Award-winner boosts Litigation prowess

11th February 2019

Leicester-based niche commercial law practice Southall Hathaway & Co LLP has retained an award-winning trainee solicitor as a Commercial Litigator.   Neusha Mazaher (age 28 from Birstall) is due to be admitted as a Higher Court Solicitor Advocate (Civil) next month (March 2019) – having recently completed her Post Graduate Diploma/Legal  Practice Course at De Monfort University and being awarded their Irwin Mitchell Prize for Best Overall Performance. A delighted Neusha, who has been with the company in its various guises as Edward Hands and Lewis and EHL Commercial since leaving university in 2014, says: “Working a full-time job and studying was difficult at times, but the journey taught me a lot about myself and the profession. Winning the LPC award was a bit of a shock, but a great feeling, and it shows that hard work and dedication really does pay off. “I can’t wait to be admitted and having completed the additional Higher Rights of Audience course too, I’ll be able to offer a complete service to clients by representing them through their entire case and then advocating on their behalf at trial. I’m so looking forward to my new chapter as a fully qualified Solicitor Advocate and 2019 feels like a fresh and exciting start for the new Southall Hathaway & Co too. I’ve no doubt it will be a positive and successful year for the business and feel privileged to be a part of it.” All trainee solicitors must undertake training in at least three distinct areas of law to enable them to qualify as a Solicitor. Neusha began in the Advisory & Dispute Resolution department dealing with breach of contract claims, insolvency matters, possession proceedings and boundary disputes. A seat in the Employment department followed, which proved to be a great transition as the Employment Tribunal runs very similar to the way the Civil Courts do. Latterly, Neusha has been completing her final seat in the Commercial Property department, assisting on the sale and purchases of commercial properties and reviewing leases. Neusha has also been engaged on Commercial matters including drafting terms and conditions and shareholders agreements. Neusha adds: “I’m due to qualify into my preferred Advisory& Dispute Resolution department and will continue to work alongside owner and managing partner Stuart Southall on a number of matters going forward. He’s both an excellent litigator and mentor and has greatly helped develop my skills as a lawyer – and I’m looking to repay his faith in me straight away.”

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Good (trade mark) housekeeping…

6th February 2019

To set the scene you have received your trade mark registration certificate and have been told that the trade mark registration is valid for ten years and renewable thereafter every ten years. As the owner of a registered trade mark you have exclusive rights in the trade mark, which are infringed by use of the trade mark in the United Kingdom without your consent. Now consider the following; you are notified of a later filed application for a mark that is similar or identical to yours for goods and services that are identical or similar to yours.  The onus will be on you to file opposition proceedings against this later filed application. However, before proceeding you need to consider the following: once your trade mark has been registered for five years it becomes vulnerable to a non-use challenge. An application to revoke a trade mark registration on the grounds of non-use can be made by anybody.  So, if you file the opposition the applicant may choose to file a non-use cancellation action in return. The burden will be upon you to file evidence of “genuine use” with respect to the goods and services the mark has been registered for. In the recent case of SuperMac’s (Holdings) Ltd v McDonalds International Property Company Ltd, SuperMac made an application to have MacDonalds’ trade mark registration for BIG MAC cancelled in its entirety on the basis that MacDonalds had not put the mark to genuine use for a continuous period of 5 years for the goods and services it was registered for.   What is genuine use?  Genuine use of a trade mark exists where the mark is used in accordance with its essential function, which is to guarantee the identity of the origin of the goods or services for which it is registered. It requires actual use on the market of the registered goods and services and does not include token use. When assessing whether the use of the trade mark is genuine, regard must be had to all the facts and circumstances relevant to establishing whether commercial exploitation of the mark is real, particularly whether such use is viewed as warranted in the economic sector concerned to maintain or create a market share for the goods or services protected by the mark. The burden of proof lies with the proprietor which in this case was MacDonalds. On that basis, MacDonalds submitted 3 affidavits, brochures and advertising materials showing the BIG MAC sandwiches, as well as links to websites and print out from Wikipedia. The cancellation division found the evidence submitted insufficient to establish genuine use of the BIG MAC trade mark.  This decision is open to Appeal and time will tell if MacDonalds decide to appeal it? Comment – we think that a valuable lesson can learned from this case about good housekeeping with respect of having a good archive of evidence of use that is constantly kept updated. This will help going forward should a third party look to cancel your registration or to support opposition proceedings. If you have any questions relating to trade mark matters, please do not hesitate to get in touch […]

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Launch party formalises lift off…

4th October 2018

Friday 21 September was the official launch party of niche law practice ehl Commercial LLP at stylish Leicester city venue Manhattan 34 on Rutland Street. Also a selective networking event, special guest was Rugby World Cup-winning and England/Leicester Tigers legend, Neil Back. Stuart Southall, managing partner of EHL Commercial based in the historic Crescent building on Leicester’s King Street, says: “It was a well-attended event and it was great to receive the support that we did from client, contacts and friends alike. The creation of a new and niche law firm is exciting and stressful, but with the calibre of business and personnel we manage to attract, I am sure that we can be a resounding success and I am relishing the forthcoming years. Next year will be additionally exciting, so watch this space. “I want to thank everyone who attended – it is always great to catch up with clients and associates in a more informal and social environment, but a huge thank you has to go to our Helen Norman who tirelessly organised, invited, chased, prepared and photographed everything to ensure that it was a success. Without her, it just wouldn’t have happened, or run so smoothly and efficiently. As a firm, we are only as good and strong as our team – and she is a rock!”

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