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Filed under: Business Networking, Members News, Refer-On News
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Classic vehicles built before 1960 will be exempted from the MoT test from November 18, roads minister Mike Penning announced today.
Pre-1960 licensed vehicles make up about 0.6% of the total number of licensed vehicles in the UK, but are involved in 0.03% of road casualties and accidents.
The current requirement to undergo an MoT test goes over and above the obligations set out in European legislation.
Owners of affected vehicles will still be able to take exempt vehicles for an MoT test on a voluntary basis.
Penning said: “We are committed to cutting out red tape which costs motorists money without providing significant overall benefits.
Trade mark law hits the news on a regular basis. High profile trade mark infringement cases come to the fore from time to time and we may all think it will not happen to us or our companies.
The recent judgment against Tesco relating to the use of the “own brand” range of men’s toiletries under the name MX is a case in point. Use of the name has been deemed an infringement of prior trade mark rights held by a company called “The Jeans Scene” resulting in a complete withdrawal of the entire range. The sheer costs of such a withdrawal are clearly significant.
Take also the recent high profile case of the X Factor contestants, Rhythmix – a complaint by a charity with prior registered rights in the same name resulted in a name change to “Little Mix”.
Another band from the X Factor stable, One Direction, have had to deal with an allegation of trade mark infringement in the USA as a result of a complaint by a band of the same name.
All of these cases highlight the fact that it is important to ensure that you do not trespass on others’ rights by the adoption of a chosen range or brand name. Failure to effectively clear any trading name or trade mark could lead to substantial damage to your business – it is very expensive to defend an infringement claim and, if you are found to be infringing another’s rights, the costs of a rebrand and consequent damage to your business image could be very significant.
Trade Mark law applies to all businesses – large, medium or small – think about legal clearance of your chosen brand names at the earliest opportunity to avoid the pitfalls and uncertainties of a trade mark infringement action!
This can be done through conducting searches of the relevant trade mark registers, the internet and other searches of the companies register and domain names register. Searches of the trade mark registers are a vital element of your searching strategy and help from your legal adviser or trade mark attorney is critical in this respect.
In short, I suggest you search, search and search again before you adopt a new trade mark/ trading style and always try to do this at the earliest opportunity – thinking about it one week before launch could be a very risky strategy!
James Setchell is a Trade Mark Attorney at Alexander Ramage Associates LLP – www.ramage.co.uk
I was at a couple of conferences last week. Quite different subjects but both fields in which I perform consultancy. One was the twice yearly UK and Ireland Maximo User Group conference. (Maximo is one of the world leading software systems for managing maintenance and anyone following my blog will know I have a long association with maintenance management processes). The user group goes by the unflattering acronym MUG and one of the presentations was from the Disney Corporation. They use maximo to manage the maintenance activities in all their resorts (except Paris for some reason). The presentation was given jointly by their representative in the London venue and by webinar connection from their system manager in USA. A number of other companies, significant users of maximo, had presentation slots throughout the day such as Gatwick Airport and Hapag Lloyd, but none of their presenters felt the urge to don Mickey Mouse ears as did the Disney London based presenter. I may be old-fashioned but technical presentations from businessmen wearing a Disney gift shop line leaves me slightly unnerved.
However, the other conference was an update on the Green Deal. Mickey and MUG might be quite apposite terms to apply if this scheme goes wrong.
Let me just update you on some of the details coming out in this new energy scheme. I said I would. I would also like to remind you that the Green Deal (which I’ll now abbreviate to GD) applies to both domestic energy users and to business users. My involvement and hence the following comments only apply to the latter.
The energy subject has basically two arenas: the making of it, and the using of it. The former is the generation and distribution industry or ‘supply side’. It is highly capital and highly political. The using of it, the so-called ‘demand side’, is dominated by very large numbers of individually small scale users – our homes, our offices, and (unless we are operating an aluminium smelting plant) our industries. Now anyone opening a newspaper or watching the news would be forgiven for thinking that the supply side is the only area of interest. Debates rage on: nuclear, dependence on imported gas, fracking, reliability of wind and solar sources, pricing, brownouts and much more. But, very little ‘air time’ is given to the demand side. Yet, if homes, commerce and industry made even modest savings in consumption we may well be able to avoid some of the contentious ‘supply side’ problems. Maybe eliminating the need for that wind farm in our favourite view or fracking operation under our foundations. We need to be hearing more about consumption reduction.
GD is one of the many solutions being offered to help reduce energy consumption. This is the scheme were the building owner (or tenant) can obtain funds for energy improvements to their property and pay it back through the electricity bill (even if the savings occur in another fuel such as gas). The scheme is based on the Golden Rule which says that the total energy bill of the property after the improvement must be no greater than it was before. So, this scheme requires some rules and they are becoming clearer (although not yet fully complete).
The savings are estimated by a formally accredited assessor using a standard calculation method. For non domestic property this is called SBEM – the Simplified Building Energy Model. Note the word ‘estimated’. It should not be forgotten that the savings may not actually be achieved in practice. The estimate may be too optimistic or the occupier of the building may decide to use the greater efficiency of the building to be a degree or two warmer than they used to be. Whilst the people designing GD are doing all they can to avoid this it is apparent that no process has been developed for its eventuality. It seems to me that the obvious answer is that the unlucky or profligate occupier will be required to take the risk and pay the increased bill.
Another feature of GD is that unlike most loans which belong to a person the GD loan belongs to the property. It is paid by the person occupying the property. So if the property changes hands the new occupier picks up the repayments on the energy bill. This is seen as one of the positives of GD as it is still the property that is benefitting from the improvement.
Anticipation of the GD has caused quite a stir among the community of assessors, I am myself accredited to perform non domestic EPC assessments. Most of these folks are independents in small businesses or one-man traders. They spent several thousand pounds getting trained and accredited, mostly during the halcyon days of HIPs, and now struggle in an oversupplied market of very little property development and movement. To be able to provide GD assessments they will need further training in the extra features. Add to this that the GD code requires that assessors must be impartial but not necessarily independent it is thought likely that many large companies providing energy products (eg boiler manufacturers) may employ their own assessors with a view to obtaining more business. The assessors will not be allowed to act as salesmen so how will it pan out? I notice that one of the big 6 energy suppliers has already started advertising its own advisors in the national press. GD hasn’t gone live yet so they can’t call them ‘assessors’. Is there a similarity here with the financial products industry that resulted in IFAs and declaration of interest?
GD isn’t due to start until later this year and the non domestic rollout could conceivably be delayed further into next year. In any case a slow and hesitant take up is to be expected for this novel method of funding. The question for me is do I make further expenses to upgrade my qualification to GD assessor. I never recouped the cost of my current accreditation so will there be sufficient GD work and if there is will the big companies grab it all?
Is someone taking the mickey? Will those investing in additional training just be mugs?
New car registrations rose 3.3 per cent in April to 142,322 units.
It was the third, and largest, increase this year and year to date sales are up 1.4 per cent 705,878 units
Private registrations grew 14.8 per cent in April and are ahead 7.3 per cent in the year to April.
Fleet sales fell 3.4 per cent in April and year to date are down 1.2 per cent.