Friday, 21 March 2014

What is the Law in your Life?

5 things you need to know about Copyright:

1.           Copyright protects, amongst others, literary works, dramatic works, musical works and artistic works.

2.           Protection of your works is automatic; there is no need to register it anywhere. Use the copyright symbol © to show you are aware of your rights.

3.           There are three requirements for works to be capable of being copyrighted:

a.        It must be an original work;
b.        It must be borne out of your own skill, labour and judgment; and
c.         It must be recorded or fixed in a permanent form.

4.          Copyright gives the owner the right to prevent others from using their works without their permission.  This can include an action for damages in a court.

5.           For literary works, copyright currently lasts the lifetime of the author plus 70 years.  Other forms of copyright last for different periods and legal advice should be taken in relation to these.

Friday, 14 March 2014

What is the Law in your Life?

5 things you need to know about equity share capital in a private limited company:

1.       The term “equity” is often used as shorthand to describe a company’s share capital (as opposed to its debt or loan capital).

2.       However, it may not necessarily be correct to describe all shares in a company as equity”. The phrase “equity share capital actually has a statutory definition.

3.       In terms of the Companies Act 2006, “equity share capital” means a company’s issued share capital-but does not include shares which have restricted rights respect of dividends or capital.

4.       Normally, preference shares are only entitled to a fixed return by way of dividends and capital. It follows, therefore, that preference shares are unlikely to form part of a company’s equity share capital.

5.       On the other hand, ordinary shares carry full rights to dividends and to a return of capital. Ordinary shares truly represent a company’s equity share capital.

Friday, 7 March 2014

Legal battle continues to trundle on

Trunki Design and Copyright case

In July last year, Magmatic won a case in the High Court against PMS International, the developer of the Kiddee Case - Link to caseMagmatic was formed by inventor John Law after an infamous appearance on Dragon’s Den in 2006.  This decision was overturned by the Court of Appeal last week.  Link to Appeal

The legal battle is now heading for the Supreme Court as Magmatic, the company behind Trunki, has intimated that they intend to appeal the ruling. PMS International have, in turn, intimated that they intend to pursue a claim for damages against Magmatic over a previously obtained injunction. 

The original court ruling found that the Kiddee Case had breached the design rights of the inventor behind the Trunki and banned PMS International - based in Hong Kong - from selling its product in Europe. Both cases have horn-like handles and clasps resembling the nose and tail of an animal.

However, in the Court of Appeal, Rt. Hon. Lord Justice Kitchin said that the two cases conveyed a very different impression.  

Para 53: "Further, the overall impression created by the two designs is very different. The impression created by the CRD is that of a horned animal. It is a sleek and stylised design and, from the side, has a generally symmetrical appearance with a significant cut away semicircle below the ridge. By contrast the design of the Kiddee Case is softer and more rounded and evocative of an insect with antennae or an animal with floppy ears. At both a general and a detailed level the Kiddee Case conveys a very different impression."

What this case underlines is the importance of properly protecting your Intellectual Property.  In this case, it seems that "simple line drawings" may have been afforded more protection than the high quality greyscale CAD drawings which formed Trunki's Community Registered Design.

Take some time to Google Trunki and the Kiddee Case and you can make up your own mind.  In the writer's opinion, the two designs do appear quite similar, especially when considering the unique fact that the cases can be ridden on by children.  With this case heading for the Supreme Court, it will be interesting to see what happens next.

Thursday, 6 March 2014

What is the Law in your Life?

5 things you need to know about Leases in general: 
  1. A lease need not be in writing so long as it is not for longer than one year.
  2. To qualify as a formal lease, there must be identified premises; a landlord and a tenant; a definite rental; and a duration.
  3. The underlying statute in Scots law is the Leases Act 1449 (written in old Scots!). There is no equivalent Landlord and Tenant legislation of the type found up in English law.
  4. Only shop tenants have a limited form of security of tenure beyond the expiry of the term - the Tenancy of Shops (Scotland) Act 1949.
  5. Leases are interpreted as contracts.