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Our predictions for 2013

As we tuck into the last of the turkey curry and prepare to welcome in 2013, we thought it was time to gaze into our crystal ball and give you a few predictions for the year ahead. So here goes…

  1. Lord Jackson’s litigation reforms (which come into effect in April) will result in more forum shopping, as litigants and their lawyers decide whether litigation with costs control is a better option than one without it.
  2. Samsung and Apple will continue their patent battles and the European Commission will stand by its preliminary view that Samsung’s efforts to ban Apple devices from certain European countries on the basis that they use Samsung’s “standard essential” patents harms competition. Apple celebrates by launching the iPhone 7, skipping 6 completely.
  3. The relaxation of some of the Enterprise Investment Scheme rules next year combined with the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme this year will result in an increase in the number of companies using such schemes to raise funds.
  4. LIBOR investigations into bank misconduct continue with findings against further banks. Customers who were appeased into confidential settlements following FSA Review Process into interest rate swap agreements and other hedging products, who had LIBOR related hedging seek to re-open settlements.
  5. The High Court will find in Interflora's favour in its long-running battle against Marks & Spencer over M&S's use of the Interflora brand to promote its own flower business in Google search results. Google Ad Words become a little less appealing as a result.
  6. The introduction of the "Patent Box" regime in April 2013 will lead to businesses holding or exploiting patents reorganising within a  corporate group context the administration of their management and ownership of patents and the terms of exploitation generally.
  7. There will be more UK law firm mergers, given an unusual combination of drivers: legislative and regulatory change, new market entrants with different business models, the oversupply of law firms creating price pressure and leading to a search for economies of scale to protect and enhance profits. Slaughter & Mayvolution LLP unlikely though.
  8. The Government will establish a Digital Copyright Exchange as recommended by the Hargreaves Report. While it won't be as effective as originally hoped in making copyright licensing easier and cheaper to use, it will be a significant step in the establishment of a more efficient and globally competitive copyright marketplace.
  9. As the Defamation Bill receives Royal Assent and comes into force, Twitter will go into meltdown as the requirement for a claimant to establish serious harm leads to users being more loose-lipped. Allegedly.
  10. After the new Royal Succession Bill is fast-tracked through Parliament, the Duchess of Cambridge will give birth to a baby boy named after William's favourite football team and Kate's favourite JLS singer.

Prince Aston. You heard it here first.

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