Latest updates

Hong Kong civil disputes to embrace apology
RPC
  • Litigation
  • Hong Kong
  • August 22 2017

The Hong Kong Legislative Council recently passed the Apology Bill with the aim of removing certain legal disincentives for parties to convey an apology in the context of civil disputes. In the footsteps of many overseas jurisdictions which have already adopted apology legislation, Hong Kong is the first Asian jurisdiction to enact this type of legislation, which generally precludes an apology from being taken into account in the determination of fault and liability.

Supreme Court upholds smoking ban in mental health facilities
Wilson Harle
  • Litigation
  • New Zealand
  • August 22 2017

The Supreme Court recently upheld a ban on smoking in public mental health facilities, ruling that the ban did not breach patients' rights, even of those compulsorily detained on the property. The court held that there was no requirement under the Smoke-free Environments Act to provide a dedicated smoking room, and rejected the appellant's claim that the smoking prohibition infringed a number of rights under the Bill of Rights Act.

Congresswoman Waters introduces Bad Actor Disqualification Act
Morrison & Foerster LLP
  • Capital Markets
  • USA
  • August 22 2017

The ranking member of the House Committee on Financial Services, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, recently introduced the Bad Actor Disqualification Act 2017. This draft legislation directs the Securities and Exchange Commission to implement more rigorous and public processes for granting waivers that restore certain benefits to bad actors. These benefits include reduced oversight, reduced disclosure requirements and limited liability.

Code of Civil Procedure amendments aim to improve functioning of regional appellate courts
Gün + Partners
  • Litigation
  • Turkey
  • August 22 2017

Due to the need for the existing court procedural rules and organisational structure to be harmonised with the newly established three-tier court system, amendments have been made to the Code of Civil Procedure with the purpose of eliminating emergent problems in the functioning of regional appellate and administrative courts. The most remarkable amendment regards the period for appeal before the Court of Cassation.

District court refers questions on sale of second-hand e-books to ECJ
AKD
  • Litigation
  • Netherlands
  • August 22 2017

Since the launch of its online second-hand e-book service in 2014, Tom Kabinet's activities have been opposed by Dutch publishers, which have unsuccessfully initiated interim injunction proceedings against the company with regard to e-books that were initially purchased and downloaded lawfully (with the copyright owner's consent). At present, proceedings on the merits of the case are pending before The Hague District Court, which recently decided to refer questions to the European Court of Justice.

Inadvertent disclosure – a pragmatic expansion of the obvious mistake doctrine
RPC
  • Litigation
  • United Kingdom
  • August 22 2017

The Court of Appeal recently allowed an appeal of a first-instance decision not to order the deletion of a privileged email disclosed by the appellant to the respondent. In arriving at its decision, the court extended the principles around inadvertent disclosure identified in Al-Fayed v The Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis to cover situations where an inspecting solicitor does not identify that a document has been mistakenly disclosed, but another solicitor acting for the same party subsequently does.

Upper Tribunal upholds Charles Palmer ban and fine
Squire Patton Boggs
  • Company & Commercial
  • United Kingdom
  • August 21 2017

The Upper Tribunal recently upheld the Financial Conduct Authority's decision to fine and ban Charles Palmer, CEO and majority shareholder of Standard Financial Group Limited, for failing to ensure that appropriate controls and mitigating measures were in place to prevent material risks to underlying customers. The tribunal agreed that Palmer had breached Principle 6 of the Statement of Principles and Code of Practice for Approved Persons and held that his failings were sufficient to justify the financial penalty.

Protecting patented processes – product and process claims
KISCH IP
  • Intellectual Property
  • South Africa
  • August 21 2017

South Africa has an abundance of natural resources and, as a result, a large proportion of patent applications are filed covering a process or apparatus used in the production of a product. In terms of patent law, there is no substantive difference between the patentability requirements for a patent for a product or a patent for a process. However, there are important differences between product and process patents when it comes to enforcement.

New mineral export rules and their implications for mining companies
Ali Budiardjo, Nugroho, Reksodiputro
  • Energy & Natural Resources
  • Indonesia
  • August 21 2017

A recently promulgated regulation has triggered a major shift in Indonesia's mineral and coal mining industries. Mineral mining companies that depend heavily on mineral exports will be particularly affected by the new policies. Primary changes require all companies operating under a contract of work to transfer to a single licensing regime and introduce stringent mineral export processing standards.

HIPO on the rocks in COCKTAIL WORLD dispute
Danubia Patent & Law Office LLC
  • Intellectual Property
  • Hungary
  • August 21 2017

The Hungarian Intellectual Property Office (HIPO) recently granted an opposition action in respect of the likelihood of confusion, but rejected it in respect of the prior unregistered mark's reputation. On review, the Metropolitan Tribunal agreed with HIPO in respect of the likelihood of confusion, but found that it had failed to consider the claim on the basis of copyright. In this respect, the tribunal stated that the applied-for mark was a direct copy of the prior mark, considering that the parties were competitors.

Shareholder activism: considerations for BVI companies
  • Company & Commercial
  • British Virgin Islands
  • August 21 2017

As the world's leading incorporation vehicles, BVI companies are listed on exchanges and conduct business around the world and may therefore expect to be occasionally involved in activist campaigns or other challenges from shareholders. However, many investors and their advisers may be less familiar with BVI company law than their domestic legislation.

Down, but not out – initial adverse decision not bar to future recovery of '.ca' domain name
Smart & Biggar/Fetherstonhaugh
  • Intellectual Property
  • Canada
  • August 21 2017

A pair of recent decisions under the Canadian Internet Registration Authority Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy demonstrate that a trademark owner which fails to obtain a domain name transfer at a first panel hearing may nonetheless achieve a favourable outcome upon a second panel hearing. The cases in question also highlight the importance of submitting carefully prepared evidence that establishes the owner's prior rights to the trademark in Canada.

Proposed amendments to Patent Rules published for public consultation
Smart & Biggar/Fetherstonhaugh
  • Intellectual Property
  • Canada
  • August 21 2017

The government recently opened a public consultation on proposed amendments to the Patent Rules. The changes relate principally to pending amendments to the Patent Act that are intended to bring it into compliance with the Patent Law Treaty. A number of significant changes to Canadian patent practice will result if the proposed rules come into force in their present form.

Drug patents may fare better than other technologies in inter partes review proceedings
Fitzpatrick, Cella, Harper & Scinto
  • Intellectual Property
  • USA
  • August 21 2017

The US Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) recently released updated statistics showing the fate of resolved inter partes review proceedings. These statistics show that a total of 4,563 inter partes review petitions were resolved as of March 31 2017, including 1,577 final written decisions. In 81% of these final written decisions, at least some instituted patent claims were found unpatentable. This statistic has contributed to concerns that the PTAB is a patent 'death squad'.

District court refers questions on sale of second-hand e-books to ECJ
AKD
  • Intellectual Property
  • Netherlands
  • August 21 2017

Since the launch of its online second-hand e-book service in 2014, Tom Kabinet's activities have been opposed by Dutch publishers, which have unsuccessfully initiated interim injunction proceedings against the company with regard to e-books that were initially purchased and downloaded lawfully (with the copyright owner's consent). At present, proceedings on the merits of the case are pending before The Hague District Court, which recently decided to refer questions to the European Court of Justice.

New rules for mismatched unbundled capacities at interconnection points
Schoenherr Attorneys at Law
  • Energy & Natural Resources
  • Austria
  • August 21 2017

E-Control recently published a draft of the amendment of the Gas Market Model Ordinance 2017. The envisaged amendment – and especially the newly implemented capacity conversion service – resolves the capacity mismatch issue by compensating network users for the economic disadvantages that arise from having to buy double capacity due to the bundling regime at interconnection points.

Investigating technical evaluation reports of utility model patents
Lee and Li Attorneys at Law
  • Intellectual Property
  • Taiwan
  • August 21 2017

According to the Supreme Administrative Court, when conclusions of a technical evaluation report differ from invalidation actions, the IP Court has the authority to determine patent validity. In accordance with the System of Administrative Litigation Events, if the IP Court holds that evidence and materials provided by the parties have successfully resolved any patent validity disputes, its judgment should not be found to contravene the laws and regulations.

Sixth Circuit balances rights of US Forest Service and rights of private property owners provided by Michigan law
Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP
  • Real Estate
  • USA
  • August 18 2017

Balancing the interests of the federal government as owner of thousands of acres surrounding Crooked Lake and the rights of private owners, the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit recently ruled that the US Forest Service exceeded its authority when issuing rules restricting recreational use of the lake. According to the court, relevant Michigan law grants owners of property surrounding the lake the right to reasonable use of the lake.

Tax treatment of conversion of debt into equity and artificial repayment of debt
Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr
  • Corporate Tax
  • South Africa
  • August 18 2017

In order to assist companies in financial distress, it has been proposed that definitive rules dealing with the tax treatment of conversions of debt into equity be introduced. The Draft Taxation Laws Amendment Bill 2017 therefore proposes that the rules dealing with a debt that has been cancelled, waived or discharged should not apply to a debt that is owed by a debtor to a creditor that forms part of the same group of companies.

Another brick in the wall: Constitutional Court reviews statutory rent regulations
Graf & Pitkowitz
  • Real Estate
  • Austria
  • August 18 2017

In 2015 Austria introduced an act which allows individuals, under certain conditions, to challenge laws before the Constitutional Court as unconstitutional. This gave hope to many landlords, which saw this as a tool to challenge the existing rent control regulations. The Constitutional Court recently handed down two new decisions on the same matter with surprising results.

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