GCRC Interview: Nick Fenner, Partner at TLT Solicitors

StyleCounsel is the GCRC’s latest sector that will be focusing on fashion and retail law. Enter the StyleCounsel community to read the latest interviews with GCs of some of the leading companies in the world.

Read our exclusive interview with Nick Fenner, Partner at TLT Solicitors, who talks about strategies for retail success, brand protection and social media.


 What are the biggest legal challenges facing retailers operating on line?

Data security; regulatory compliance and brand protection


Do you think it is fair on brand owners that consumers searching on line for those well known brands are presented with sponsored ads for direct competitor products?

Focus of courts is whether it is good for the customer and pro-competition as long as customers is not mislead. The recent Interflora decision suggests that consumers understand meaning of sponsored ads as offering them alternatives and therefore not objectionable.


At a recent talk by a major retailer they explained how they tracked the customer from first contact with their web site site to purchase and could create a specific on line profile. Are retailers collecting too much information about us?

The emphasis is going to be increasing on transparency and fairness and less on what it says tucked away in privacy terms. Retailers are not going to be allowed to use data in a way their customers would not expect


How much of a problem is counterfeiting online?

For UK shoppers on line most problem come with auction sites and foreign based firms. Fake branded goods are still being sold through market traders. Growing problem is with fake sites that replicate existing genuine site and just take money for sales that do not exist and then close down.


Are you seeing the new domain names such as xxx.London, xxx.Books and xxx.Gifts having a big impact ?

It will be interesting to see how this develops. As more and more business switch on line it may be useful to categories business in a sector under one gTLD. Hopefully it will help the consumer rather than allowing the owner of the generic GLDs such a Amazons for Books to squeeze out the competition]


The Advertising Stands Authority recently announced they are moving to regulate bloggers so any paid for promotion in social media is clearly flagged to users. Can this work in practice?

This is all part of a move to try and bring social media within the same regulatory framework as print and tv/radio advertising. I guess that bloggers/sites who do not comply may be denied access to other type of paid for advertising which may force them to comply with these ASA rulings. Whether it actually has any effect for consumers may depend on how obvious the acknowledgement has to be.

About Helena Hill

Helena joined the GCRC in December 2013 as StyleCounsel Co-ordinator. Since joining the GCRC, Helena has thoroughly enjoyed interviewing designers and in-house lawyers from leading fashion and lifestyle companies.
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