Welcome to the October 2020 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, including our latest briefings on the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the sector. You can find all our COVID-19-related updates for retail and consumer businesses on our dedicated In Focus page here.
At the end of the newsletter, you can find details of our recent news and events, which we think might be of interest to you and your team.
In this newsletter:
Australia: How can luxury brands respond to the re-prioritisation of values being led by consumers?
The luxury fashion sector is synonymous with carefully curated branding and reputation management. McKinsey & Company, together with the Business of Fashion, have recently published a report titled The State of Fashion 2020 Coronavirus Update. The Report provides a number of insights into what the future of luxury retail would look like after a shift in consumer focus, the timing of which has been escalated as a result of the pandemic. The report noted that the "average market capitalisation of apparel, fashion and luxury players dropped almost 40 percent between the start of January and March 24, 2020" . There is however, a glimmer of hope, as there is an expectation that consumers in the luxury segment will "return more quickly to paying full price for quality, timeless goods, as was the case after the 2008-2009 financial crisis" .
Despite the optimism, there is likely to be a considerable amount of work to be done by luxury retailers to respond to consumer driven changes to values. We set out our thoughts on this topic for luxury brands with a presence in Australia.
Webinar: Is blockchain soon to be an essential feature for the luxury sector?
In conjunction with the Luxury Law Alliance, we invited luxury brands to join experts in this exciting area to get the inside track on why blockchain could be the new ‘must-have’ solution for a range of issues impacting the sector.
One of the fastest growing technologies, it has had its share of ups and downs over the past decade, but is gaining traction in the luxury marketplace in a range of areas including supply chain management and counterfeit prevention.
During this webinar, which took place on 28 October, five experts from the world of luxury, law and technology, including Dr Henry Franks (Chief Software Officer, PowerX Technology) and Calogero Scibetta (Head of Business Development, Everledger), shared their insights on how blockchain could solve some of the luxury market’s key challenges.
Get in touch if you would like to hear about future events for Luxury businesses.
Webinar: Fashion renaissance - a unique year in review
We are delighted to be joining Fashion Law London at their next event - Fashion Renaissance: A Unique Year in Review.
Taking place on Thursday 10 December, 12.00 - 14.50 UK time, this online event provides a unique opportunity to both reflect on recent developments, issues and opportunities, and anticipate what lies ahead for the fashion industries at a time of significant disruption and change. The event will feature a number of speakers with extensive knowledge of the fashion sector, who will bring in their experience from both private practice and in-house roles.
From Bird & Bird's Luxury, Fashion & Retail team, Manon Rieger-Jansen will provide an IP perspective on fashion and gaming, and Eleonora Rosati will explore recent fashion-related IP developments before chairing a panel discussion on licensing, marketing and image contracts in an ever digital fashion marketplace.
Competitive Edge: Special edition on the Vertical Agreement Block Exemption Regulation
In a special edition of Bird & Bird's Competition & EU Law newsletter, we dive into the Vertical Agreement Block Exemption Regulation, providing handy snapshots of where the law currently stands on key topics including:
Poland: New consumer rights for the self-employed
Statistics estimate that over three million people in Poland are self-employed. As of 1 January 2021, self-employed persons will be granted certain rights which are currently enjoyed solely by consumers. The changes refer to all entities who sell goods or provide services to self-employed persons. We discuss the amended law and how businesses should prepare for the upcoming changes.
France: Losses incurred as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic - the battle is intensifying between insurers and merchants before the French courts
After a widely reported first decision issued by the Paris Commercial Court on 22 May 2020 in the Rostang vs. Axa France case, disputes between insurers and merchants (in most instances, restaurateurs) before the French Courts have continued to increase over the past few months as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Following governmental measures to curtail the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, including the closure of facilities such as restaurants, bars and cinemas, French restaurateurs tried to activate their insurance contracts and claimed compensation from their insurers, but generally without success. This resulted in several judicial actions aimed at claiming both financial compensation and the nomination of judicial financial experts in view of assessing the amount of the losses incurred.
The above-mentioned decision issued by the Paris Commercial Court was the first one of a quite long, and still ongoing series of decisions, which are difficult to generalize and not necessarily consistent between them.
UK: Proposed changes to the Modern Slavery Act
The UK government is planning to toughen modern slavery reporting rules following a parliamentary review of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 (MSA) and the Home Office Transparency in Supply Chains Consultation that closed in September 2019.
Amongst other changes, the current guidance on the key areas of focus for voluntary statements will be made mandatory, and reporting obligations will be extended to public bodies with annual budgets in excess of £36 million.
Europe: Commission Digital Finance Package strategies
On 24 September 2020, the European Commission unveiled its Digital Finance Package. The package covers 5 key areas:
1. Digital finance strategy (DFS)
2. Retail payments strategy (RPS)
3. Draft Regulation Of Crypto-assets (MiCA)
4. Pilot regime for market infrastructures based on distributed ledger technology (DLT)
5. Digital operational resilience / cloud computing (DORA)
Our International Finance and Financial Regulation Group has reviewed the package and summarised their key findings.
UK: An overview of the UK government financial package for COVID-19 relief
The comprehensive financial support package offered by the Chancellor has continued to increase and evolve since his initial announcements during the 2020 Budget. The government revealed its Winter Economy Plan on 24 September, which introduced a new job support scheme, and extended a number of policies with the aim of providing further employment support, and easing the burdens on business. As we move into the next phase of the recovery programme, the government's support packages are intended to be more targeted with a new focus on the preservation of “viable” jobs rather than all jobs.
UK: Has IR35 slipped down your to-do list?
The government’s much trailed changes to the off payroll working rules for the private sector were delayed by a year days before they were due to come into effect in April 2020. But the new deadline of 6 April 2021 is now only six months away and businesses need to ensure they are ready for the change. This will involve checking the status of existing contractors, preparing to issue status determination statements to contractors who will continue to work after 6 April and putting in place new on-boarding processes for all contractors. We set out what you need to do before the April deadline.
Singapore: The good, the bad faith, and the bubbly
The French Champagne Association successfully opposed the "ChamPengWine" trade mark before the Singapore Registry. The Hearing Officer found that "ChamPengWine" did not contain or consist of the "champagne" geographical indication and was neither deceptive nor misleading, but was applied for in bad faith. This article examines the decision in the broader context of the bad faith ground generally.
Europe: MEPs issue their list of demands for Digital Services Act
New binding rules to tackle illegal content online, stricter rules for targeted advertising and an EU body with the ability to impose fines are just some of the demands of Members of the European Parliament for the forthcoming Digital Services Act. The proposed legislation, which is due before the end of the year, will usher in new regulation for online platforms and digital marketplaces.
Global influencer marketing webinars
Influencer marketing has revolutionised the marketing and advertising landscape. However with this relatively new and evolving channel of consumer engagement comes new risk areas. Influencer marketing has attracted increased levels of regulation, resulting in legal and commercial challenges to those involved.
Understanding consumer law and local advertising regulation is critical to running a successful influencer marketing campaign. As both regular advisers in this area and thought leaders around the issues that are on the horizon, we would like to share our experience and advice. We are running a multi-jurisdictional webinar which will assist brands, agencies and influencers on the following:
We will be hosting the webinar on two dates at different times to ensure that at least one slot will work for you and your colleagues! We hope you are able to join us.
Click here to register for Thursday 19 November (15.00 - 16.30 GMT)
Click here to register for Friday 27 November (09.00 - 10.30 GMT)
Sustainability webinar: How will your business change for the new landscape?
In partnership with EP Magazine, we recently hosted a webinar alongside 11 leading figures in the hospitality industry to provide a unique insight into sustainability. We covered a range of topics across the sustainability spectrum, from environmental and energy, to social, economic and people.
If you missed it, you can watch the recorded webinar here.
We advise IKEA on investment in deep-tech start-up
We advised Inter IKEA Group on a minority investment in the German deep-tech start-up nyris GmbH, a company specialising in visual intelligence technology. As well as the founders Dr. Anna Lukasson-Herzig and Markus Lukasson, the shareholders of nyris include the venture capital company eCapital as well as Axel Springer.
Our success in the UK legal directory rankings
We are delighted with our recent rankings in Legal 500 and Chambers UK. As well as group rankings for our Retail, Hotels and Franchising teams, a number of our team-members have received individual rankings in both directories. Thank you to all our clients who provided feedback and helped us achieve these rankings.