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Welcome to the March 2019 'Need to Know' update. You'll find the latest key information on Intellectual Property, trademarks, Brexit preparations and finance.
EU Trade Marks to be replaced after Brexit
The UK Government has announced that for all registered European Union Trade Marks (EUTMs) the IPO will create comparable UK trade marks, in the wake of Brexit.
The numbers will be fully independent UK trade marks which can be challenged, assigned, licensed or renewed, separately from the original EUTM.
In order to identify comparable UK rights and distinguish them from existing UK trade marks, the number allocated to the comparable mark will be the last 8 digits of the EUTM prefixed with UK009.
To find out more about the changes go to; http://bit.ly/2NBKn0a
Groceries Code Adjudicator survey is open
The Groceries Code Adjudicator’s (GCA) sixth annual survey is now open until 23 April 2019.
This is your opportunity to give the GCA your opinion on retailer compliance with the Groceries Supply Code of Practice (GSCoP) in the last 12 months.
The survey is an important source of information for the GCA about current retailer practices and changes over the past 12 months. The information you provide helps the GCA focus her attention for the year ahead.
All the information you provide is treated in strict confidence. All answers are collated and analysed by YouGov and respondents are not identified to the GCA without their prior consent.
To complete the survey click; http://bit.ly/2Ttz1Ay
Banks scored on quality of service
The second set of banking customer satisfaction results have been published, following an independent survey of thousands of personal and small business customers.
The measure was introduced by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) after it conducted a market investigation into the banking sector in 2016. The league table style results allow customers to clearly see how their bank compares on quality of service and helps to drive competition between banks to improve the quality of their offering to customers.
Since August 2018, banks have been required to publish information on how likely people would be to recommend their bank – as well its online and mobile banking, branch and overdraft services – to friends, relatives or other businesses, with results being updated every 6 months.
Banks have also published figures on how long it takes to open current accounts and replace debit cards. They are required to do so by the Financial Conduct Authority on a quarterly basis.
Andrea Coscelli, Chief Executive of the Competition and Markets Authority, said: We introduced this survey last August so that people can see exactly how well banks are treating their customers.
“If people are unhappy with the customer service they are currently getting, I would encourage them to look at the results and think about switching to a better performing bank.”
The results of the survey must be prominently displayed in banks’ branches, as well as on their websites and apps.
The latest survey results are available on the following links: http://bit.ly/2NA74BO and http://bit.ly/2EDMVIr
Making Tax Digital for Business
HMRC have produced new resources to support businesses that need to make the transition to digital VAT business record keeping and submission of VAT returns using MTD-compatible software from 1 April 2019.
Most VAT-registered businesses with a taxable turnover above the VAT threshold (currently £85,000) are required to keep digital VAT business records and send VAT returns using Making Tax Digital-compatible software from 1 April 2019.
This communication pack provides information for stakeholders, who can use the contents to inform their own communications activity and key messages for their clients, customers and members.
To see the pack go to; http://bit.ly/2UlVe0A
Hotel booking sites to make major changes after CMA probe
The CMA has secured a victory for UK holidaymakers as some of the biggest online hotel booking sites make formal commitments to change their ways.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) took action last year because it was concerned that practices such as giving a false impression of a room’s popularity or not displaying the full cost of a room upfront could mislead people, stop them finding the best deal and potentially break consumer protection law.
CMA Chairman, Andrew Tyrie, said: “The CMA has taken enforcement action to bring to an end misleading sales tactics, hidden charges and other practices in the online hotel booking market. These have been wholly unacceptable.
“6 websites have already given firm undertakings not to engage in these practices. They are some of the largest hotel booking sites. The CMA will now do whatever it can to ensure that the rest of the sector meets the same standards.”
Read more at; http://bit.ly/2IJqndh
Regulatory Excellence Awards expand to include product safety
Now in their third year, the Regulatory Excellence Awards are open for applications, including in 2019 new product safety, innovation and technical categories.
The Awards, organised by the Office for Product Safety and Standards, recognise regulatory organisations, individuals, businesses and trade associations that have achieved positive outcomes through good practice.
From engineers, scientists and technicians working in metrology and testing to individuals in businesses, trade associations and frontline regulators using better regulation tools and principles, the aim is to showcase outstanding work being done to protect the public and help British business comply with regulation.
Read more about the awards at; http://bit.ly/2XveQ4C
The electronics, machinery and parts sector facing changes due to Brexit
If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, there may be changes that affect your business.
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has issued detailed guidance around four specific areas; Importing and exporting, Regulation and standards, Your employees and Trade associations.
To read the account of guidance go to; http://bit.ly/2Vx9dkK
Check if your company is independent from the tobacco industry
Your company must meet the independence criteria to provide data storage or anti-tamper devices to the tobacco industry.
Your company and it’s subcontractors must be independent from the tobacco industry to:
• store data for manufacturers and importers of tobacco products
• provide anti-tamper devices to manufacturers and importers of tobacco products
Your company is responsible for making sure that it’s subcontractors meet the criteria.
To find out more go here; http://bit.ly/2GRck3v
Effective support of mental ill health is more than counselling
New (Tax) Year – New You?
Planning for success: how to run a more efficient business