October 2012 Archive

Serious Fraud Office issues revised policies for Bribery Act 2010

On being appointed head of the SFO earlier this year David Green QC reinforced the SFO’s role as a key prosecuting agency by stating, "The SFO is here to stay. It is and will remain a key crime fighting agency targeting top-end fraud, bribery and corruption.” Testimony to this statement of intent was the new policy guidance issued by the SFO on 9th October relating to three elements of the Bribery Act 2010: facilitation payments; corporate hospitality expenditure; and self-reporting of offences.

Design rights are potentially very valuable business assets

Many items which may not be described as having been “designed” in the aesthetic sense, can qualify as design rights and attract protection. A product does not have to look pleasing to the eye to attract protection. design law defines design as the design of any aspect of the shape or configuration whether internal or external of the whole or part of an article. This has a wide ranging application and will apply to the design of almost any new product sold which looks different to products that have gone before. Although there are some exceptions which limit the application of design law to some products, if design right protection does apply then you will have the right to stop competitors from copying such a design. This could be very valuable.

Involvement of the design and build contractor with a s106 agreement and planning permission

“To carry out the Building Works in accordance with the terms of this Agreement, the Specification, the Drawings, the Planning Permission and the Section 106 Agreement…” So runs the start of many a clause setting out a design and build contractor’s obligations. But what about the planning permission and section 106 agreement? Neither can be ignored – enforcement is a real and present danger.

The risk in letters of intent and the related duties of project managers

The nature of letters of intent inevitably give rise to disputes: the courts have repeatedly highlighted the inherent risks of relying on a letter of intent rather than a concluded contract. This inherent risk in letters of intent, along with the duties of project managers, was scrutinised in a recent case¹ before the specialist Technology and Construction Court this year.

The Green Deal: CML position

The Green Deal is the coalition government's flagship initiative for improving the energy efficiency of buildings in Great Britain, by removing the upfront cost of energy efficiency measures. On 1 October 2012 the Green Deal went ‘live’ although loans for energy efficiency improvements won’t actually be available until January 2013. The Council of Mortgage Lenders was consulted by government: it was concerned that any proposals should neither adversely affect lending activity nor impose an unnecessary burden on home owners.

Valuation, inspection or survey?

The purchase of a property is likely to be the most important financial transaction you will enter into. There is nothing that can be done about any defects that you may discover after exchanging contracts or completing the transaction so it therefore essential that you have the property thoroughly checked out by an expert. There are various types of inspections that you can obtain which are outlined below.

Why partnership agreements are invaluable

If you are working your farm in partnership with another family member without a partnership agreement, have you considered what might happen to the farm in the event of death, divorce, retirement or simply one of you wanting to leave the business? If you have got an agreement, have you reviewed it recently and does it reflect your objectives and ambitions? Does it take into account increased land values or recent acquisitions or sales?

Intellectual property in the downturn

Intellectual property (IP) is a diversity of legal rights in creations of the intellect. Specific IP such as patents, design rights and trade marks may constitute 90% of the value of the world’s top 2000 companies. A huge amount of IP owned is not exploited to its fullest capacity or exploited at all.

Government launches housing stimulus package

On 6 September 2012 the government launched its long-awaited housing stimulus package aimed at facilitating the delivery of 70,000 new homes, creating up to 140,000 jobs in the construction sector and kick-starting the UK’s stagnant economy. The package includes measures which, the government says, are aimed at supporting businesses, developers and first-time buyers while slashing red tape across the planning system. In this article we consider some of the key measures included within the package.

Does design law really protect your designs?

Design law seeks to offer designers a form of protection for their designs. However because of the complexities and legal nuances, it is not always easy to identify what protection is available for a given design and how that protection may be achieved. As a result, design law can, if not properly applied, end up being about as much use as a chocolate fireguard.
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