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UK Regulator Bans Misleading “Hot Air” Ads

The cost-of-living crisis is a concern for all consumers, with many carrying out research to understand ways that spending can be reduced. One major issue during the cold winter days is the cost of heating bills. The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned four separate adverts which relate to electric plug-in mini heaters. All the … Continue Reading

Gambling on Top Flight Footballers: ASA Ruling

The Advertising Standards Authority (“ASA”) has issued its first ruling under the new rules that prohibit gambling ads with “strong appeal” to under-18s, providing a useful example as to how the new rules will be applied. Updated Gambling Ad Rules As covered in more detail in a previous article for this blog, on 1 October … Continue Reading

UK Regulators Step up the Pressure on Influencer Marketing: Principles for Platforms, Brands and Content Creators

Over the past few years the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has been actively taking steps to address consumer protection concerns with sponsorships and endorsements within social media posts that have not been clearly disclosed. Indeed, the scale of the issue was highlighted in the Influencer Monitoring Report, published in March 2021 by another … Continue Reading

God Save the Queen’s Royal Warrant Holders

With gratitude to Heloise Morle for her contributions to this post. In a modern world of celebrity and influencer endorsements, there is arguably one endorsement that still trumps others: the Royal Warrant. The granting of an English monarch’s royal seals of approval dates back to 1155 – when King Henry II granted the Weavers’ Company … Continue Reading

UK regulators crack down on ‘greenwashing’

Within seven months[1] of the UK regulator, the Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA“), announcing its review of green claims in the fashion retail sector, it has opened an investigation into such environmental claims made by various fashion businesses, including ASOS and George at Asda.  This comes less than a year after all businesses were put … Continue Reading

Regulator Advises UK Government on Possible Changes to Consumer and Competition Law to Support UK Green Goals

The Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA“) has published advice for the UK Government on changes that could be made to consumer and competition law to facilitate the UK achieving a “Net Zero” economy by 2050. Whilst the regulator does not consider that current law represents a barrier to such sustainability goal, the CMA nonetheless recommends … Continue Reading

The Rise of ‘Voice Cloning’ Provides More Evidence of the Need for Urgent Legal Reform in the UK

Earlier this year, we published our blog on the topic of ‘Deepfakes’, in which we argued that the rise of this technology necessitates urgent legal reform. Without the courts developing English law in a way that they are usually unwilling to do, the current position is that it is not well-suited to deal with the problems … Continue Reading

Incompetent #ad Disclosure – the ASA Issues Warning to Influencers

The ASA has issued a stark warning to advertisers: non-compliance with ASA rules on disclosures in advertising is rife and that is unacceptable. The regulator now plans to get tough with those in breach. We blog regularly on Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) scrutiny of advertising rules in the social media landscape. The ASA has now … Continue Reading

The Rise of the “Deepfake” Demands Urgent Legal Reform in the UK

The phenomenon of ‘fake news’ and spread of misinformation is not a new one, but advancements in technology, in particular ‘deepfakes’, have highlighted the seriousness of the threat in a way that has not happened before. Deepfakes have evolved significantly in recent years and the tell-tale signs (odd hand or mouth movements or odd pronunciation … Continue Reading

The Danger of the Social Media Filter – ASA Rules Adverts are Misleading

The beauty industry faces a constant challenge in relation to the truthfulness of the products it sells. Through the power of social media, beauty brands use influencers to endorse their products, adding a dimension of apparent authenticity to their advertising. In an attempt to regulate such practices, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has focused on … Continue Reading

Buy Now, Pay Later: New Advertising Guidance

With online shopping at all-time high, ‘buy now, pay later’ (BNPL) options are becoming increasingly popular. BNPL is an option that enables customers to delay paying for goods or allows them to pay in instalments. The service typically bears interest which consumers have to pay. It differs from hire purchase because with BNPL, the customer … Continue Reading

Hang Fire for Revised Guidance on Changes to VAT and Early Termination Payments

This blog is a follow-up to our recent blogs on HMRC’s controversial Changes to VAT and Early Termination Payments and VAT on Compensation in Intellectual Property Settlements. As previously noted, the retrospective nature of the changes and the consequential risk of having to unpick historic settlement payments raised a number of issues. This has now … Continue Reading

UK’s First Injunction Secured under Trade Secrets Regulations

US company Celgard, LLC has secured an interim injunction against its rival, Chinese company Shenzhen Senior Technology Material Co Ltd (“Senior”), that prevents Senior from importing or supplying its battery accessory products into the UK. The Court found there was a likelihood that Senior had misused Celgard’s confidential information and trade secrets, and that the … Continue Reading

CMA Moves to Investigate ‘Green’ Claims

On 2 November 2020, the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) announced that it will be investigating descriptions and labels used to promote products and services claiming to be ‘eco-friendly’ and whether they could mislead consumers. The concern for the CMA is that an increase in demand for sustainability could lead to businesses making misleading, … Continue Reading

VAT on Compensation Payments in Intellectual Property Settlements

This blog is a follow-up to our recent blog on HMRC’s surprising Changes to VAT and Early Termination Payments. As we noted, HMRC’s updated guidance is proving to be highly controversial. What’s happened? Folks are unhappy because the updated guidance treats contract termination payments (including for breach or withdrawal or under liquidated damages clauses) as … Continue Reading

Platform to Business Regulation – Now in Force

Since 12 July 2020, the Platform to Business Regulation has been directly applicable in the UK and all EU member states. However, with Brexit worries and the COVID-19 crisis having an ongoing impact on business in the digital sector, the new rules have passed many by. Now is the time to ensure compliance. The Regulation … Continue Reading

UK Begins Review of National Gambling Legislation

The UK government has started its review of national gambling legislation, likely to result in the introduction of a new Gambling Act. New measures could include tighter restrictions on gambling sponsorship and advertising, such as gambling operators no longer being allowed to advertise on the shirts of sports teams or any other visible part of … Continue Reading

Changes to VAT and Early Termination Payments

Following the recent decision of the Court of Justice of the European Union in Meo (C-295/17) and a related case, HM Revenue & Customs (“HMRC”) has updated its guidance on the VAT treatment of contractual compensation payments for early termination of commercial contracts. Such payments, irrespective of whether described as compensation or liquidated damages, will … Continue Reading

Guidance for UK Life Sciences Offered During End of Brexit Transition

With the Brexit transition period ending on December 31st, the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is issuing guidance for the UK Life Science industry – including guidance on clinical trials, market authorizations, and manufacture and supply, among other areas. The guidance will apply from the start of 2021. Squire Patton Boggs’ Triage … Continue Reading
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