Landlords asked to give consent to a tenant’s planning application may be entitled to refuse consent, even when the lease allows the proposed use applied for, if the application increases the risk of the tenant using enfranchisement laws to compulsorily acquire the freehold.
Employers considering whether a patent for an invention created by an employee is of ‘outstanding benefit’ under patent laws, so compensation should be paid to the employee, should compare income from the invention with that from other inventions - not the entire income of the employer.
Sub-contractors brought in to complete existing works should consider asking the main contractor to disclose the terms of contracts with previous sub-contractors, or risk a claim that by agreeing to finish the existing work, the new sub-contractor induced the main contractor to breach those contracts. If necessary, consider asking for indemnities from the main contractor in case a claim is made.
Employers considering covert monitoring of staff at work must ensure they can show their actions strike a fair balance between their rights and those of their staff, to avoid breaching their employees’ rights to privacy under human rights law.
Employers must follow fair procedures and comply with the rules of natural justice when investigating allegations against workers, including at meetings held while these are ongoing, or risk a constructive dismissal claim - a ruling makes clear.
People who work with others on, for example, a screenplay will welcome clarification from the Court of Appeal on when they can claim joint authorship of the work.
Trade mark owners should review their trade mark registrations to ensure the specifications in their registrations are sufficiently precise and clear, and that there is an intention to use each mark in relation to all the goods and services specified in the registration - or risk them being invalidated, following a recent legal opinion.
Employers should review their policies and procedures to ensure they safeguard employees against harassment by third parties; or where they fail to do so, ensure that failure is not ‘related to’ a protected characteristic such as race, gender or disability.
Small and medium-sized businesses should not be afraid to engage with larger businesses which infringe their registered trade marks, as registration of their mark puts them in a strong position, a recent ruling makes clear.