Archive for November, 2010

How to protect a domain

Friday, November 12th, 2010

We often get asked how to protect a domain name so that a third party cannot launch a similar domain name on the internet.

There is not a single registration system that allows you to make claim over a domain (and all of the various suffixes) however you can protect a domain name in the following ways;

(1) Trade Mark Application.
By filing a trade mark application for the distinctive element of the domain name (for example the distinctive element of is the term lawdit) this will enable you to prevent third parties (in most circumstances) from using similar domains in relation to similar goods or services in the territory that your trade mark relates to.

However if a third party uses the domain in relation to dissimilar goods and services or in a different territory it will be much harder to acquire control of the domain.

(2) Purchasing Domains
The other option (which should really compliment 1 above and not replace it) is to purchase all the variations of domain names and suffixes to avoid others from doing so. This can of course be expensive but it is good practice to own all of the more popular domain names to avoid a conflict in the future.


Tweeting, Facebook, MySpace and Employees

Friday, November 12th, 2010

Employees who also have profiles on social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, myspace and any business networking or hobby and craft social networks as well as blogs, should ensure they have checked their employer’s code of conduct or employee handbooks and ensure they comply.

Even if an employer does not include social media as part of their code of conduct or employee handbooks, employees should take care when making comments about their employer or other employees when updating their status on social media sites. Employers do not need to be a member of Twitter to see what tweets mention them. Similarly, depending on privacy settings, Facebook status updates, wall postings and photos can be seen by employers. Facebook’s privacy settings allow users to create lists of friends so employees can create a ‘work list’ that includes their employer and colleagues who are also friends and check that status updates complaining about a bad day at work are only seen by friends who are not also colleagues.

Openly criticising your employer in a letter to a local newspaper or magazine or bringing your employer into disrepute by bad behaviour at an after-work party, can result in disciplinary proceedings being brought against an employee. So can blog articles, status updates or tweets criticising an employer. There have been instances of employees being sacked after criticising their employer or complaining about their job on-line where the employee did not realise their employer could see their updates.

Search companies such as Google and Bing can now include social media updates as part of their ‘real time’ search features. This means that employee’s tweets or Facebook status updates aren’t just visible to other Twitter or Facebook users, but also to browsers making a search via a search engine. Search engines see this as a valuable addition to their services because news stories are surfacing on social networking sites before they appear on more traditional news sites.
This means employees need to take care about what they say about their employer or job before updating their social status or tweeting. Employers should have policies in place regarding the use of social media or extending their code of conduct to include on-line activity.

However, employers need to take care when monitoring their company name on-line and ensure their monitoring is not discriminatory.


New Consumer Credit Rules

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010

The Government today laid new rules in Parliament to protect borrowers.

These rules implement the European Consumer Credit Directive and will come into effect from 1st February 2011.
They will work in conjunction with the Office of Fair Trading’s irresponsible lending guidance for lenders which will be published shortly.

The new rules for unsecured credit agreements include:

  • * a 14-day window for consumers to cancel credit agreements without penalty;
  • * lenders will have to assess consumers creditworthiness before providing a loan;
  • * lenders will have to clearly explain their products to help consumers make the right choices;
  • * a right for consumers to make partial early repayment (this is in addition to the existing right to repay early in full); and * a standardised information form setting out important information details for consumers before they sign a credit agreement.

Consumer Minister Kevin Brennan said:
“These new rules will further strengthen a culture of responsible lending and borrowing whilst helping put consumers back in the driving seat with their finances.”

“The balance of power needs to shift back to consumers and these new rules will help them make better informed decisions before committing to any credit agreement.”


  1. Details of the new rules will be available from Office for Public Sector Information (OPSI) towards the end of w/c 5 April
  2. The ECCD rules will apply to unsecured credit agreements up to £60,260. The ECCD regulations will come into force in the UK as of 1 February 2011.
  3. Lenders will have from 30 April 2010 until 31 January 2011 to comply with the new provisions, but are encouraged to offer consumers the new rights as early as possible.