Here is a round up of some of the latest legal developments for October 2018 in areas of Intellectual Property and Employment Law, with a brief summary relating to Brexit.
- Technical notices where there is a ‘no deal’ Brexit The government has addressed geographical indications, copyright, exhaustion of IP rights, patents, trademarks and designs in technical notices. These notices have been criticised for not being entirely clear and for causing confusion in terms of whether the UK will have involvement in the United Patent Court in the long term, but for the moment these are our best guides if no deal is reached.
- Method of removing computer malware is a valid patent – In the case of Clearswift Ltd v Glasswall (IP) Limited, the Patents Court found that a method of removing malware from computer files was valid and was not obvious from prior art. The application to revoke this was unsuccessful.
- Manual of Patent Practice update – The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) has issued an update which took effect from 1 October 2018 reflecting decisions in cases such as Jushi Group v OCV Intellectual Capital. This was a case where the claimant alleged a patent was anticipated by and/or obvious over an earlier US patent describing an overlapping range of glass compositions and examples within that range. The Court rejected this, and said the skilled person would not seriously contemplate working within the area of overlap and would not consider it obvious to modify and overlap. This decision was upheld on appeal, as the overlapping range did not deprive the claims of novelty or inventive step). You can access the update to the Manual here.
- TUPE and removal of contractual travel time allowance – The EAT decided that removal of this allowance was not void, as would often be the case with a change to terms and conditions of employment because of a TUPE transfer, as the employer had withdrawn the allowance because it was outdated and unjustified, not for reasons related to the transfer.
- Resignation from employment and unfair dismissal – resignation must be clear and unambiguous and the EAT upheld a tribunal decision in East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust v Levy that an employee's written notice related to an expected change of job within the NHS and was not notice of resignation from employment. The employer was fully aware at the time the notice was given of the circumstances and in accepting her notice as valid resignation, it dismissed her unfairly.
- The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) report on the UK's post-Brexit work immigration system – Recommendations in this report include making it easier for higher-skilled workers to migrate to the UK than lower-skilled workers, giving no preferential treatment for EU citizens migrating to the UK for work and abolishing the cap on sponsored work visas under Tier 2 (General).
- The Consumer Credit (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018 and The Friendly Societies (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018 – the first of these Regulations has been introduced to address references to the EU which are no longer appropriate and other deficiencies as a result of the UK withdrawing from the EU, relating to the current consumer credit legislation. The second of these Regulations seeks to address deficiencies relating to the UK’s withdrawal from the EU linked to friendly societies, such as mutual associations for insurance, pensions, savings or cooperative banking.
Conference season has meant there has not been much by way of update over the last few weeks, but at time of writing there seem positive movements by the UK and EU towards a Brexit Agreement and we will update you on this, as it becomes clear. The autumn budget is also set for 29 October 2018 and so there may well be some new legislative changes to report on after that.
*Please note that this update does not constitute formal legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Always ask a solicitor if you are unsure of how the law relates to your business*