The Federal Supreme Court recently considered – for the first time – whether board members' rights to information, inspection and insight can also be asserted on an appeal basis. The court also commented on the type of procedure applicable in such cases. This decision should be taken into account by board members who lack evidence or knowledge of important or necessary information, particularly if it relates to the organisation of or disputed relationships within the board of directors.
The Ouhai District People's Court in Wenzhou recently affirmed the significance of taking a global view when assessing the similarities between an allegedly infringing product and a 3D trademark. The dispute at issue was between Martell, one of the world's oldest cognac houses, and the Chinese manufacturer of Louis Baron XO brandy, the bottle of which was almost identical to Martell's 3D trademark.
In 2016 McMug Ltd successfully filed a UK trademark application for the mark OKAYEST for a number of products, including beer mugs, chinaware and flasks. However, AMC Photographics Limited challenged the mark's validity on the grounds that, among other things, it was devoid of distinctive character and was a wholly descriptive dictionary word (a superlative of okay). This case is a useful reminder that, even after registration, a mark can be challenged on the grounds of non-distinctiveness and descriptiveness.
Trademarks are a company's most valuable asset. Over time, they can appreciate in value and as a company's reputation grows, so too will the value of its trademarks. This article provides an overview of South Africa's trademark legislation and serves as a useful guide on, among other things, the trademark application procedure, buying and selling trademarks and company or close corporation name protection.
Canadian trademark law will be overhauled on 17 June 2019, with many significant changes – both procedural and substantive – coming into effect. This article discusses the important strategies to consider before these changes take effect, including tips that could save time and money now and in future.
In a recent dispute between the inventor and marketer of a food supplement gel, the Hungarian Intellectual Property Office, the Metropolitan Tribunal and the Metropolitan Court of Appeal had to determine the true owner of the associated word and device marks. Using EU case law as a guide, they considered the market situation, including the knowledge of consumers, and applied the principle of registration and the rule of good faith.
The Barcelona Court of Appeal recently confirmed the Barcelona Commercial Court Number 5 decision which had declared two Nestlé patents to be valid and infringed by Fast Eurocafé SA. Considering the importance of the Nescafé Dolce Gusto system for Nestlé and the increased interest among competitors in commercialising compatible capsules, this judgment is of paramount importance.
The Investment Association recently published guidelines concerning the redemption or cancellation of irredeemable preference shares. The guidelines are of general application to listed companies and aim to promote market confidence in irredeemable preference shares as an asset class and avoid reputational risk for issuers. They also require issuers to follow a fair process and to consider the fair market price when considering the redemption of irredeemable preference shares.
The Taxation Laws Amendment Act introduced a new section into the Income Tax Act which deals with value mismatches involving the transfer of assets in exchange for the issue of shares. Essentially, the section applies where the value of the asset given in consideration for the shares issued is different from what it would have been had the transaction been between independent persons acting at arm's length.
The Ministry of Economy and Finance recently published a press release announcing the measures which the Italian government, in close consultation with the regulatory authorities and following discussions with trade associations, intends to take in order to avoid a hard Brexit having a cliff-edge effect on financial activities. During the transitional period provided by the temporary measures, banking intermediaries will be able to continue to operate according to existing laws and regulations.
Bank Indonesia recently issued an umbrella regulation on the application of prudential norms. As with the now revoked Regulation on Offshore Loans in the Banking Sector (as amended), Regulation 21 stresses the importance of compliance with prudential norms for maintaining macroeconomic and financial system stability. However, while the previous regulation's scope was confined to offshore bank loans, Regulation 21 encompasses "offshore bank debt and FX-denominated other bank liabilities".
The Home Office recently released its statement of changes setting out proposed changes to UK immigration rules. The statement contains the long-awaited details of changes to the Tier 1 (Investor) visa, which were announced in December 2018 shortly after the Home Office backtracked from its announcement that the visa was about to be suspended. The proposed changes are significant and clarity is needed with regard to the application of the transitional rules.
In a bid to promote a sound financial system and enhance access to financial services for low-income earners and the unbanked segments of the Nigerian population, the Central Bank of Nigeria recently issued the Guidelines for Licensing and Regulation of Payment Service Banks (PSBs) in Nigeria. The main objective of establishing PSBs is to enable high-volume, low-value transactions in remittance, micro-saving and withdrawal services in a secured technology-driven environment.
Under a new financial support scheme, the Polish Film Institute will now offer cash rebates as a form of support for the production of feature films, documentaries, animated films and TV series. The general aims of the scheme are to assist the audiovisual market, attract foreign capital, support the production of films in Poland and promote the country and its cultural heritage abroad.
Pursuant to Article 376/3 of the Commercial Code, where there are signs that a company is in financial distress, its board of directors should prepare an interim balance sheet. If the balance sheet verifies that the company is in financial distress, the board should notify the first-instance commercial court where the company is headquartered and request a bankruptcy declaration. Directors of boards which fail to follow these steps could be held civilly or criminally liable.
Virtual currencies have been analysed and considered by numerous policymakers at the EU level. According to the European Central Bank, the legal definition of 'virtual currencies' tends to vary depending on the context, while the European Banking Authority defines them as a digital representation of value that is neither issued by a central bank or public authority nor necessarily attached to a fiat currency, but used as a means of exchange and transferred, stored or traded electronically.
The Supreme Court of Justice recently declared that an article of the Federal Telecommunications and Broadcasting Law – which provided that the minimum fine for any violation of the law not otherwise expressly penalised in another law was 1% of the offender's annual income – to be unconstitutional. This declaration may signal that the court intends to participate more regularly in shaping Mexico's legal framework in order to rectify deficiencies created by Congress.
The National Communications Commission (NCC) recently authorised Chunghwa Telecom, the largest telecoms operator in Taiwan, to use aggregate channels for its media-on-demand service. Unsurprisingly, local cable TV operators have protested the NCC's one-sided decision and demanded the same liberalised regulations. While the future of cable TV in Taiwan remains uncertain, over-the-top media services such as Netflix may be the only way to resurrect pay TV businesses.
The Office for the Protection of Economic Competition recently reviewed vertical aspects of online platforms and distribution channels, ultimately fining online booking platform Booking.com approximately €330,000 for using most-favoured-nation (MFN) clauses in its contracts with hotels. Although the decision has not yet been published, it is hoped that it will be instructive in terms of how the office examines the conditions under which MFN clauses may be considered anti-competitive.
In a recent ex tempore judgment, the BVI Commercial Court's power to grant Norwich Pharmacal disclosure orders in support of foreign proceedings was clarified. The judgment was given on a successful application for Norwich Pharmacal relief to assist Brazilian clients in bringing claims for the recovery of misappropriated assets. The decision confirms the British Virgin Islands as a particularly helpful jurisdiction in the fight against international fraud and the recovery of misappropriated assets.