October's Monthly Newsletter

October's Monthly Newsletter
October's Monthly Newsletter

Corporate News - Greenaway Scott Advises on over £100 million of deals in 12 months

Greenaway Scott has acted on more than £100 million worth of deals in the past 12 months putting the firm high on Experian's top legal advisor rankings for 2017.

The firm which was founded in 2012 is a boutique commercial practice specialising in all aspects of corporate and commercial law and advising a full range of businesses from start-ups to PLC's. Greenaway Scott has advised more than 13 companies across a wide range of sectors including, Imspex Diagnostics, TrakCel, Flexicare Medical, and CoolTherm during this period.

In its most recently publicised deal, Greenaway Scott, led by Matthew Sutton, advised Vaultoro, the first and longest-running bitcoin/allocated gold exchange company on its seven-figure investment from German-based fintech investor FinLab AG. This cross-border transaction will provide Vaultoro with the opportunity to materialise its vision of further expanding its bitcoin/gold platform.

Greenaway Scott also recently advised American based healthcare manufacturer Clinical Innovations Inc on their seven-figure acquisition of German Medical specialist Brenner Medical GmbH. The acquisition has provided Clinical Innovations with the opportunity to broaden its global presence, particularly in Europe. The purchase has also provided a platform for the company to improve product reach in Germany, the continent's largest economy. Through a variety of disposals, management buyouts and acquisitions the Cardiff based law firm has acted on deals with an impressive aggregate value in excess of £100m.

Nigel Greenaway said: "Our focus this year has been to expand our offering and explore diverse international markets which provide enhanced growth opportunities for us. In respect of the Vaultoro deal, we feel this has undoubtedly been achieved, and we are delighted to have assisted them in securing this seven-figure sum.

"Thanks to our success this year, we are now planning ahead for further growth in 2018, with the aim of researching further opportunities in fast-growing markets such as Bitcoin. Constant re-evaluation of our offering and growth is vital to ensure we continue to meet our clients' needs, while staying on top of industry trends. We look forward to the opportunities that lie ahead for us in the next year."

Commercial News - Software Protection

Software is protected by copyright automatically providing that:

  • The work falls into a category of work under copyright law - software falls under literary work;
  • The work must qualify for protection under UK law; and
  • The term of copyright has not expired

The protection is granted due to the creation of the software. However, copyright will protect only the software in the form written by a programmer; its source code. Other intellectual property rights such as trademarks will be able to protect the logos used in the software as this would not be protected by copyright. It is only the literal aspects of the software that is protected by copyright. The main benefit of copyright protection is that it prevents people from copying your work.

The duration of copyright protection in software lasts for 70 years from the end of the calendar year in which its author died. However, if the software is generated by a computer (meaning that the computer created it mechanically using a pre-entered programme) then the duration of the protection is 50 years from the end of the calendar year in which the work was made.

Although copyright is granted automatically, it is useful to keep records and evidence of the works you have created. You can make people aware of your claim to copyright by using the © symbol, your name and year of publication on your work. Although this is not proof of the copyright ownership it may be beneficial if there was ever an infringement. It is also useful to send yourself a copy of your work, clearly, date stamped and by special delivery. Do not open the envelope. You could also send copies to a solicitor. This does not prove that the work was created by you but it proves that the work was in your possession at a particular time.

There is also the option to patent software, however, this is very difficult. To obtain a patent the invention must new, involves an inventive step, is capable of industrial or technical application and does not fall within the exclusions. UK and EU law states that patents for a programme for a computer will not be granted. However, if the software/computer programme contains a necessary technical character it may be patentable. The EU and UK patent offices have been granting patents in relation to software/computer programmes for many years. The issue here is that there must be an inventive step.

If you would like advice on intellectual property and how to protect it please contact the Commercial team by emailing commercial@greenawayscott.com or visit our website at www.greenawayscott.com.

Employment - Workplace Privacy

A major ruling was passed this month in conclusion to a decade-long appeal of the case of Bărbulescu v Romania. This case involved the dismissal of an employee and the reasonableness for an employer to monitor an employee's emails. The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled against the decision made in the Romanian courts in 2007, which was that a Romanian employer acted lawfully when it monitored an employee's email account.

Although the employer had a strict rule in place against the use of computers for personal purposes, there was no reference to monitoring emails or computer use. The employee was asked to set up an email account to answer clients' enquiries but used it to exchange private messages with his brother and fiancée.

The ECHR'S initial ruling was misreported as creating a right for employers to spy on their staff's activities at work. The employee claimed that the privacy of his emails should have been protected by Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which guarantees respect for private and family life and correspondence.

The ECHR initially decided that the firm had acted reasonably in monitoring his emails in the context of disciplinary proceedings and found there had been no violation of his rights. On appeal, it was held that employees had a right to privacy in the workplace and they should be warned in advance if their emails are to be monitored.

Although the ECHR cannot establish new laws, its decision could form significant guidance and legal precedent about when and how far monitoring is permissible by an employer. The ECHR is an institution comprised of the 47-member state Council of Europe and not the European Union, meaning its decisions will still carry weight in Britain after Brexit.

The employment team at Greenaway Scott are more than happy to assist with any clarification or further information regarding recruitment. Please contact us at employment@greenawayscott.com.