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The recent Communication from the European Commission on cross-border e-commerce is likely to have a significant impact on online trading within the European market. The proposals are designed to break down artificial barriers created by online suppliers that restrict the freedom of choice for online buyers located in different EU member states. The final version of the proposals is expected next year with legislation coming into force in mid-2017. It is therefore advisable that online suppliers closely follow the debate –Read More–

On 1 July 2016, the UK High Court held in the case of The Software Incubator Limited -and- Computer Associates UK Limited that intangible software may qualify as “goods” for the purposes of the application of the Commercial Agency Regulations 1993 (“the Regulations”) (implementing Council Directive 86/653/EEC on the co-ordination of the laws of EU Member States relating to self-employed commercial agents). This decision marks a significant movement in the law. Previous case law had explicitly excluded software which was –Read More–

Car rental sales in the United Kingdom amount to an estimated £1.2 billion industry. However attempting to rent a car normally means surfing through various price comparison websites in search of a easily understandable and affordable deal with no hidden charges only to be surprised at the last minute by an unexpected but unavoidable charge. In a crackdown on price comparison websites who are often found to blur the real cost of renting a car, the UK’s Competition and Market –Read More–

What you need to Know? Despite the UK’s vote to leave the European Union, companies doing business in the UK can still continue to trade with the European Union in exactly the same way as they have done in the past. The UK is still a member of the EU and until it negotiates an exit deal or the two year period for the re-negotiation for such a deal expires the UK remains a full member of the European Union –Read More–

As cloud storage has widely spread, there have been growing concerns from the UK authorities about whether consumer rights are effectively protected. New guidelines for consumers and a new checklist for industry bring fresh obligations to providers, who should follow the new developments closely. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) recently launched a review of compliance with consumer law in the cloud storage industry. In this context, it is critical for companies offering cloud storage services to keep abreast of –Read More–

Britons are due to go to the polls to vote in a referendum on 23rd June 2016 to decide whether the UK should remain a member of the EU, or exit (a so called “Brexit”). As many readers will be aware, there is no certain answer on what effect, whether positive or negative, Brexit would have on the UK economy or individual sectors of it. Below, we summarise a few key considerations when considering the effect of Brexit on the –Read More–

On 25 May 2016, and following an in-depth sector inquiry and consultation period, the European Commission (“EC”) published proposals for a set of new e-Commerce rules. The EC believes that this three-pronged strategy will benefit consumers and businesses alike by providing facilitated online buying and selling, increasing consumer protection through enforcement measures, and providing legal certainty for businesses. Additionally, the new rules are anticipated to enhance the functioning of Digital Single Market which, according to the EC, has the potential –Read More–

Since 15 February 2016, all EU retailers who sell online should have complied with the rules of the EU’s new online dispute resolution (“ODR”) platform. Compliance is mandatory for all retailers — from small independent shops with online stores to multinational retailers. What is the ODR platform? The ODR platform is a website, administered by the EU, to serve as a portal for handling complaints between consumers and retailers relating to provided goods or services. Once a consumer submits a –Read More–

On 8 March 2016, the Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”) published a policy document recommending that the government overhaul the currently franchised rail system. (Click here to access the full policy document.) 99% of Britain’s trains presently run under franchise agreements, which companies bid for and obtain from the government. The main criticism of the system is that rail operators face little to no competition; effectively being granted a monopoly when they are awarded franchise contracts. After over a year –Read More–

The European Commission has announced a delay to the implementation of MiFID II (the latest piece of EU legislation dealing with the regulation of investment services within Europe). MiFID II will amongst other things introduce greater regulation of certain markets where complex financial products can currently be traded with limited reporting or transparency requirements. Greater regulation of these types of trading arrangements was widely viewed as one of the key lessons learnt from the global financial crisis. On 10 February –Read More–

In order to update the legislation regarding novel food which has been in place for almost 20 years, the European Parliament adopted on November 16, 2015 a new regulation 2015/2283 in order to respond to the food industry’s wish for more unified decisions across Europe and fewer regulatory hurdles blocking innovation. The Regulation will come into force from January 1, 2018. “Novel food” is defined as any food product which was not generally consumed in the European Union before 1997 –Read More–

Earlier this month, the UK’s competition watchdog, the Competitions and Markets Authority (“CMA“), criticised Transport for London’s (“TFL“) proposed new rules for private hire vehicle companies, which would impose significant restrictions and burdens on companies such as Uber. Since March 2015, TFL has been conducting a wide-ranging review into private hire vehicle regulations and entering into consultations. In its September 2015 Consultation paper, TFL lay down twenty-five suggested measures which seek to reform the rules concerning private hire operators, private –Read More–

In July 2015, the French Competition Authority (“FCA”) took a look back at the year 2014, in a published Report, and pinpointed the magnitude of its powers to curb anti-competitive practices. As evidenced below, the data reported by the FCA testifies to the efficiency of less adverse and more preventive tools favored by the FCA such as the leniency programme — pursuant to which partial or total immunity may be granted to a company which comes forward to report an –Read More–

On the 3rd December 2015, the EU Commission called time yet again on EU Member States enticing multinationals to become resident through favourable tax treatments. It announced a public investigation into a multinational burger bar’s tax treatment by the state of Luxembourg, under the suspicion that Luxembourg was affording the multinational unlawful state aid through the favourable treatment. This investigation comes hot on the heels of similar recent investigations by the Commission into a multinational coffee chain in Holland and –Read More–

On 22 October 2015, the Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”) published the provisional findings of its 18 month investigation into the UK’s £16 billion small and medium-sized enterprise (“SME”) and personal current account (“PCA”) sectors, and opined that UK banks are not being put under sufficient competitive pressure to adequately protect the interests of customers and innovate in the market. The banking sector is largely dominated by four main players which make up 85% of the SME banking market and –Read More–

On Tuesday 6 October, the European Court of Justice (“ECJ”) decided that the EU / US Safe Harbor regime for data transfer is no longer safe. Background on the EU-US Safe Harbor The EU Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC (the “Directive”) states that personal data may only be transferred to countries outside the EU when an adequate level of protection is guaranteed. Because the laws of the United States are not considered by the European Union to provide an adequate level –Read More–

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has responded today to the first super-complaint to be brought in relation to the groceries sector. The complaint was raised on 21 April 2015 by Which?, the largest independent consumer body in Europe, who has spent the last seven years investigating suspect supermarket pricing practices. The CMA’s response is significant as it reprimands commercial pricing practices used in many other industries. The super-complaint raised the four main issues discussed below: Firstly, Which? alleged that –Read More–

Passengers of severely delayed flights may claim compensation from airlines, unless the airline shows the delay was due to “extraordinary circumstances”. One year ago, on 11 June 2014, the English Court of Appeal in Huzar v limited the scope of this “extraordinary circumstances” defence. It is now a year on and compensation claims have been slow to take off. The legal representative of the Claimant in that case has recently stated that 19,500 delayed passengers are still miles away –Read More–

On 5 March 2015, the European Court of Justice (CJEU), ruled in favour of greater patient protection and compensation after a question of product liability was referred to them by a German court. The facts relate to faulty implantable pacemaker and cardioverter devices. The German court had asked two questions of law of the CJEU on preliminary ruling, both relating to the Product Liability Directive 85/374 (the Directive). These questions were whether: Article 6(1) of the Directive (which concerns whether –Read More–

French law n°2015-195 of 20 February 2015, transposing EU law on aspects of intellectual property and cultural heritage (“Law of 20 February 2015”), is part of an effort to strengthen the protection and promotion of French and European cultural heritages, in particular in terms of related rights. Transposition of Directive 2011/77/EU The amendments made to Article L.211-4 of the French Intellectual Property Code, on the term of protection of related rights, are the most remarkable contributions of the Law of –Read More–