Welcome to the February 2019 edition of our Retail & Consumer monthly news round-up
This newsletter focuses on key news and updates for retail and consumer-facing businesses around the world.
At the end of the newsletter, you can also find details of some of our upcoming events, which we think might be of interest to you and your team.
In this newsletter:
Last month, the United Kingdom's competition watchdog released its latest guidelines for social media influencers. The guidelines elucidate the application of existing consumer protection laws and industry rules on advertising to the sphere of social media influencers. In light of the UK's recent efforts to fortify consumer protections in the context of social media marketing, how do the existing Singapore Guidelines hold up against their UK counterpart? And what can we do to improve the Singapore Guidelines?
On 29 January 2019, the Belgian Competition Authority (BCA) imposed a €98,000 fine on HM Products, a wholesale distributor of infrared cabins, for imposing maximum rebates on its retailers.
The BCA found that HM Products only admitted retailers to its distribution network if they accepted to comply with the maximum-rebate policy. In addition, HM Products was found to monitor compliance with the policy throughout the distribution relation and to threaten to rescind the distribution contract in case a retailer granted higher rebates to end-customers.
Following Matthew Taylor's 2017 review of Modern Working Practices, the UK Government has provided further detail on its plans to reform and "future proof" the areas of domestic employment law which it perceives as unfit for purpose in the context of a rapidly changing labour market.
Uber drivers have been found to be workers, and not independent contractors, by the Court of Appeal in a decision held by a majority of two. Despite express contractual terms to the contrary, the Court of Appeal found that the reality of the commercial relationship between Uber and its drivers was such that the drivers provide the skilled labour force which enables Uber to deliver its services to passengers.
the Dutch Senate approved the legislative proposal transposing the second Payment Services Directive (Directive 2015/2366 – PSD2) into Dutch law on 4 December 2018. At that time, it was expected that the effective date of this legislation would be 1 January 2019 (acknowledging that the draft decree implementation PSD2 (dealing with changes in lower regulation) was still pending at that time).
However, this took somewhat longer, in anticipation of the advice from the Council of State (Raad van State) on the the draft decree implementation PSD2.
The amendment which modifies the existing Intellectual Property Act has been approved and currently is underway to publication in the Spanish Official Bulletin (BOE) to come into force, once these amendments are approved by the Senate procedure (with the exception of the modification to the first additional disposition, paragraph 1).
In December 2018, Samsung Electronics held a product launch conference in China, where it announced a collaboration with the popular street wear brand "Supreme". The announcement made headlines across the world, but not quite for the right reasons.
The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has ruled that a trade mark registration must be refused for a sign which designated the facilities in which the product was produced and included a geographical name.
The Court of Appeal has held that where the language of the description of a trade mark extended to cases where the colour purple was applied to the whole visible surface of the packaging of goods, as well as to cases where purple is the predominant colour applied, this did not define a sign within the meaning of section 1(1) of the Trade Marks Act 1994 (1994 Act) and was invalid (Société des Produits Nestlé SA v Cadbury UK Ltd  EWCA Civ 1174).
The UK government has published details of the new UK product marking to mirror the CE mark for certain products to be placed on the market in the UK in the event of a 'no deal' Brexit on 29 March 2019.
Advance Series: Nurturing Innovation in the UK
5 March, London
Brexit: How it will affect your EU trade marks and design rights
5 March, Dubai
English Contract Law for European Retail & Consumer businesses
28 March, Amsterdam*
*The Amsterdam Contract Law seminar is part of a series we will be running across Europe for Retail & Consumer businesses. Please get in touch if you would like to register interest for any of the upcoming dates:
17 April, Paris
8 May, Milan
9 May, Rome
28 May, Madrid
13 June, Copenhagen
17 September, Helsinki
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Our Wellness team continues to work closely with Welltodo - a leading global resource for the Wellness industry. Welltodo has just released its 2019 Business of Wellness Trends Report, which sheds light on how businesses can navigate industry-wide trends and future-proof their brand. Access your full copy of the Report here, and claim your exclusive 10% discount with the code: WTD10