Taylors - The Commercial Law Firm
Commercial law firm Taylors Legal Services Ltd are
dynamic and highly experienced business lawyers with
offices in Manchester and Blackburn, Lancashire.
As legal specialists, we are committed to
providing the highest quality service
through a real understanding of our clients'
needs, business priorities and specific
requirements. We offer a common sense and
commercial approach with which we deliver
relevant, timely and commercially-astute,
money solutions to the issues
faced by businesses in the real world
Time for a competition health check!
The eye-watering string of fines of £260m levied by the Competition and Markets Authority against Auden Mckenzie and Actavis UK (now known as Accord-UK) on the basis that they ‘charged the NHS excessively high prices for hydrocortisone tablets for almost a decade’ follows a string of investigations that it has conducted into the pharmaceutical sector.
It’s also the second time in as many years that Auden Mckenzie has been fined by the CMA for manipulating market share.
The CMA found that Auden Mckenzie and Actavis UK increased the price of a 10mg packet by more than 10,000 per cent compared with the original branded version of the drug.
The NHS was spending approximately £500,000 a year on hydrocortisone tablets before 2008, rising to more than £80m by 2016.
These actions cost the NHS, and consequently taxpayers, hundreds of millions of pounds by forcing it to pay large sums for life-saving medicines on the basis that de-branded drugs are not controlled by NHS price regulations, meaning drug companies are able to increase their prices at will.
CMA said Accord-UK was responsible for Auden Mckenzie’s conduct because of a buyout deal in 2015. Whilst the decision could still be subject to an appeal to the Competition Appeal Tribunal, it is a further warning that the CMA will not tolerate any pharmaceutical company stifling competition and cheating the NHS.
It is difficult to see that this warning will be ignored by businesses, given that the CMA may impose fines of up to 10% of worldwide turnover on any company found to have violated UK competition law, plus seek director disqualification, as it has done previously in these matters.
It is also a warning about responsibility for historical anti-competitive behaviour passing to a new owner.
Anyone who thought the CMA might be weaker after Brexit should take note.
Following the Brexit transition period, the CMA may open an investigation into competition concerns which are the subject of a European Commission Continued Competence Case insofar as those concerns relate to the effects of conduct which took place after 31 December 2020.
Business participating in alleged competition law infringements that are under investigation by the European Commission and that continue after the transition period are therefore at risk of a parallel investigation.
Anyone concerned about potential anti-competitive behaviour in their business activities, such as price-fixing and retail price management, including on a legacy basis, should seek urgent advice. The CMA operates a leniency policy, under which businesses and individuals that provide evidence to it of anti-competitive behaviour and co-operate with any subsequent investigation can benefit from a reduction in, or in some circumstances, complete immunity, from penalties. However, it’s on a first-come, first-served basis, so the sooner issues are addressed the better.
Our team at Taylors is helping clients involved a number of CMA investigations into retail businesses, particularly following reporting of matters to it.
We have recently successfully dealt with a Retail Price Maintenance matter in Ireland that was headed off at the pass, avoiding further action or prosecution.
The investigation still took two years and exposed our client to significant expense in terms of management time diverted from trading.
It is always better to be proactive in these situations as well as to regularly review trading behaviour with experienced advisers in the field.
If you have concerns or need assistance regarding anti-competitive behaviour, contact from the CMA or a live investigation, Claire Barnes, head of our Regulatory Investigations Department can discuss any issues with you and can be contacted on 01254 297950 or via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Leading North West employment lawyer joins Taylors as partner
Taylors Solicitors has appointed Sarah Williams to head its Employment Law team.
Sarah has previously worked at highly-regarded national law firms Thompsons and Weightmans and has established her name as one of the region’s leading employment lawyers. She is also one of relatively few GDPR specialists in the North West.
The new partner brings a high degree of business savvy. She has over 20 years’ experience both in practice and on the client-side in business and works closely with business owners and senior leaders on a range of matters including, employee relations, workforce changes and disputes resolution.
Sarah said: “Taylors’ sole focus is on commercial law which is what first attracted me. The firm also has a reputation for providing the highest quality service because it has a real understanding of its clients’ needs, business priorities and specific requirements.
“That’s because Taylors has built great long-lasting relationaships with its clients. These are often owner managers of businesses who have come to rely on personal and professional service. My Employment Law team will provide the same high calibre service.”
Elaine Hurn, Managing and Commercial Partner at Taylors said: “Sarah’s appointment is not simply a major coup for Taylors but is great news our clients. She is a senior appointment with extensive expertise with means she can assess our clients’ needs quickly.”
With offices in Manchester and Blackburn, Taylors is purely focused on commercial law, and is committed to providing the highest quality service.
Taylors given green light for Porsche deal
Reclassifying motorway routes, navigating negotiations and drawing up development agreements is all in a day’s work for Taylors.
Working for prestigious motor dealership Parker & Parker, Taylors were on hand to provide expert advice in their specialist area of corporate law and were therefore integral in securing and developing a new location for Porsche Kendal.
Involving five parties, Taylors Senior Associate Peter Marks led the deal handling negotiations for the acquisition of the new site, and the development agreement to undertake enabling works.
One particular challenge included the reclassification of a section of the A601(M) as a non-motorway, which allowed access to the new site. Peter’s experience in ground engineering and construction helped considerably to appreciate the challenges of developing a green field site.
Elaine Hurn, Managing Partner at Taylors Solicitors said: “The team here at Taylors lead by Peter Marks have done an incredible job of ensuring the new acquisition ran smoothly, especially in the midst of a global pandemic.
“We are honoured to have been involved in this exciting phase of the Parker family’s partnership with Porsche.”
Ian Parker, managing director of Parker & Parker commented ‘We have invested a large amount to develop our new site and the legal advice and support we received from Taylors’ team was second to none.”
Parker & Parker have supplied customers with Porsche vehicles from their current site in Kendal over the last 60 years. Their brand new, much larger state of the art dealership centre will open in summer 2021, and will be re-named as ‘Porsche Centre South Lakes’.
If you’re searching for specialist advice in commercial law, then contact Elaine Hurn at Taylors on 01254 297906.
Major retailer EWM takes advantage of the “little guy” in textile copyright case
A Blackburn clothing firm has triumphed in a copyright battle against Edinburgh Woollen Mill (EWM) in what lawyers from taylors describe as a ‘David v Goliath’ victory.
Response Clothing in Blackburn supplied a ladies’ top made from a jacquard fabric with a ‘wave’ pattern to EWM between 2009 to 2012. But when the Blackburn firm tried to increase prices, the national retailer took a sample to another garment supplier and had it copied, the High Court was told.
EWM, who have 400 retail stores nationwide, had similar tops made by Visage using the distinctive wave pattern for three years before sourcing similar tops from Vietnamese company Cingo, and a Bangladeshi company, Bengal Knittex.
Response subsequently sued EWM for copyright infringement in the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court, led by Intellectual Property experts Taylors Legal Services.
The High Court Judge found that the wave fabric was ‘a work of artistic craftsmanship’ even though it was produced on a machine - which was infringed by EWM’s tops.
Judge Hacon also found that the importation and sale of the tops by EWM was a secondary infringement of copyright because EWM should have known that dealing in the copies of Response’s fabric would be in breach of Response’s rights.
He said: “In my view, the similarities between the Wave fabric and each of the Visage, Cingo and Bengal Knittex Fabrics, would have been apparent to a reasonable person and would have led that person to believe that dealing in the latter fabrics would be in breach of rights likely to be held by Response. EWM's sales of the Visage, Cingo and Bengal Knittex Fabrics were all secondary infringements.”
Tony Catterall, Head of the Intellectual Property Team at Taylors Legal Services Limited, acted for Response. He said: “We have been delighted to see this case to a successful conclusion for Response Clothing.
“This was an example of a major retailer taking advantage of the ‘little guy’ and believing it could copy a supplier’s design with impunity.
“EWM went to extraordinary lengths to fight this case, applying to the Court for two rounds of expert evidence and seeking leave to put in supplemental fact evidence. Those efforts were all in vain and this claim illustrates that no business seeking to protect its IP rights need fear a ‘deep pockets’ opponent when bringing a case before the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court.”
With offices in Manchester and Blackburn, Taylors is a law firm specialising in all aspects of commercial law. The dynamic and highly experienced lawyers at Taylors are committed to providing the highest quality service through a real understanding of our clients’ needs, business priorities and specific requirements.
For further information contact Tony Catterall, Head of the Intellectual Property Team at Taylors, on 01254 297900 or via email at email@example.com.
Taylors is the only North West based firm to have been appointed as a legal affiliate to the National organisation Anti Copying In Design (“ACID”).