Expanding our Intellectual Property…

28th January 2019

Leicestershire’s newest niche commercial law practice has appointed a specialist Intellectual Property (IP) lawyer to further boost its expertise in this burgeoning sector.   Sarah Dacre (age 45) joins city-based Southall Hathaway & Co LLP as an Associate and is a leading Chartered Trade Mark Attorney and European Trade Mark and Design Attorney with some 20 years experience both domestically and internationally.   Her experience is both varied and exceptional and includes senior strategic management of Barclays Bank’s trade mark portfolio and associated foreign agents, plus as a trade mark advisor for global alcoholic beverage company Diageo, as well as IP Officer for the major international pharmacy-led health and beauty company Boots.   Sarah explains: “My career to date spans both the private sector and in-house, so I’m well versed in understanding corporate risk appetites, plus advising (and educating) top directors on maximising their business assets and the likes of co-branding and joint venture strategies, but especially brand protection and enforcement – including both clearance and registration.   “But now is the right time to get in at the start of something new, fresh and forward thinking, because Southall Hathaway& Co is that rare breed of niche practice that concentrates on what it’s good at and where it can make a real difference. I have a real and personal opportunity to input and contribute to the growth and direction of the company and further develop myself, as our close knit IP team aims much higher in this increasingly important/diverse area of law.”   The firm’s owner and managing partner, Stuart Southall (who is an IP litigation specialist himself and an Allied Member of the Chartered Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys), adds: “Sarah is a kindred spirit and I have no doubt her considerable knowledge, drive and determination can help make Southall Hathaway & Co a major player in Intellectual Property law. What she doesn’t know about the complexities and business worth of designs, copyright and trade mark security isn’t worth knowing – and her appointment greatly excites me.   “With the surge in technological advances, IP has never been more important – because apart from properly protecting your assets it maximises business opportunities and can also generate further and additional revenue streams. Trade Marks can also have exponential value, if used correctly, through licensing and franchising, plus being used as security for raising capital.”

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Carving a niche already…

22nd November 2018

It’s highly appropriate that as a leading niche commercial practice we sponsored the ‘Business Growth’ category for the Niche Magazine Business Awards, 2018.  The delighted winners were Mo Bros, a rapidly expanding boutique men’s beard grooming and barber shop from Leicester, who recently appeared on Dragon’s Den and successfully won more funding. Stuart Southall, Managing Partner of EHL Commercial LLP, says: “Huge congratulations to our category winner Mo Bros, it was very well deserved in a highly competitive category. We also offer a massive thank you to Jenny and her team at Cross Productions Limited for creating the NICHE awards and the time and effort that went into what was a truly glamorous event at Athena Conference & Banqueting. “EHL Commercial LLP is proud to be a sponsor and very much looks forward to continuing its backing – and assisting in recognising and celebrating outstanding Leicestershire businesses and business professionals.” The Niche Business Awards have been created to highlight and reward excellence across the county and accompanying areas; supporting both the private and public sectors to herald local companies who truly go the extra mile – and make a valued contribution to the regional economy. Pic shows Stuart Southall (left) with the victorious Mo Bros team.

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Exciting new re-brand…

22nd November 2018

Leicestershire’s newest niche commercial law practice is rebranding as it seeks to further establish its own real identity. As of 1st January 2019, ehl Commercial LLP (which only recently separated out from long standing practice Edward Hands and Lewis Limited following the acquisition of the commercial arm by Stuart Southall) will become Southall Hathaway & Co LLP to boost growth and direction and help eliminate any confusion of the two firms. The name change references both surnames of the new firm’s partners – Stuart Southall as owner, Managing Partner and Member, plus Emeritus Senior Partner Jason Hathaway – as it continues to build an exceptional team of specialists against much larger competition. Stuart Southall explains: “Whilst I am very proud to have been a Partner at Edward Hands and Lewis and the reputation that firm has, in order to assist this new firm in growing and forging a standalone identity, this is a natural progressive step – and what better day to change your name  than 1st January. I very much believe that it will further assist us in attracting the right calibre of clientele and finest legal talent around, so that we can grow and develop quickly as a bespoke and boutique commercial practice. “To some extent, it also adds a  legacy to my grandfather’s firm Southall & Co (where my father also worked and assisted in developing my love for the law) which for 50 years, prior to his death, was a leading  Midlands practice whose standing and reputation is still recognised and respected by clients and professionals alike.” Mr Southall adds: “Whilst our name may be changing, the ethos and principles that we have remain the same and we will still be seeking to challenge the norm and the traditional perception of lawyers and law firms. Our dynamic team are all endeavouring to be leaders in their fields and to do this they only practice in their area of law. This helps us, as a firm, drive forwards to offering quality, bespoke and practical advice at competitive prices.”

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Two senior and key appointments

4th October 2018

New niche Leicester law firm EHL Commercial has made two key appointments as it continues to build an exceptional team of specialists against much larger competition. Jatinder Kandola joins as Principal Associate and Head of Commercial Property, while Tim Hussein brings a very broad set of experience and solicitor skills in both contentious and non-contentious matters. Jatinder’s specific interest and expertise is focussed on acquisitions and disposals, developing and letting property and land, working for developers, investors, owner occupiers, lenders and especially for charities and in ecclesiastical property law. Tim’s invaluable knowledge and connections in his native Southern Africa compliment the strong international links that EHL Commercial LLP (already well aligned in the USA and Eastern Europe) are developing and driving forwards as a specialism. Managing Partner Stuart Southall says: “The recruitment of Jatinder and Tim is evidence that we can attract the finest talent around and in doing so, can grow and develop quickly as a leading niche commercial practice.” Jatinder from Mountsorrel gained her initial experience with national concern Eversheds LLP and Legal 100 firm Harvey Ingram Solicitors (now Shakespeare Martineau) before spending five years as Head of Legal for The Methodist Church, which is one of the largest in the UK. Working closely with the Department for Education, she has also advised a number of schools on their charitable responsibilities and trust arrangements, plus has worked extensively with the Charity Commission. Consequently, Jatinder is particularly adept at negotiating, drafting and agreeing complex commercial contracts including, agreements for lease, conditional contracts, s. 106 agreements, land registration schemes, as well as franchise and overage agreements. She says: “I find a niche and boutique commercial-only law firm a very attractive proposition and look forward to developing the Commercial Property team as a real specialist and go-to leader in this very diverse and exciting field. I have also worked in-house for a national retailer Timpson and assisted on their purchase of Johnson’s Dry Cleaners last year, so this increasingly active and competitive arena is also of particular interest.” Tim from Wigston was originally admitted as a Solicitor, Notary and Conveyancer in Zimbabwe in 1992 and very quickly ran his own leading practice in Harare, representing clients in the corporate, manufacturing and mining sectors and assisting start up businesses and entrepreneurs. He also has extensive business law lecturing experience (back home and here) for universities and FE colleges. Now registered in England & Wales, as well as Scotland, Tim’s expertise covers share purchase agreements, asset purchase agreements, management buy-outs, commercial contracts, negotiating and drafting intellectual property agreements, plus UK competition law. Tim is also a strong advocate and litigator in both the Court and the Employment Tribunal. Due to his knowledge of Roman Dutch law and the cultural and political nuances of the Southern African region – and especially with Brexit pending – Tim is uniquely placed to receive instructions from companies and organisations seeking to explore this alternative and expanding market. He says: “A bespoke legal firm that specialises in commercial work is rare, so I’m delighted to be on board too, plus EHL Commercial benefits from a traditional family-orientated ethos […]

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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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EHL Law Officially Launch Commercial Division

11th September 2018

Long standing Leicestershire practise Edward Hands and Lewis Limited has separated out its Commercial arm in order to create EHL Commercial LLP. This follows the acquisition of the Commercial arm by Stuart Southall and as owner of EHL Commercial LLP he now steps up as a Member and Managing Partner – but continues in his role as a Commercial and Chancery litigator operating in Insolvency, Intellectual Property and Sports law. To evidence its breakaway, EHL Commercial LLP will be based at a new office location – the historic Crescent building in Leicester. The team is deliberately small at present but has a number of new starters commencing in September, with the aim of having no more than 15 – 20 staff. It also has an office in Central London, just minutes away from the Royal Courts of Justice. EHL Senior Partner Jason Hathaway says: “Given the commercial law talent we now have on board, it’s a natural progression for us and this new team is already working very hard to build an exceptional firm against much larger competition. EHL Commercial LLP has a tangibly different and extremely focused approach, that’s also holistic and down-to-earth, and if it’s perceived that we are ‘punching above our weight’ or otherwise, we are more than ok with that.” Stuart Southall (age 39), Managing Partner of EHL Commercial, adds: “We’re all about challenging the norm and the traditional perception of lawyers and law firms. Our dynamic, new team are all specialists in their fields and they only practice in their area of law, so that they can continue to develop their knowledge and endeavour to be the best around. This helps us, as a firm, drive forwards to offering quality, bespoke and practical advice at competitive prices. “We also like to keep things simple and to the point and we stick to what we know and where we can add real value. A particular point of difference is the exclusive professional partner network we have forged with similarly minded firms in Washington DC, plus the Eastern Bloc of the European Union. Operating in this way enables us to service our clients from the Unites States of America to the Channel Islands to Eastern Europe as well as the UK.” EHL Commercial LLP clients are currently SME businesses with turnovers in between £250,000 to £65million. They also represent start-up businesses, charities and entities that are ready to float on the Stock Market, as well as hedge funds, property developers and professional service providers. However, Mr Southall – who has experience of working in Washington DC for its Shadow Senator in his legal practice as well as assisting the Chief of Staff, plus in Manhattan New York for a boutique practice, as well as West Midlands regional heavyweights – is also increasingly acting for high net worth individuals in matters such as Shareholder & Partnership disputes, Film Scheme litigation Class Actions and cross-jurisdiction litigation. Pic shows Jason Hathaway (right) and Stuart Southall sealing the deal.

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New Leicester law firm proving good sports…

11th September 2018

LEICESTER’S latest law firm is enjoying a summer of sporting success after forging strong relationships with some leading, regionally-based but nationally relevant sports brands. EHL Commercial LLP, which has recently broken away from long standing practise Edward Hands and Lewis Limited to create a separate arm, counts sports law (through Managing Partner Stuart Southall) as one of its specialisms – and is the preferred legal partner for the Loughborough-based and government-backed charity Youth Sport Trust (YST), as well as the Leicester Falcons American Football team, who play their matches at Hinckley’s Leicester Road Stadium. Guy Kersey, Chairman of the Leicester Falcons, explains: “EHL and the Falcons share a desire to continually develop, innovate and drive for success. They’re ambitious and want to be the best in their field, just like us, so there’s a natural synergy and the same ethos/approach. Stuart and his team have provided continual legal support throughout this season, such as assisting with contracts, properties and structure of our organisation. “Helping us set up as a professional club has really moved us forward and positioned the Falcons as one of the best outfits in the country. We’re now at the forefront our American Football’s rapid expansion in Britain – and with EHL Commercial we have the perfect partner to grow and win with.” For Youth Sport Trust, EHL handle anything corporate or commercially orientated (including contracts, franchises, etc) and they undertake it as part of their corporate social policy. It’s prestigious work too, with YST playing an increasingly important role in respect of identifying and encouraging sport to be considered as a key component in today’s society, plus having very strong links to every governing sporting body within England. Kate Platts, Commercial Director at the YST says: “We are absolutely delighted to be working with EHL Commercial as our preferred legal partner, because they have proven their commitment to, and understanding of, the landscape in which the Youth Sport Trust operates. Their expert advice and support will be invaluable as we enter a new strategy era with a heightened focus on organisational sustainability and diversification of income.” Stuart Southall, Managing Partner of EHL Commercial LLP, adds: “Our excellent relationships with the Leicester Falcons and the Youth Sport Trust are helping us further comprehend and master the burgeoning sporting arena and the particular nuances associated with being a specialist sports lawyer. It’s big business and the role now covers a variety of matters – everything from contracts, tort, intellectual property and image rights, brand protection, representation (for agency and employment matters) personal injury, media deals, tax issues and defamation, etc.” Pic shows l to r: Guy Kersey (Chairman Leicester Falcons), Stuart Southall (Managing Partner EHL Commercial), plus Falcons players Richard Swain, Taylor Brown, Matthew Neville, Ryan Cummings, plus Vlad Maximov (front).

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SO HOW BLURRED IS “BLURRED LINES”:

14th August 2018

In a west coast American Court, a jury determined that the 2013 hit “Blurred Lines” infringed the melody of the 1977 Marvin Gaye hit “Got to give it Up”. The US legal system insofar as copyright is concerned, is hugely different to the UK. To qualify for copyright protection in the US, it is a pre-requisite that the works are registered with the US Patent & Trade Mark Office. In the UK, any qualifying works will obtain automatic protection. Under UK law, qualifying works are defined as “original works capable of being represented in a literary, artistic, musical, dramatic format and/or sound recordings, films, broadcasts or cable programmes and/or the typographical arrangement of published editions”. It is rare (to the point of almost being uncommon) for civil matters to be determined by a Jury as was the case here. If this dispute had been brought within a Court of England and Wales, it would have been determined by a Judge. As such, would a Judge hearing the same evidence have reached the same conclusion as the jury did? Copyright law is governed by the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (“CDPA”). Given the nature of this dispute, the Court would have undoubtedly been directed to Section 17(2) CDPA which states “Infringement of copyright by copying..copying in relation to a literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work means reproducing the work in any material form. This includes storing the work in any medium by electronic means”. What this means is UK law determines infringement on a qualitative basis and not a quantitative basis and so, irrespective of whether or not the infringement is a few seconds or an undetermined length of time, the Court may well take the view that infringement will have occurred. It is understood that Pharrell Williams admitted in Court that he was a fan of Marvin Gaye and that his music [regularly] influenced him but had not in this instance. It may well be the case but what the Court would have to consider is whether or not Pharrell’s sub-conscious was ‘alive enough’ to create a rhythm / beat that was qualitatively similar to Marvin Gaye’s hit? Whilst no musician, it appears if you play the “Blurred Lines” melody over the “Got to give it up” melody, musically, in my view, it doesn’t fit. If this is the case, how was the Jury able to find that the same infringed? Based on the [limited] reporting to date, it appears that the finding was based on the conceptual basis that the songs “felt” the same. Perhaps Pharrell’s admission of wanting to pay homage to Marvin Gaye is what persuaded the jury. What is interesting to consider is whether or not a Judge determining this matter would have come to the same decision when applying the rules and the appropriate legislation. My view is that the decision would have found in favour of Williams and Thicke and not the Gaye family. Whilst the outcome itself is prejudicial to Pharrell Willams and Robin Thicke (in that they have to pay around $7,000,000.00 to the Gaye family), it is the implications of […]

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Brexit – How will it effect your business’ branding?

14th August 2018

The Issue In March 2019 the UK will leave the European Union. The effect of this being that the UK Parliament will regain sovereignty and the UK will be dependent on domestic legislation. In order to protect a brand, business may look to register their intellectual property (IP) in order to protect it. Currently, it is possible to register a trademark within the European Union. The effect is that a trade mark can be protected in multiple Member states. Post-Brexit there are questions as to how IP rights such as trademarks will continue to be protected, such as: How will IP rights which have already been registered, continue to be protected in (1) EU rights in the UK and (2) UK rights within the EU? What will the process be for ensuring protection throughout the UK and the EU? How will parallel imports be affected? This has already been in the news this week surrounding the ‘Schweppes’ brand and how such IP rights may be exhausted. What the EU wants On 6 September 2017 the European Commission released its comments on how it wishes intellectual property to work post Brexit. The paper called ‘Intellectual Property Rights (including geographical indications) sets out five general principles that the Commission wish to include  in order to create certainty. These are: Automatic recognition of IP rights in the UK – following the break from the EU, there will be an automatic division of IP rights. The UK and the EU, therefore, are to have corresponding registered rights; Ongoing applications entitled to keep benefits – at the point of leaving the EU, the applicant should be entitled to keep the benefit of any priority date when applying for equal rights within the UK; Entitlement to Supplementary Protection Certificate (or an extension) – this applies to pharmaceutical or plant protection products where the active ingredients are patented, the SCC therefore makes up for any delay in using the patent. The Commission’s position is that this should continue post-Brexit with an equivalent right in the UK; Legal protection of databases – Rightholders of databases should continue to enjoy protection in Member States under Article 7 of Directive 96/9/EC; and Exhaustion of rights – IP rights exhausted prior to the withdrawal date shall continue to be exhausted in both the EU and the UK post Brexit. The Commission also wish for the conditions concerning IP to be those defined by EU Law. What steps can your business take to prepare? Register IP rights – when protecting branding it will be necessary to consider where it needs to be protected. Post-Brexit it is likely that the UK will implement some form of system that allows for European trade marks to either have a new application for corresponding rights within the UK or convert its current rights. If your business only intends to use a mark in the UK, then it would be simpler to register the mark solely within the UK. The UK will remain a member of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), therefore if your business intends to use a mark in the UK, across the EU and potentially further afield, using WIPO to […]

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What is a Statutory Demand and when your business might need it?

14th August 2018

It is an unfortunate part of running a business that some customers do not pay for the services or goods provided to them. When wishing to recover payment, you have the following options: Serve a statutory demand on the indebted party; and/or Issue proceedings against the party for payment of the debt. We recently posted an article on the steps to be followed when pursuing a debt claim (http://www.ehlcommercial.co.uk/pre-action-protocol-for-debt-claims/ ). What is a Statutory Demand? A formal written demand for an undisputed debt. Any creditor can make a statutory demand on the provision that they satisfy the statutory requirements. As with the recovery of any liability owed, it is important to make a “timely demand” [the longer a liability is left, the more difficult it is to recover]. Depending on when the debt is payable and whether the party is and individual or a company will affect the form of statutory demand required. When can it be used? A Statutory Demand can be served upon an individual or a company in accordance with the Insolvency Act 1986. A Statutory Demand should only be used where a debt is undisputed. To otherwise present a Statutory Demand where the Creditor knows that there is a dispute is likely to be considered an abuse of process. There are government set levels of ‘permitted indebtedness’ that must be satisfied before a Statutory Demand may be presented. These are: £750.00 for companies; or £5,000.00 for individuals. Statutory Demands are not and should not be used as “debt recovery tools”. It is a genuine method of formally demanding payment of an unpaid liability. The general position [as with most formal action] is that if a Creditor is prepared to serve a Demand then they should be prepared to proceed with the presentation of a Bankruptcy Petition / Winding Up Petition. Benefits of serving a statutory demand Efficient and relatively inexpensive; Obviate the need for issuing costly proceedings; Can result in prompt payment or bring to light any dispute in relation to the amount being recovered. Commercial relationships should always be taken into consideration when pursuing a debt. Statutory demands, although efficient, can be viewed as an belligerent tactic and the debtor may seek to have a statutory demand set aside subject to very strict rules. What should I do if I have served a statutory demand and still not received payment? After 21 days, if a debtor has failed to pay the debt or agree to pay the debt you have the option to begin proceedings against the company or individual. A statutory demand can be used as evidence in bankruptcy or winding-up proceedings that a debtor is unable to pay its debts. There is a time limit of 4 months in which you must apply to begin proceedings or the statutory demand will expire. If proceedings are sought after this time the creditor must give reasons of the delay in a statement of truth in accordance with the Insolvency Rules 2016. Statutory Demands need to meet certain formality requirements, therefore legal advice should always be sought before considering whether a statutory demand is suitable. This article should […]

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