Welcome to the May 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.

Please get in touch, or visit our webpage for more information about Bird & Bird's Retail & Consumer Group.

In this newsletter:

Competition & EU Law The European Commission's review of the Vertical Block Exemption Regulation

The growth of e-commerce over the last decade has had a significant impact on the market. Trends like the increased importance of online sales and the emergence of new market players such as online platforms significantly affected the distribution and pricing strategies of both manufacturers and retailers.

As followed from the E-Commerce Sector Inquiry of the European Commission ("Commission"), this translated into an increased presence of manufacturers at the retail level who for example opened their own online shops and an increased use of restraints in both agreements and concerted practices between manufacturers and retailers (‘vertical restraints’). This raises the question whether the current rules suffice to deal with these trends.

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Data Protection

Our Data Protection team launches Bird & Bird Privacy Solutions to help clients comply with GDPR
Extending our offering beyond legal data protection services, we now provide Data Protection Officer (DPO) services and GDPR Representative Services.

What are these new General Data Protection Regulation related services?

  • DPO services: Organisations with higher risk processing (e.g. spa businesses, sophisticated retail tech organisations, certain data heavy companies) have to appoint a data protection officer. The DPO is comparable to a compliance executive – they must monitor compliance, raise awareness, train staff, inform and advise organisations and deal with queries from individuals and regulators. Many organisations are appointing their own DPOs, but some, due to size or other reasons, are seeking to outsource this. Our product is here to help.
  • GDPR representative services: Organisations with no European Economic Area (EEA) presence but who provide goods or services to, or monitor the behaviour of, individuals in the EEA are subject to the GDPR (e.g. a Tokyo based e-commerce platform serving EU based customers). Most organisations in that situation need to appoint a representative – an entity in the EU which can be a point of contact for individuals and regulators, to assist in ensuring compliance. Here, again we are able to help your organisation with this requirement.

Want to know more?

Please consult our DPO or GDPR Representative webpages or contact our Managing Director: Vincent Rezzouk-Hammachi

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Employment

Off-payroll working: preparing for the proposed changes to IR35 before 2020

As part of the government's crackdown on "disguised employment", the IR35 "off-payroll" rules that apply to the public sector will be extended to the private sector.

From 6 April 2020, private sector businesses will become responsible for assessing the employment status of the off-payroll workers they engage. These changes are intended to increase compliance with the IR35 "off-payroll" rules that have been in place since 2000 and will directly affect a large number of businesses and contractors.

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Intellectual Property

Singapore's new Geographical Indications regime

As part of Singapore's obligations under the European Union Singapore Free Trade Agreement (EUSFTA), Singapore has committed to enhancing its existing regime for the protection of Geographical Indications (GIs). A key enhancement is the establishment of a new framework to register GIs in Singapore. Singapore's new GI Registry accepted GI applications from 1 April 2019.

In particular, as part of its commitment under the EUSFTA, Singapore will recognise a list of close to 200 GIs originating from the European Union within its protection framework.

Businesses in the retail and consumer space, particularly in the agricultural or food and beverage industry are encouraged to take advantage of Singapore's new GI framework to obtain registration of their GIs.

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Regulatory

Prohibition of sales on public holidays and the ruling of the Constitutional Court of the Czech Republic

The Act on Opening Hours has prompted controversial reactions right from the outset of its legislative process. The reason for adopting the Act on Opening Hours was (i) to regulate an area of relations that had not yet been regulated by legislation, and, at the same time (ii) to take into account the values of the European Union which place particular emphasis on the reconciliation of work and family life.#

At present, there are two contradictory proposals in the Chamber of Deputies of the Czech Republic, one of which (submitted on 8 June 2018) seeks to amend the Act so as to exclude wholesalers from the scope of the existing legislation ("Amendment"), while the second one (submitted on 12 September 2018) seeks to repeal the Act ("Proposal for Annulment").

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Influencer marketing: the Digital Chart is now part of the Italian Code of Marketing Communication Self-Regulation

From 29 April 2019 the so-called "Digital Chart" is finally part of the Italian Code of Marketing Communication Self-Regulation thus becoming binding - and no longer a mere guideline - towards subjects and entities that adhere, directly or indirectly, to the Italian advertising self-regulation system.

The Digital Chart Regulation, recalling the wording of the old guidelines, lists the requirements to be met - as well as the wording and hashtags to be used - to make each of the most widespread forms of digital commercial communication (such as, for example, endorsements by influencers and celebrities, videos, native advertising, in app advertising and advergames, editorial content, etc.) distinguishable, so as to comply with the requirement of recognisability set forth by article 7 of the Code.

Read more >


Events and Activities

Events

Hate speech, fake news and social media: time for new responsibilities or moral panic?
17 June, London
English Contract Law for non-English lawyers working in Retail & Consumer businesses
25 June, London
This is part of a wider seminar series taking place across Europe - view the full schedule here.
Welltodo Summit
26 June, London
Alibaba's Business & IPR Protection Summit
12 June, London
*SAVE THE DATE* for our third Retail & Consumer Annual Update, taking place on 19 September in London. More details to follow...

Our News

We recently hosted "Food at the Heart of Culture: future trends in food and service", together with EP Magazine.

We were joined by expert speakers from the worlds of hospitality, hotels, restaurants and beyond, who explored the power of food and service in daily life with an audience of over 180 guests.

We are delighted to share this conference video, which highlights some of the key talks and themes of the day