Legal News Round-up: August 2012

No comments, posted on August 8, 2012

Freshfields loses Apple case as Galaxy tablets not ‘cool’ enough to be copies. Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has been defeated for the second time in a week after the High Court ruled that Samsung’s Galaxy tablets do not look “cool” enough to be mistaken for an Apple iPad. In his judgement, Judge Birss QC ruled that Apple cannot ban sales of the Galaxy tablet under claims that the designs are too similar to that of an iPad, explaining that consumers are unlikely to get the products confused.

“They don’t have the same understated and extreme simplicity which is possessed by the Apple design,” he said. “They’re not as cool. The overall impression produced is different.”

At the heart of the row was whether Samsung could sell its Galaxy tablet across Europe without infringing Apple’s Registered Community Infringement protections for its rival iPad model. In April Apple successfully applied to have claims brought by Samsung’s Korean parent, Samsung Electronics Co (SEC), dismissed on jurisdictional grounds .

In May Freshfields turned to 11 South Square heavyweight Michael Silverleaf QC to appeal Mr Justice Mann’s refusal to stay an application made by Samsung for a declaration that it does not infringe the Apple design.

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North West personal injury firm Edwards Hoyle has revealed its most bizarre personal injury claims from the last year. The firm has been instructed in cases involving an elderly man who was injured when his mobility scooter spontaneously combusted; a woman who was trapped in the doors of a lift for 15 minutes and a smoker who was standing on the balcony partaking in his habit when the ground crashed down beneath him.

Managing partner David Edwards said the list demonstrates that accidents causing serious injury can happen anywhere.  He said: “We wanted to release some of our experiences of the more unusual claims to really highlight how accidents can happen, no matter where you are or what you’re doing.

“Obviously, all resulted in injury and aren’t to be taken lightly, but seeing just how bizarre some of the claims we’ve dealt with for people over the past 12 months show that you really never know when injury could strike.”

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Government wrong to make graduate stack shelves, High Court rules. The government was wrong to require a graduate to leave her internship in a museum to stack shelves in a high street shop, a high court judge ruled today. However, the government had not breached her human right to protection from slavery and forced labour, the judge also ruled.

The review challenged the Jobseeker’s Allowance (Employment, Skills and Enterprise Scheme) Regulations 2011 that had obliged her to leave vocational work experience for a government back-to-work scheme that offered no training or prospect of advancement.

Foskett found that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) had failed to comply with 4 (2) of the regulations, which required giving Reilly written details of the scheme, such as a start date, its duration and penalties for not participating.

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Law Commission proposes package of measures to help protect customers from hidden charges buried in the small print. Gym, mobile phone, airline and energy contracts that contain charges buried in the small print could become a thing of the past under proposals to protect consumers from unfair terms.

Fierce competition to cut prices in markets often dominated by price comparison websites has led to an increase in traders offering products or services at seemingly cheap prices. They do so while hiding extra charges and onerous conditions deep in the contracts that accompany them, said the Law Commission and the Scottish Law Commission.

Both commissions are proposing legal reforms that would make it easy for consumers to challenge contracts where total costs are not made clear upfront.

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