Parties to a contract should ensure they can justify any interim payments made to the other side while the contract is performed, as they risk losing the right to reclaim any overpayments mistakenly made once the contract is complete.
Customers intending to test or trial patented products should ensure their activities do not amount to infringement of the patent or, if they do, that the testing amounts to experimental use for purposes related to the subject matter of the invention.
Employers should ensure it is clear when works events have ended, meaning that their liability for the safety and wellbeing of their workforce has also ended — otherwise they risk being found vicariously liable for post-event injuries, a recent case highlights.
Companies should ensure they are aware of, and avoid infringing UK competition law, or risk the Competition and Markets Authority applying to disqualify their directors from acting as a director for up to 15 years.
Parties to contracts which exclude liability for ‘consequential loss’ should consider whether the ‘usual’ meaning of consequential loss applies to the contract – or whether consequential loss has some other meaning – following a recent case.
Trade mark owners should monitor the markets for their goods within the EU to identify anyone selling, or dealing with ‘grey’ goods bearing their mark, as criminal proceedings can now be brought against the sellers.
Shareholder/directors in small, quasi-partnership companies should consider, before excluding a shareholder from management decisions, whether the shareholder could bring both an unfair prejudice claim and a wrongful dismissal claim in the same legal proceedings.
Businesses entering into an agreement with a director or employee to defer their pay should ensure the agreement makes clear whether unpaid arrears are contractually payable on termination of the individual’s employment — or risk a claim for unlawful deductions from wages.
Employers making employees redundant should avoid requiring them to take gardening leave during the consultation, or otherwise conducting the process in a perfunctory and insensitive, or risk the process being treated as unreasonable and unfair.
Employers considering disciplining an employee should, where the allegations and/or consequences are particularly serious, ensure their investigation takes into account all factors relevant to the reasonableness of their decision, including the credibility of the employee, and is not just limited to the specific allegations.