Archive for June, 2009

Douglas Does..but Walt Disney posts from me for a couple of weeks, I am off to the south of France via Disneyland Paris.

Is Disney the most valuable brand on the planet? Its certainly one of the best protected, and as a proud father of a 4 year old daughter I know how much of my household income goes on Disney branded goods. 

Anyway enough law – let the vacation commence.


Privacy notices – no points for legalese

The Information Commissioner’s Office has just launched a new code of practice on privacy notices – broadly, any form of wording which an organisation uses to tell people what it will do with their personal information.

Although not legally binding, the code is likely to be the regulator’s benchmark from now on when investigating complaints related to privacy notices.

The headline message is to be realistic about how interested people are in reading privacy notices and as to their ability to understand legal language. With that in mind

·         keep the wording clear, succinct and accessible;

·         concentrate on anything which you intend to do with an individual’s information which is not obvious in light of the circumstances in which he or she has provided his or her information;

·         where appropriate, layer a short form privacy notice, highlighting key points, over a fuller notice which can be accessed by anyone who is interested; and

·         remember that the main purpose of a privacy notice is to protect the individual by making sure that he or she understands, in key respects, what you will be doing with his or her information, not to protect your organisation by hiding potentially difficult issues in long and complex legal drafting.

Whilst, arguably, none of this is new (in that it is what, on one interpretation of the law, organisations ought to have been doing anyway), I think we can probably expect to see privacy notices becoming more user friendly, with the code pushing data controllers towards a more pragmatic approach.

All organisations should certainly be reviewing their privacy notices in light of the code. The examples of good and bad practice on the last pages are particularly useful for establishing if you are on the right lines with existing documentation.


Originally Posted 22/06/2009

London Calling 2 – Hilary Weatherstone

While in London I also met up with Hilary Weatherstone Director of Technology at Lloyds TSB Corporate Markets  Group.
Hilary is a specialist at providing capital financing for large (>£5m) IT and outsourcing projects. 
What was interesting to me was the ability of the supplier in an IT deal or outsourcing to “piggy-back” on the better credit rating of the customer in order to obtain cheaper financing than it could obtain on its own.
In order to  achieve the piggy backing the deal contracts need some custom drafting – but nothing that would cause too much concern.
Interesting stuff.
Originally Posted 11/06/2009 

London Calling 1 – Valuation Consulting

last week I was down in London and in-between meetings I caught up with Kelvin King of Valuation Consulting (now part of BNP Paribas).
Kelvin is a specialist at Intellectual Property (IP) valuation.  His background is as a taxman, and he got into IP valuation when he was valuing the estate of John Lennon.
 Anyway Kelvin can help value IP.
 He also has some interesting ideas about moving IP to low tax jurisdictions in order to minimise tax.  Watch this space for a potential seminar on this subject.
Originally posted 11/06/2009

When will organisations pay for data breaches?

Grant Campbell has an article on the above topic published at
It highlights that current sanctions for breaching UK data protection law are fairly toothless, but notes that some new sanctions are apparently coming soon.
Remember even if the sanctions for breach of data protection law are toothless, it can still carry a fairly large PR risk. 
Also for financial sector entities there is a seperate risk of fines from the FSA, and the FSA has not been shy in fining organisations for data breaches.

Originally Posted 02/06/2009

Slumblog John

John McGonagle , an assistant in Brodies’ Technology Information and Outsourcing Group has had an article published in the Journal of the Law Society of Scotland about TV show formats and associated intellectual property rights.
It was prompted by watching the movie Slumdog Millionaire and in John’s words
“While watching Slumdog Millionaire the intellectual property lawyer is struck by several typically pedantic thoughts. Isn’t this blatant product placement of the game show Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? Are the film makers allowed to do this? Did the film makers have to pay the company which makes Millionaire? Did the company which makes Millionaire pay the film makers? And if this is all it takes to win some Oscars, then what’s to stop me making a film based around The Weakest Link? These questions may seem flippant, but they raise serious legal issues.”
Originally posted 28/05/09

How to “Sign” Documents Remotely Using PDF Scans

Earlier this month the English law society published some guidance about how to sign a contract using scanned or faxed signature pages. 
Maybe I am showing my age – but I still prefer to have two copies of the contract, each with two “wet” signatures on them (or more in the case of a multi-party contract). 
However, more and more often that is too difficult to arrange, or there is a deadline that means we need to exchange signature pages.  
Although quite hard to read the guidance is fairly pragmatic. It sets out what many of us have being doing in practice.
 It is also good timing – I am about to close a deal where I need to completed by scanned signature pages. 
 As a results I have tweaked the counterparts and fax execution clause in the document (a boilerplate clause) to reflect the law society guidance.
Originally posted 28/05/2009

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