Minister for Insolvency calls for Consultation on change to Regime

Open date: 15 Oct 2010

Closing date: 10 Dec 2010

Response date: 19 Jul 2011

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This call for evidence invites people to have a say on how the existing consumer credit and personal insolvency regimes might be improved and seeks views on a number of Coalition commitments, including:

tackling unfair bank charges;

introducing a seven-day cooling off period for store cards;

introducing a power for a regulator to cap interest rates on credit and store cards; and

requiring credit card providers to make electronic statements available to enable consumers to judge whether an alternative credit card would provide better value for money.


Breeze & Wyles Solicitors LLP announce promotions in Expansion Drive

Breeze & Wyles Solicitors LLP are pleased to announce the promotion of four Solicitors from within its ranks as Members and Associates.
Brendan O'Brien Marketing Director said: "In this volatile market Breeze & Wyles Solicitors LLP continue to demonstrate a resilience that is not seen amongst its competitors. We are able to rightly reward our hardworking junior management for their efforts. The growth is seen in two areas at the traditional core of our business, Residential Conveyancing and Family. However, the promotions give the firm extra skills and expertise that were not previously existent in the business. We can now offer Mediation as part of our service, tracking the forthcoming changes in Legal Help and Matrimonial work suggested by the current Government."
He adds: " The Directors of the firm congratulate Adrian, Andrew, Henal and Karen for convincing them that the enhancement in their positions will deliver significant returns in the future both in terms of revenue, vision, direction and delivery of quality service to clients."

Adrian Toulson, a former partner of Cunnington’s Solicitors joins the membership with effect from 1 April 2011. Previously the firm’s senior Conveyancing Manager at the Bishops Stortford office, Adrian specialises in Volume Transactional Conveyancing and will become the Head of Transactional Conveyancing within the firm’s Breezeplus trading arm. His responsibilities include work generation and marketing to lenders, Corporate Estate Agents, Independent Financial Advisers and Panel Managers. Adrian also sits on and is an active member of the Executive Committee of the Conveyancing Association.

Andrew Moore, a Solicitor with the firm in our Private Client Conveyancing Department is promoted to Associate with effect from 1 July 2011.

Karen Johnson, a Solicitor with the firm in our Matrimonial Department is promoted to Associate with effect from 1 October 2011. Karen is a Resolution Accredited Specialist (Advanced financial provision and Domestic Abuse) and a Family Mediator.

Henal Gautam, a Solicitor with the firm in our Matrimonial Department is promoted to Associate with effect from 1 October 2011. Henal is a member of the Law Society Children Panel Accreditation scheme (adult and child representative),a member of the Association of Lawyers for Children and a member of Resolution


Innovating companies need to shine up their patents

Innovation companies need to gear up to maximise the advantageous tax regime that’s set to be introduced later this year for patented products.

And with the news that protected intellectual property can attract greater investment, the move looks all the more important.

The planned move to a 10% corporation tax rate for profits attributable to qualifying patents – the so called ‘Patent Box’ - was first announced in 2010 and the Government has now released proposals for consultation, with the final legislation set to be introduced in Autumn 2011.

The consultation comes as the Intellectual Property Office has reported that research has shown that innovative companies who are protecting their IP – whether through patents, copyright or trade marks - are consistently attracting higher levels of investment.

The reduced corporation tax rate is designed to encourage businesses to develop and actively exploit patents, rather than sitting on IP, as often happens. The new regime will be phased in over five years from 1st April 2013, with tax savings gradually rising from 60% of potential benefits in year one to the full 100% in year five. According to the current proposals, the new rate will apply to global profits derived from products patented in the UK or by the European Patent Office, but it has been left open as to whether other national patents may be included in future.
The system from 2013 will benefit both pre-existing and new patents, but is available only after a patent has been granted, with a back-dated claim of up to four years to the date of the patent application being currently proposed. The Government is particularly asking for feedback as to whether the four year backdating proposal is fair and reasonable and asking business to look at their historical data.

Companies who will be able to claim the reduced rate include both licence owner and exclusive licensees; where the patent is jointly owned, all collaborators will qualify if they can show a significant contribution.

Whilst the tax break will apply to both licence income and patent income embedded in sales proceeds of patented products, it does not seem likely that income from products made from a patented process will be included, with the possible exception of pharmaceuticals, and this may lead to a review of strategy for some companies.
Explained Brendan O’Brien Corporate Law expert: “There is scope for companies with activities that would not currently fall within the Patent Box to review their strategy. If it is possible to attribute activity to a patented product instead of the process, then they could attract the reduced rate. Although, as with all things, everyone needs to weigh up the admin burden of opting in to such a scheme.”

He added: “Every company involved in innovation and patenting must now review what they are doing to see where sales and licence agreements can best benefit from the new regime.

“The other tactic that should be quickly adopted is to submit narrow focus patent applications at an early stage to enable fastest access to the so-called Patent Box, these can then be backed up by the usual applications for broad protection at a later stage. Speed is of the essence as once the application is in, it opens the door to retrospective tax claims after qualification is awarded.”

Within the current proposals, there are no plans to include profits generated from copyright or trade marks in the new arrangements.

ENDS

This information is not intended as legal advice


Minister reveals value of intellectual property to UK businesses on visit to Nottingham

Reports published today show that investments made by businesses in products and services that are protected by intellectual property rights (IPRs) are worth £65 billion a year. The announcement was made by Minister for Intellectual Property, Baroness Wilcox on a visit to Nottingham.

Two new reports, ‘The Role of Intellectual Property Rights in the UK Market Sector’ and ‘Film, Television & Radio, Books, Music and Art: UK Investment in Artistic Originals’ commissioned by the Intellectual Property Office (IPO), highlight that more money than ever before is being invested in products and services that have protection in copyright, designs, patents and trade marks.

The reports also show that £3 billion of copyright investment is not included in National Accounts, meaning that a substantial amount of money is not accounted for in the value of intellectual property growth. The IPO is now working with the Office of National Statistics (ONS) to factor that into Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2012.

Baroness Wilcox was in the city to find out how the University of Nottingham and low carbon company 4energy have benefited from protecting their intellectual property. The first stop was at the University’s Technology Demonstrator, which is a showcase for local businesses interested in getting their technology licensed for commercial development.

Baroness Wilcox said:

“These reports show that business investment in intellectual property rights has more than doubled since 1990 and were worth at least £65 billion in 2008, a figure which is expected to continue to grow. This is a significant amount of growth and it’s important that this investment continues to build over the coming years.

“The University of Nottingham’s Technology Demonstrator is a great platform for developing intellectual property as it gives inventors the chance to show their creations to a potential worldwide audience. We have also recently launched a guide for universities to explain how they can best manage their intellectual assets and reap the financial benefits.

“It’s wonderful to meet students, researchers and inventors who are passionate about their creative ideas and have a world class venue in which they can develop.”

The University of Nottingham is one of the leaders in the UK when it comes to taking its discoveries from the lab into the marketplace. Baroness Wilcox met inventors like Professor Barrie Hayes-Gill, who runs Monica Healthcare Ltd. With support from the University, he has created commercial products out of his research findings, including a portable wireless foetal monitoring device for at risk pregnancies.

Professor Chris Rudd, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Knowledge Transfer at the University said:

“This visit to Nottingham by the Minister responsible for protecting and developing Britain’s innovation and new business ideas for the future — our ‘intellectual property’ — signals the real value and great potential that exists in UK universities as engines of ingenuity. The University of Nottingham has a very strong track record transforming brilliant discoveries and research insights from theory into reality.”

Following the visit to the University, Baroness Wilcox travelled to low carbon company 4energy who design and manufacture low energy cooling equipment for the Telecoms sector. They have made the most of the IPO’s green patent channel. This process gives priority to inventions with environmental benefits which can help to speed up the patent process.

There have now been over 500 green patent applications in the UK under the green channel application scheme, with over 100 of those applications being successful.

Baroness Wilcox said:

“The Government is committed to providing businesses with incentives to be environmentally friendly and the green patent channel is vital to that process. The scheme offers businesses the chance to bring their inventions quickly into the marketplace to be competitive.

“Businesses who decide not to protect their intellectual assets are taking a huge financial risk because they may lose any rights to their creative ideas. We would therefore always encourage companies to make an investment and make sure they gain the financial benefits they are entitled to.

“The recent Hargreaves review of intellectual property in the UK highlighted that strong evidence should drive future policy and it is clear from the reports published today that protecting rights can add billions of pounds to UK businesses.”

Stuart Redshaw, Chief Technology Officer and Co-Founder of 4energy Ltd said:

"The ability to accelerate the timescales from application to granting has made a significant difference to the way we are able to operate our business. We have been able to bring forward expansion plans and develop new customers with far greater confidence knowing that our intellectual property is protected.”

The main findings of the reports are:

Investment in UK businesses covered by intellectual property rights is worth at least £65 billion per year
Knowledge investment in rights protected by patents, trademarks, design and copyright has more than doubled since 1990
Over the last ten years business growth from intellectual property investment has been bigger than that of business investment in their fixed capital (for example, hardware, office material and general business spending, but excluding computers)
Copyright and design are the biggest contributors to growth of intellectual property rights – copyright includes software as well as music, publishing, broadcast and film
Around £3 billion of copyright investment is currently not included in national accounts and the Intellectual Property Office is working with the Office of National Statistics to adjust Gross Domestic Product starting in 2012.

The IPO are now working alongside the Office for National Statistics to provide these figures on a annual basis and highlight the growth of intellectual property in the market sector. The two reports have been released today and full details can be found on the IPO website www.ipo.gov.uk.


Investor seeking Majority Stake in IT Consultancy Operation

General characteristic of buy-side demand

LARGE IT FIRM IS LOOKING FOR IT CONSULTING FIRM IN EUROPE AND US

Kind of target (company, project etc.)

IT CONSULTING / OUTSOURCING FIRM IN EUROPE, US

Target location

EUROPE, US

Maximum funds available for acquisition

US$30M

Stake for acquisition

AT LEAST 51%

Industry, Branch

IT outsourcing, application development outsourcing, testing outsourcing, etc.

Specialization

- AT LEAST 15% EBITDA
- LARGE CLIENTS
- 100+ STAFF PREFERRED

Legal form of the target (any, JSC, State company etc.)

PERFER PRIVATE COMPANY

Technology (programming languages)

NOT SPECFICIED

Experience in IT projects development in certain business domains (name the domains)

IT, TECHNOLOGY AND/OR TELCO CLIENTS
for example, if they work for clients such as Microsoft, IBM, will be very good)

If you are interested in beginning a dialogue please contact me on brendan.obrien@breezeandwyles.co.uk stating the nature of the business that you are offering.


Hospitality or Bribery? From 1 July 2011 make sure you know!

With effect from 1 July 2011 the Bribery Act came into force.

Individuals risk a maximum sentence of 10 years for paying or receiving bribes under the act, while companies - even those with no headquarters in the UK - can receive fines for failing to prevent bribery.

Companies that are caught could also face a permanent ban from tendering for government contracts across the EU.

The SFO will be the lead prosecutor of breaches and must prove bribery to a criminal standard.

So do you have a policy or procedures that enable you to detect when this is happening, but more importantly have you told your employees what you will find unacceptable?

Contact Jane Dismore, Head of Employment law at Breeze & Wyles Solicitors LLP if you need to create these procedures and policies.