Tempting Fate: What Trademark Licensees Stand to Lose (or Win)

The Bankruptcy Code gives special protections to licensees of intellectual property when a debtor, as licensor, seeks to reject the license. However, the Bankruptcy Code does not include trademarks in its definition of “intellectual property.” So, are licensees of trademarks given any protection when debtors reject trademark licenses? If the Supreme Court grants a recent petition for writ of certiorari, we may get an answer.

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Is it time for Estate Agents to “move-on”?

Handing House KeysEstate agents’ fees (which often feel excessive on top of all the other costs of moving house) have been largely accepted as a normal cost of selling your house. Or at least they used to be. However this may not be the case anymore with property owners increasingly using online agents that offer low-cost fixed fees to try and reduce the overall costs of selling a house. The rise of online agents over the years such as ‘Purple Bricks’ and ‘Emoov’ has eaten away at the market share of traditional high street estate agents.

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Revised Insolvency Practice Direction Published

The revised Insolvency Practice Direction has been published and approved with effect from 4 July.  This replaces the PD published in April this year.  The revisions (primarily dealing with the distribution of specialised insolvency work) widen the scope of work which can be undertaken in local courts, whilst also giving the ability to transfer insolvency cases back to the local hearing centres if there is sufficient expertise to deal with the matter.

The revised PD also clarifies that out of court administration appointments cannot be made outside of court hours using the electronic working pilot scheme and that the rules as to filing outside of court hours in r3.20 to 3.22 of the Insolvency Rules (England and Wales) 2016 apply.

For further comment and to access the revised PD click here

Future EU Regulation proposed to address conflicts of law on the assignment of receivables

On 12 March 2018 the European Commission published a proposal for a Regulation to govern the law applicable to the third-party effects of assignments of claims (the “Assignment Regulation”).

The proposal of the Assignment Regulation adopted by the European Commission deals with which law applies to determine the effectiveness and perfection of the transfer of title – and the creation of other rights like pledges and charges – in relation to claims and receivables vis-a-vis third parties.

The principles set out in Article 4 of the Assignment Regulation are that the law of the habitual residence of the assignor will apply (Article 4 (1)) unless:

–           the claim is cash credited to a bank account or claims arising from financial instruments, in which case the law governing the account or the financial instrument will apply (Article 4 (2)), or

–           there is a securitization, in which case the assignee and the assignor can chose the law applicable to the assignment (Article 4 (3)). Continue Reading

Understanding the Special Protections Afforded Intellectual Property Licenses in Bankruptcy

The Bankruptcy Code grants special rights to licensees of intellectual property. It is imperative for in-house counsel to have at least a basic understanding of how intellectual property is treated under the Bankruptcy Code, and the rights and obligations of parties to intellectual property licenses.

My colleague Grace King and I recently wrote a chapter entitled “Intellectual Property Acquired Through Bankruptcy” that appears as part of the American Bar Association’s publication Intellectual Property and Technology. While the chapter may be directed to in-house counsel, it is also a useful guide for bankruptcy practitioners as well.

To read the chapter, click here.

©2018 by the American Bar Association. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved. This information any or portion thereof may not be copied or disseminated in any form or by any means or stored in an electronic database or retrieval system without the express written consent of the American Bar Association.

Will Amazon Flood the Premier League with Cash?

With the start of the World Cup, attention has understandably turned to football!Football and Money

Whilst for England, starting off with a couple of wins has for once raised hopes and taken the limelight away from the Premier League, preparations continue for the coming domestic season and recent events that have received relatively little media attention are to have huge ramifications for English domestic football in the years to come.

Key Points:

  • Amazon have started a new era for broadcasting of football by buying rights to stage live Premier League games
  • Despite competition increasing from 2 to 3 main broadcasters (Sky, BT and Amazon) and more content being put up for sale than ever before, overall domestic rights revenue has fallen for the first time since 2006
  • BT pre-tax profits fell 22% and they have axed 13,000 jobs amid claims they took a big hit from football and sports-related broadcasting rights deals
  • Sky is paying 16% less per game under the 2019-22 bid
  • 2 of 7 broadcasting packages were left unsold for months
  • Richard Scudamore resigns as executive chairman of the EPL on the same day as selling final packages to Amazon and BT
  • Signs that the money train into the Premier League might be starting to slow

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Marijuana Business And Access to Bankruptcy – As Weak Competitors are “Weeded Out”, Is Bankruptcy A Viable Option?

More and more states are legalizing marijuana, whether for medical or recreational purposes. As businesses try to enter this space, competition will “weed out” the weakest competitors.  But are marijuana dispensaries and growers, and those providing ancillary services to them, able to seek relief under the Bankruptcy Code? We, along with our colleagues, John Wyand and Sarah Stec, this week published an article with Practical Law addressing this topic. We hope that you enjoy the article and that it fosters a discussion on whether and how marijuana-related business can utilize the Bankruptcy Code, or similar state law remedies, to either reorganize or to maximize recoveries for creditors.

To read the article, click here.

Spotlight on CVAs – the British Property Federation gives Squire Patton Boggs its views on the recent spate of “landlord” CVAs

Cathryn Williams, Paul Muscutt & Ian Fletcher

Cathryn Williams and Paul Muscutt, partners in the Squire Patton Boggs Restructuring & Insolvency team in London, interview Ian Fletcher, Director of Policy (Real Estate) of the BPF (the trade association for UK residential and commercial real estate companies) to get the BPF’s views on the recent spate of CVAs seeking to reduce/compromise lease liabilities.

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New Guidance Note Anticipated on Collective Redundancies in Insolvency


The Insolvency Service intends to publish a new guidance notice to address the issues faced by employers in dealing with collective consultation when a company is facing insolvency, following consultation with the industry last year.

The guidance note is expected to require insolvency practitioners to notify the government in advance of collective redundancy proposals and to comply with the requirement to consult when seeking to rescue or wind up a business.

The consultation sought (1) to understand the difficulties faced in practice by directors and insolvency practitioners when redundancies are proposed in an insolvency situation and (2) suggestions on how to improve the position.

The new guidance is likely to require directors and insolvency practitioners to commence consultation procedures even if time is limited and full consultation is not possible.

It will be interesting to see if the guidance note truly redresses the tension between the rights of employees on the one hand (who in some cases are entitled to 90 days consultation) with the objectives of insolvency practitioners on the other, to wind up or rescue a business when time is limited – particularly so when many insolvency practitioners already seek to address this issue by instigating collective consult procedures, even if time is short.

At the very least it is hoped that the guidance note will provide some clarity and assurance to insolvency practitioners on best practice without imposing additional requirements which frustrate the objective of corporate rescue.

The Supreme Court Extends Bankruptcy Protections To Even Dishonest Debtors

Can an individual debtor make an oral false statement about an asset to a creditor and get away with it by discharging the creditor’s claim in his or her bankruptcy?  On June 4, 2018, the Supreme Court issued its opinion in Lamar, Archer & Cofrin, LLP v. Appling in which the Court unanimously answered this question in the affirmative.

The facts of the case are relatively straightforward.  The law firm of Lamar, Archer & Cofrin, LLP (the “Firm”) represented R. Scott Appling (“Appling”) in business litigation.  Appling fell behind in payment of his legal bills, and the Firm threatened to withdraw as his counsel and to place a lien on its work product until it was paid.   In response, Appling told the Firm that he was expecting a tax refund of approximately $100,000 that was enough to cover his current and future legal fees.  Based on this statement, the Firm continued to represent Appling in the litigation.  Without the Firm’s knowledge, Appling subsequently requested a tax refund of only $60,718, and ultimately received only $59,581.  Appling never paid the Firm any of these funds, and instead spent the money on his business.  Appling subsequently told the Firm that he had not yet received the refund, and the Firm agreed to finish the litigation and delay collection of the outstanding fees. Continue Reading