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Dormant Trade Marks – Use Them Or Lose Them!

Trade marks that are not put to good use merely clog up the register and have been likened to abandoned vessels in the shipping lanes of commerce. In one case on point, the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) stripped a classic car company of a valuable mark that it had not used for years. The mark had been registered in the 1990s but, in applying to revoke it...

Enterprises Built on Informal Oral Contracts Are Built on Sand

Enterprises built on oral contracts are built on sand and frequently give rise to bitter regret after the event that agreements were not put into writing by a lawyer. That was certainly so in one case concerning the ownership of a thriving computer equipment company that went from zero to a £13 million turnover in little more than a decade. An American...

‘Annex’ or ‘Extension’? Village Hall Trustees Triumph in Tax Dispute

The distinction between an ‘annex’ and an ‘extension’ to a building may appear only slight. However, in a case of interest to charities and tax professionals it proved decisive to the tax treatment of an addition made to a village community hall. The hall had been constructed using funds raised by villagers and the local church authorities and was...

How the Law of Confidentiality Protects Entrepreneurs – High Court Ruling

Entrepreneurs intent on raising money with a view to commercial exploitation of their ideas inevitably have to disclose detailed business plans to those they hope will provide finance. Such disclosures are not without risk but one High Court case illustrated how the law of confidentiality can provide protection. A company was seeking finance in order to promote...

Watch Out! Assurances Given to Employees Can Have Contractual Force!

Promises made and assurances given to employees can have contractual force, so it is vital not to make such commitments without taking legal advice. That point was made by one case in which a council went back on an assurance that a group of workers would have the opportunity to apply for voluntary redundancy. The council was subject to severe budget cuts and...

Engaged in International Trade? Watch Out for Language Barriers!

Those engaged in international trade obviously have to confront language barriers and, as one High Court case showed, it is no good sitting on your hands if you receive documents in a language that you do not understand. A UK company had contracted with a Russian company to supply materials to be used in the repair of a glass-making furnace in Siberia. The...