News in brief: IP law, export awards, France, infrastructure

News in brief
News in brief

SMEs should brush up on IP law before setting up online

Social media platforms are experiencing exponential growth, with 72% of UK internet users now having a social media profile in 2015 according to Ofcom research. Naturally firms of all sizes want to make the most of this, yet starting up online can be full of legal pitfalls for unwary SMEs, according to law firm Azright’s intellectual property expert Shireen Smith.

Smith explains: “Firms may want to interface with other sites in order to access media. This involves knowing about your legal position when using an Application Programming Interface, or API for short. Put simply, an API is a language a programmer can use to talk to a system.” Smith claims that, as the law is constantly evolving and the web design and development industry is unregulated, it is sometimes beneficial to seek professional advice.

In addition, ‘tropicalisation’ is an occurrence that has been significant in China and Brazil. The term refers to the practice of investing in start-ups that take an established business model and adapt it to an emerging market – a feat that is easily achievable in today’s digital economy.

Examples include Peixe Urbano, a Brazilian clone of ‘daily deal’ site Groupon, Weibo, the Chinese Twitter-like microblogging platform, RenRen the Chinese version of Facebook, Baidu, the Chinese take on Google and Alibaba, which is a Chinese copy of eBay.

“From an IP perspective there are few legal barriers to this tactic. The law does not protect bare business models. Elements of a business model might be protected. A patent can sometimes protect the technology, copyright can protect the expression of a concept, designs can protect the aesthetic aspects and trademarks protect business and product names,” warns Smith.

Smith sums up by saying: “Securing a range of intellectual property rights in different elements can combine to provide the most powerful protection as each IP right protects you in subtly different ways and situations."

UK ‘national champions’ honoured at European Business Awards

The best companies from the UK have been honoured at an exclusive event, held at the London Stock Exchange, for The European Business Awards.

The companies celebrated at the event included budget 24-hour gym operator The Gym Group, business media platform Thomson Reuters, drinks company Fentiman’s Ltd, UK law firm Mills & Reeve, steel product manufacturer the Bradbury Group., and investment management firm Quilter Cheviot.

Sponsored by independent audit, tax and consulting firmRSM, the European Business Awards engaged with more than 32,000 companies from 33 countries this year, a 33% increase from last year and a record-breaking number for the competition, which is now in its ninth year and Europe's largest business recognition programme.

The next round of the competition requires the National Champions to make a presentation video, telling their unique story and explaining their business success. The judges will award the best of this group the coveted ‘Ruban d’Honneur’ status and the recipients will then go on be part of the grand finale in June 2016.

RSM International CEO Jean Stephens said: “The values of the European Business Awards of promoting innovation, entrepreneurship and business excellences are those that RSM member firms in the Europe and across the world believe in. The UK is home to some truly exciting and entrepreneurial businesses, which we are delighted to champion and support. We wish the National Champions every success for their businesses in the future.”

Infrastructure project in France provides opportunities for exporters

A large infrastructure project owner in Paris, France is looking for businesses that can provide low current embedded systems on a set of brand new suburban trains.

The opportunity was posted on the Exporting is Great website and covers the supply and installation of embedded systems enabling the following functions on board the trains:

  • Video surveillance
  • Visual and audio passenger information
  • Interphone systems
  • Passenger headcounts on board
  • Radio communication with emergency services

Expressions of interest, company information and references must be submitted by 5 February . You can submit applications here.