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Monthly Archives: June 2012

Samsung tablet banned

An American court has applied a preliminary injunction to the sale of Samsung’s first Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet. The ban applies to the USA and relates to a patent dispute lodged by rival tablet manufacturer Apple, which has to pay a $2.6m (£1.67m) bond to enforce the injunction, as a guaranteed form of compensation to Samsung should the patent dispute prove fruitless for Apple. Ironically, the ban does not apply to the latest version of the Samsung tablet, the Galaxy Tab 10.1 II.

The actual patent dispute case is scheduled to begin in California on 30th July 2012. Colleen Chien, a professor at Santa Clara Law in Silicon Valley, commented on the granting of an injunction in light of the fact that the case has not yet begun: “The relief being given to Apple here is extraordinary … Preliminary injunctions are rarely asked for and rarely granted.

If your business is dealing with patents, this professionally written set of Patents, Know-How and Design Agreements can be of assistance in securing your business model.

Google teams up with Asus for tablet

The first own-brand tablet to be produced by Google – the Nexus 7 – will be manufactured by the Taiwanese company Asus. The device, which is expected to hit stores from mid-July, carries a retail price of £127, putting it in direct competition with Amazon’s Kindle Fire.

It is perhaps curious that Google chose to go with Asus as opposed to utilising its own hardware unit, Motorola Mobility, which it recently acquired (see Simply-docs blog entry for 22nd May 2012). But the decision will not affect the specs: a 7 inch screen, quad-core CPU (central processing unit), 12-core GPU (graphics processing unit) and, unsurprisingly, Google’s Chrome browser installed as default.

If you’re entering into a commercial agreement – whether it regards the manufacture of goods or something entirely different – ensure that you have a watertight contract in place. This downloadable range of professionally drafted legal and commercial contracts spans a broad range of both specific and general applications. They have been designed with a diverse range of business in mind and can be easily tailored to a variety of contexts.

Soldiers turned away from bar

It has been reported that soldiers attending a corporal’s funeral as pallbearers were refused service by a Coventry pub on account of their uniform. Browns Independent Bar, which has a policy of not serving people in uniform, has since apologised. A Facebook page has now been set up, calling for people to boycott the pub on Armed Forces Day (30th June 2012).

This is just another example of the growing issue of armed forces discrimination, a study of which was recently published by Lord Ashcroft, as reported in the Simply-docs blog entry of 28th May 2012. Research carried out by the former Conservative deputy chairman indicated that armed forces personnel – both present and past – potentially suffer discrimination just as any other minority group. But, unlike the case for many other so-called protected characteristics such as sex, race and age, there is no legislation preventing discrimination against members of the armed forces. Politicians from the main political parties are now expected to hold round-table talks with the aim of introducing new anti-discrimination laws for the armed forces. If this goes ahead, it could lead to membership of the armed forces becoming a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010.

Even without the potential introduction of a new protected characteristic, there are plenty of existing discrimination laws of which every responsible employer needs to take account. This downloadable  comprehensive range of policies and guidance notes can help you to comply with your responsibilities under the Equality Act 2010 and other equal opportunities legislation, including promoting diversity, preventing discrimination and preventing bullying and harassment.

Apple vs Motorola case dismissed

Motorola Mobility, which is in the process of being acquired by Google (see Simply-docs blog entry of 22nd May 2012), can breathe a sigh of relief after a US judge brought an end to the pursuit of an injunction by Apple against its mobile phone rival. Judge Richard Posner’s “with prejudice” ruling means that neither company can re-file the suit, although an appeal is possible.

In a 38-page ruling, Judge Posner noted that the question of specific patent infringement was separate to the issue of being allowed to sell an overall competing product: “Apple is complaining that Motorola’s phones as a whole ripped off the iPhone as a whole … But Motorola’s desire to sell products that compete with the iPhone is a separate harm – and a perfectly legal one – from any harm caused by patent infringement.

If your business is dealing with patents, this professionally written set of Patents, Know-How and Design Agreements can be of assistance in securing your business model.

£20 fee to appeal copyright infringement

Under revised plans designed to enforce the UK’s Digital Economy Act, internet users suspected of accessing or uploading illegally copied files will be sent letters from their internet service provider (ISP), informing them they are suspected of copyright infringement. If they subsequently decide to appeal against any allegations, they must do so within 20 days and are required to pay a £20 fee.

The existence of a fee has been criticised by campaign group Consumer Focus, whose chief executive Mike O’Connor said “Copyright infringement is not to be condoned, but people who are innocent should not have to pay a fee to challenge accusations. Twenty pounds may sound like a small sum, but it could deter those living on low-incomes from challenging unfair allegations.

If you are dealing with copyright issues, these downloadable Copyright Legal Documents are designed to assist individuals and businesses in managing and protecting their copyright.

Ocado shares drop 18%

Online supermarket Ocado, which has a customer base of 337,000, has seen its share value drop 18% following what has been described as a “cautious” outlook statement. The grocer, which makes half its sales within the M25, is concerned that the travel disruption expected to be caused by the Olympics could have a negative impact on its business.

Ocado chief executive Tim Steiner said “There is uncertainty as to the effect of the forthcoming Olympic games“. Although the company’s revenues rose 11.4% to £308m in the 24 weeks to 13th May 2012, the average order size in the first half of the year had dipped slightly to £113.10.

If you are responsible for the management of shares in your company, this downloadable set of Share Capital and Profits template documents can be used for a range of purposes, from issuing shares to reducing share capital.

Meanwhile, this downloadable Olympics 2012 Guidance for Employers guides employers through the issues that the Olympic and Paralympic Games will pose for businesses. It deals with flexible working, volunteering, annual leave requests and unauthorised absence.

Employee suffers severe burns

Marling Leek Limited, a Staffordshire company that makes webbing for seatbelts and harnesses, has been fined £5,000 and ordered to pay costs of £5,827 after employee Stewart Wood trapped both arms in a machine and suffered severe burns. Mr Wood, a dye machine operative, was trying to unravel webbing which had became wrapped around the machine’s rollers when the accident took place. An HSE investigation concluded that the company had failed to implement a safe system of work.

Commenting, HSE Inspector Lyn Spooner said “There is no excuse for companies failing to discharge their health and safety duties, especially when these failings lead to someone being hurt. HSE will continue to take action against those who fail to protect their employees.

This set of template risk assessment forms can help you follow a systematic method of looking at work activities, assessing what could go wrong and deciding what controls you need to implement in order to prevent loss, damage or injury.

Equal pay audits for sexist employers

The government is introducing a new policy which will essentially force employers found guilty of breaking equal pay rules to carry out a full audit, at an estimated cost of £12,800. There will be certain exemptions, such as for “micro-firms” with less than 10 employees. It is thought that the changes could prompt a 25% increase in out of court settlements by employers trying to avoid the risk of being forced to undertake an audit.

Announcing the proposals, equalities minister Lynne Featherstone said “An employment tribunal which finds that an employer has discriminated on grounds of sex in contractual or non-contractual pay will be obliged to order the employer to conduct a pay audit in cases where continuing discrimination is likely. An audit would not be ordered if an audit has been completed in the last three years, the employer has transparent pay practices or the employer can show a good reason why it would not be useful.

To help avoid any potential discrimination claims, ensure that your company’s policies are compliant with the Equality Act 2010. You can download a comprehensive range of policies and guidance notes to help you comply with your responsibilities under equal opportunities legislation, including promoting diversity, preventing discrimination and preventing bullying and harassment.

Microsoft acquires Yammer

Yammer, a social networking site designed for “company collaboration, file sharing, knowledge exchange and team efficiency”, has been sold to Microsoft for $1.2 billion. The company, which is four years old and has five million users, is used by firms including the motor giant Ford and the business services firm Deloitte. It is thought that Microsoft will use the new acquisition to enhance its range of office software.

Commenting, Yammer’s chief executive David Sacks said “When we started Yammer four years ago, we set out to do something big. We had a vision for how social networking could change the way we work. Joining Microsoft will accelerate that vision and give us access to the technologies, expertise and resources we’ll need to scale and innovate.

If you are considering selling part or all of your company, this set of template documents can help with the process.

5,000 jobs to go at Air France

Air France has announced plans to cut around 10% of its total workforce, or just over 5,000 jobs, by the end of 2013. The move forms part of a restructuring plan for the ailing company to reduce costs and return to growth.

Air France believes that it will be able to avoid compulsory redundancies through natural turnover – possibly amounting to some 1,700 jobs – as well as voluntary redundancies. Following the announcement, the share price of its parent company Air France-KLM rocketed 6%.

If your company is facing the prospect of having to make redundancies, ensure that you follow the correct procedures with the help of these professionally written template redundancy documents.

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