity of revenue from sharing or subletting space to other occupiers.  This can provide useful and in some cases vital income streams. ...

The New Intellectual Property Act 2014 strengthens rights for UK Businesses

The new Intellectual Property Act came into force in October 2014 and will help businesses in the UK better protect their intellectual property rights both here and abroad. The Act modernises the existing laws relating to designs and patents and has...

What is an Agent?

We often find that clients are confused about what constitutes an agent. Essentially, an agent is an intermediary involved in the making of a contract between one party, known as the principal and that principal's customer. Under English law, an agent...

Cloud computing - draft EU data protection regulations create hazy horizons

Cloud Computing Service Providers ( CSPs ) have altered the way in which data is stored, transferred and accessed on a global scale and the number of CSPs is on the rise.  Cloud computing is the delivery of information technology services through a...

How can I register copyright?

This is a question we get asked all the time. The short answer is that you can’t. There is no official registration system for copyright. It subsists automatically in all sorts of written and recorded materials from software and the internet to...

Can I register my company name as a trade mark?

This is a question that we often get asked and, whilst it may be possible, we find that many businesses fail to appreciate that registration of your company with Companies House does not automatically mean you will be able to register your company name as a...

Intellectual property - how will you protect yours?

Imitation, it is said, is the sincerest form of flattery; but when it comes to business, this is not always the case.  If someone copies your product and makes a profit, not only have they unfairly benefitted from your enterprise and reputation, they...

Is your website compliant?

In today’s electronic age the vast majority of businesses have a website. Some trade using it while others just use it as a means of advertising (a “brochure” site). What many businesses do not do have is a website that is fully compliant...

Your data or mine?

The recent case of Beechwood House Publishing v Guardian Products Limited & Precision Direct Marketing Limited has provided two valuable lessons.  Firstly, a clear warning to any person or organisation planning to make use of a database in a manner...

Data Protection Act review likely to put increased administrative burden on business

The EU's data protection regime is currently set out in Directive 95/46/EC, which was implemented in the UK by the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA).  Technological developments and globalisation since the Directive led the European Commission to...

If only I'd put a Retention of Title clause in my terms and conditions...

It’s all too common a situation – especially during an economic downturn - Seller delivers good to Buyer along with an invoice, payable within 30 days, Buyer becomes insolvent so Seller joins the ranks of all other unsecured creditors and will be...

Health and Social Care Act 2012

On 27 March 2012, the Health and Social Care Bill 2010-12 received Royal Assent to become the Health and Social Care Act 2012 (“Act”). Key reforms under the Act include the introduction of clinical commissioning groups with responsibility for...

Care sector appoints red tape champion

The Care Providers’ Alliance, a coalition of a range of the care sector’s representative bodies, has appointed Dame Denise Platt as its Red Tape Champion. Dame Denise, who has unrivalled experience of the care sector and is respected by both the...

Why are lasting powers of attorney so important for care home residents?

Running a care home can be stressful - managing budgets and administration, keeping residents and their families happy and ensuring consistent ongoing care and support.  This burden increases when a resident has an accident, becomes unwell or loses...

Your business property. It does not have to cost the earth

David Rayner, partner from Birkett Long’s Commercial Property Team discusses the “big themes” that are likely to affect commercial premises during 2012. From the perspective of both landlords/investors on the one hand and tenants/occupiers...

The Information Commissioner's Office shows its bite has teeth!

Many of us using email as a regular means of correspondence are aware of just how easy it is to send an email to the wrong person, particularly where we have a number of contacts with the same or similar names. Whether on a professional or personal level,...

Government plans to modernise intellectual property law

At the end of 2010, the Government commissioned an independent review into how the Intellectual Property system could better support and drive business growth. The review was published in May 2011 and made ten recommendations. Among the recommendations were...

Copyright - is your business adequately protected?

Copyright protection rewards authors for the creation of original works. Copyright is intended to protect the method of expressing ideas, and not the actual ideas themselves. “Works” are considered under the main headings of: literary works...

Protecting intellectual property

The politicians all agree: a key lesson from the credit crisis is that we need to re-balance the British economy and that harnessing new ideas and new ways of doing things will be a major part of that exercise. At Birkett Long, we see encouraging signs that...

"Cookies" - avoid the monster

The Information Commissioner has given organisations and businesses that run websites aimed at UK consumers up to 12 months to ‘get their house in order’ before enforcement of a new EU “cookies” law. A “cookie” is a...

Copyright - You can sell it and get it back!

The Court of Appeal recently confirmed that it is possible for songwriters to sell the copyright in songs they have written, but to then get the copyright back (and therefore sell it again) if the first buyer hasn’t behaved properly. In Crosstown...

Are Intellectual Property Laws "Fit for the internet age"?

A Government review into how the Intellectual Property (IP) system can better support and drive business growth in the UK is due out this year. The Government wants to ensure that the UK IP framework is developed to let businesses own and protect their...

Spam spam spam

With businesses clambering for customers, the use of email marketing has increased rapidly over the last few years. It is seen as a very cost effective way of instantly getting products and services in front of those who matter. To help, businesses can buy...

New advertising codes now in force

Advertising in the UK is a self regulated activity, with the advertising and broadcast industries publishing codes that are required to be followed by all those advertising in print or by broadcast media. The key objectives are to ensure that advertising is...

Reflect reality in your contracts

The recent case of Kingsway Hall Hotel v Red Sky IT (Hounslow) Ltd has highlighted the need for a supplier’s standard terms and conditions to accurately reflect the reality of the situation for both parties. One size certainly does not fit all. The...

ISPs Exempt from Hate Speech Charges

New Regulations have recently been passed that exempt internet service providers (ISPs) from responsibility for sexuality-related hate speech transmitted over their networks. The Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 amended the Public Order Act 1986...

No Exemption for Wi-Fi Operators

The controversial Digital Economy Bill, which we reported on in our last issue of For Business, has now become law after it was rushed through Parliament ahead of the recent general election. One of the most criticised provisions of the Act makes a...