Retail Issues Unwrapped

International
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I am pleased to welcome you to our Summer 2012 Retail Issues update. We hope to capture relevant issues and topics of interest for in-house legal, HR and business personnel alike. In particular, in this issue we cover the following:

On Guard - Squatters are here to stay
Due to recent issues involving the Occupy London movement and squatting, we look at the impact this has on freehold property owners and tenants/occupiers. Our article examines the possible risk squatters pose, weighing up the potential effect on the cost of your business and what preventative measures may be taken to protect your business where relevant.
India opens up to foreign ownership of single brand retailers
Earlier this year, the Indian government opened up the retail market to foreign ownership of single brand retailers. We examine the challenges for foreign retailers wishing to enter the Indian retail market.

Eco-Alliances - Not all cooperation ends in conspiracy
Retailers are coming under increasing pressure to make the sector more sustainable whilst driving down costs. However, there is reluctance on the part of supermarkets and other companies in the grocery sector to collaborate on eco-projects for fear of the heavy hand of the UK’s Office of Fair Trading. We look at how fears of cartel action are stymieing efforts to form eco-alliances.

Hot Topic: A Low-VAT diet
The Government appears to have been burnt by the proposed introduction of the so-called ‘pasty tax’, a great amount of headline space has already been taken up in relation to George Osborne’s announcement that all food sold over ‘an ambient air temperature’ will be subject to the 20% standard rate of VAT. We look at the associated challenge to HMRC’s position that the sale of hot takeaway food should be subject to VAT in the first place.

Interpreting contracts in accordance with business common sense
Where a dispute arises as to the wording of a contract, the interpretation most consistent with business common sense shall prevail. This means that a court will consider the commercial purpose of a contract when determining the meaning of any unambiguous wording, rather than adopting the literal meaning of that wording. We look at the various factors which the court will take into account when considering the merits of each case.

Towry Law - Post-termination restrictive covenants
We look at where the courts dismissed a claim for breach of a non-solicitation clause and the facts pertaining to such decision. We examine contractual protections that can be put in place when protecting your business, including post-termination restriction on dealing.

Contributory patent infringement
We examine the supply of products which are, on their face, non-infringing, but include interchangeable parts which would become infringing if replaced with particular alternatives. We look at recent case law and note that care should be taken when attempting to circumvent patent protection afforded to competitor products by supplying non-infringing products, with a recommendation to use them with additional or interchangeable parts.