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Sunday, 16 September 2012

Mahindra victory in dispute with Global

Mahindra has claimed victory in its dispute with would-be US distributor, Global Vehicles, according to The Times of India (and many other sources). The action, brought in the English courts, concerned an arbitration award made in London which now becomes enforceable as a court judgment. The court's judgment is not yet available on BAILII.

Penalties for competition infringements rocket

The Office of Fair Trading has published new guidance on penalties (press release here) under which the amount of a financial penalty for breaching the prohibitions in the Competition Act 1998 goes up from a hefty maximum 10 per cent of "relevant turnover" to 30 per cent. When the Act first came into operation, which to me still seems quite recently, the then Director General of Fair Trading, John Bridgman, told a seminar I attended that the penalties would be "eye-watering". The new maximum sounds as if it would cause blood to flow ... The redeeming feature remains that the penalty has to be proportionate to the seriousness of the breach and the damage it causes, and it is rare for a penalty to come anywhere near the maximum, and then only in flagrant cases of price-fixing, market sharing or predatory pricing.

Proposed streamlining of employment law

The government has revealed its proposals to streamline employment law, a euphemism for removing some of the rights given to workers which industry often finds overly restrictive and which arguably impede job creation.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Muscle cars confusingly similar

My good friend from the USA, John Welch, in his The TTABlog®, draws attention to a decision on three trade mark applications for the shape of what are commonly referred to as "muscle cars". The case goes under the name of In re Carroll Hall Shelby Trust, which tells you a lot about what's going on here. The applications were rejected on the grounds that they were too similar to a couple of existing trade mark registrations (which to my eye look utterly different: no possibility of confusion). The Board rejected the refusal based on the roofline of the car in the earlier trade mark, but upheld the refusal based on the "C-scoop" - which is surely such common currency in cars of this type that it cannot be considered distinctive? Anyway, read all about it on John's blog and, as he invites readers to do, make up your own mind (but under US trademark law, of course).

Friday, 7 September 2012

The Removal and Disposal of Vehicles (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2012

These regulations were laid before Parliament yesterday and come into operation on 1 October. They amend regulations that date back to 1986 (S.I. 1986/183), and give power to constables to deal with vehicles which have been broken down or abandoned. As originally made, the 1986 regulations apply to vehicles broken down on roads, and to vehicles unlawfully abandoned on a road or "on any land in the open air". The amendment will extend the powers to cover any other land, too.

Restoration of company to register kick-starts proceedings

Does an order restoring a company to the register, made under section 1032(1) of the Companies Act 2006, retrospectively validate proceedings brought against it while it was dissolved? In Peaktone Ltd v Joddrell [2012] EWCA Civ 1035 (26 July 2012), the Court of Appeal decided that it did. This should be very helpful to creditors trying to secure payment of debts from disposable companies ...