Owners of patents looking out for infringers should review their patent claims to check whether the wording is intended to protect an invention literally as defined in the patent claim, or whether the patent is intended to protect an inventive concept beyond the literal interpretation of the wording used, following a landmark Supreme Court ruling.
Legal Alert - August 2017
A monthly checklist from Atom Content Marketing highlighting new and pending laws, regulations, codes of practice and rulings that could have an impact on your business.
Organisations should be identifying and preparing to implement necessary changes now, ahead of the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which is due to come into force in May 2018.
Case law: Employees must show disclosure is in the 'public interest' to be protected under whistleblowing law
Employers faced with a worker claiming to have made a 'protected disclosure', and therefore that they are protected under whistleblowing law, should consider whether the disclosure is in the public interest. If it isn't, the worker is not protected.
Case law: Duty to maintain and repair premises did not make landlord liable for lack of handrail on stairs
Whilst landlords must ensure they maintain and repair their premises - or risk breaching defective premises law - they are not legally required to make the premises safe by installing new items, according to a recent ruling.
Case law: Companies with sole shareholder-directors should review articles in case their death stops company functioning
Companies should review their articles to ensure that the death of a shareholder-director won't leave them without either owners or directors. If it will, they should amend the articles, as the court has confirmed it will exercise its discretion to rectify a company's register of shareholders to resolve the situation only in exceptional circumstances.
Trustees and employers should review their pension scheme rules following a landmark Supreme Court ruling that pension schemes cannot lawfully provide lower pension benefits for surviving civil partners and same sex spouses of scheme members, compared to male and female spouses.
Case law: Courts will imply term into agreement not to prevent or delay other party from carrying out their obligations
Contractual parties should ensure that nothing they do could be interpreted as preventing or delaying the other from carrying out their contractual obligations, as the courts will ordinarily imply a term into the agreement preventing them from doing so, a recent case makes clear.
Case law: Subsequent change in law overrides provision in 1946 Will preventing adopted children from inheriting
Will-makers should periodically review their Wills to ensure there are no subsequent changes in the law that could mean their intentions will not be carried out on death.
Case law: Employee reference that omitted answers and explanations lands employer in legal hot water
Employers should ensure the references they provide which go beyond the basics are true, accurate and fair, and that omitting answers or failing to provide an explanation of information given is not misleading, otherwise they risk legal claims - as a recent ruling shows.
Case law: Will set aside for 'fraudulent calumny' as daughter poisoned mother's mind against her sister
Potential beneficiaries under a Will should avoid deliberately criticising or 'casting aspersions' on the Will-maker's 'natural beneficiaries' with a view to getting them excluded from the Will, or risk any subsequent Will being declared invalid for 'fraudulent calumny'.