The European Commission (“Commission”) has today published a significant package of measures designed to eliminate barriers to cross-border e-commerce in the European Union
Continue Reading STOP PRESS: E-commerce in Europe – significant regulatory changes proposed – impact on companies conducting online business in the EU

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has recently published the findings of research it commissioned to examine UK businesses’ understanding of competition law.  The aim of the research was to gauge businesses’ awareness of competition law, their understanding of anti-competitive behaviours and the resulting penalties, businesses’ preferred sources of information about compliance, and the awareness of the CMA and what it does.

A link to the report can be found here.  Some of the key findings of the report include:

  • Indicators and risks of anti-competitive behaviour: 73 percent of businesses monitor prices of competitors.  Price monitoring is most likely by large businesses and in the agricultural, wholesale, retail and transportation sectors.  Remarkably 7 percent of businesses interviewed stated that they contacted their competitors directly to find out their prices.
  • Awareness of competition law: business respondents expressed a greater concern with compliance with other regulations (such as health and safety law and employment law).  This perhaps explains the low understanding of the illegality of the following: resale price maintenance (29 percent), market-sharing (40 percent), and price-fixing (55 percent).
  • Awareness and understanding of CMA and its role: only 10 percent of businesses reported seeking information on competition law (rising to 52 percent for larger businesses).  The Internet was cited as the largest source of information.  Interestingly, 57 percent of businesses had not heard of the CMA (39 percent amongst large businesses) and only 2 percent felt they knew the CMA well.

Continue Reading UK Businesses’ Understanding of Competition Law

On 27 February 2013 the UK Government launched a consultation, the ‘Consultation on the Company and Business Names 2013’ (the “2013 Consultation“) to review the list of ‘sensitive’ names that companies must get approval for before they can be used.  Following the 2013 Consultation, the UK Government has decided to relax the rules restricting company names, effective from 31 January 2015.

What changes have been made?

Prior to 31 January 2015, the list of words requiring prior approval was around 150 words long. This list has now been cut by about one third in an attempt to reduce ‘red tape’ and minimise the burden on companies, particularly start-ups.  Words that have been removed from this list include: ‘group’, ‘holding’, ‘international’, ‘United Kingdom’ and ‘services’. This is in addition to an increased list of characters and accents that can be used in a company’s name which the Government hopes will remove an additional and unnecessary hurdle.

Continue Reading UK Government Relaxes the Rules Restricting the Words Used in Company Names