Swindon & Wiltshire Business News

Spooky theme for charity photo shoot

Stew Taylor with his backdrop. Image courtesy of Trinity PhotographyA scary scene at a Salisbury photo studio could raise hundreds of pounds for charity this weekend.

Trinity Photography is taking part in the round-the-clock Great Big Portrait Marathon, which runs from midday on Saturday, October 27 to midday on Sunday 27.

And, because the clocks go back this weekend, the 24-marathon will become a 25-hour event.

The studio is inviting families, work colleagues and friends to wear Hallowe'en fancy dress for their portraits, to be taken before a backdrop painted by the artist Stew Taylor. 

In return for a donation to Winston's Wish, the studio will upload pictures to its Facebook page for subjects to download.

Last year's event raised £500 – a figure the studio aims to improve on this year.  

Transformer set to bring road congestion to Wiltshire roads

Bonecrusher and Optimus Prime do battle in Transformers the MovieA giant transformer will bring congestion to Wiltshire's roads this weekend, police have warned.

Disappointingly, the transformer in question is not of the 'robots in disguise' variety from the toy and movie franchise, but a a giant piece of electrical kit, which will be driven on the back of a lorry from from Avonmouth Docks near Bristol to a substation at Melksham on Sunday morning, October 27.

At 5.10m wide, 65ft long and weighing 254 tonnes, the load is one of the largest ever to be brought through Wiltshire. 

Departing Avonmouth at around 6:45am and travelling at a maximum of 12mph it is expected to take five hours to reach Leigh Delamere services on the M4.

Continuing on from there it will exit the M4 at junction 17 heading south on the A350 towards Chippenham and then onto the A4 towards Corsham. This section is expected to take around three hours to complete.

The final two hours will see the transporter turning left onto the B3109 and then follow the A365 towards Melksham before turning left onto the B3353 and right into Westlands Lane.

A police escort, provided by officers on rest days and paid for by the haulier, will be provided throughout.

A police spokesman warned: “Because of the size and slow speed of the transporter people are advised to ensure they allow plenty of time to complete any planned journeys,” and confirmed “no, it's not a robot in disguise).

Royal guest pays a visit to underground Ark

Duke of Kent visit to ArkHRH The Duke of Kent paid a visit to Ark Data Centre in Corsham last week as part of a tour of leading technology businesses in the region.

Ark – a company that designs, constructs and operates the UK’s most efficient data centres, known as The Arks – was selected as part of The Duke’s tour of the area to learn more about innovative technologies.

Ark has received widespread recognition for operating the most energy-efficient datacentres in the country, which can save clients over £1 million and 6,000 tonnes of carbon, per Mega Watt of IT load, each year.

The Spring Park datacentre campus at Corsham, one of two in Ark’s estate, is unique as it not only has 38 acres on which to build sustainable datacentres above ground, but also an underground facility which may be developed for Data Vaults in the future.

The Duke, who is the patron of the British Computer Society, was accompanied by the Lord Lieutenant of Wiltshire, Sarah Troughton, and was hosted by CEO Huw Owen, and COO Steve Webb.

The Queen's cousin was led on a rare guided tour of the underground facilities and briefed on the history of the nearby mines, before taking a tour of Ark’s state of the art datacentre facilities, where he had the chance to see at close hand the latest innovations and intricate processes that ensure such high-energy efficiencies at Ark.

The Lord Lieutenant said, “As patron of the British Computer Society, his Royal Highness has a keen interest in technological developments, and he appreciated this opportunity to learn about a company which is very much at the cutting-edge of the growingdata centre industry.

He took a real interest in the key processes that take place at Ark, and found the history of the site fascinating. It was a pleasure to have His Royal Highness with us for the day.”

Huw Owen CEO of Ark, added, “It was our sincere honour to welcome HRH The Duke of Kent to Ark Data Centres and to provide him with a tour of our facilities.

His visit caps what has been an exciting year for the company, we have made great strides to advance our position, and we look to continue to expand our operations both here at Spring Park and at Cody Park in Hampshire, whilst investing in the latest innovations to ensure our clients receive only the best service possible.”

Petrol station celebrates first anniversary with clutch of awards

Claire Whitington,  Nick Fraser and  Sandy Blackburn with their Forecourt Trader awardsA petrol forecourt in Marlborough has celebrated its first anniversary by winning a clutch of awards at the fuel industry's answer to the Oscars.

Fraser's Budgens of Marlborough was named the best large petrol station in the South West at the Forecourt Trader magazine awards. 

The facility, which opened to great fanfare in October last year, also scooped the national titles for best design and development, and best forecourt facilities.

The awards celebrate entrepreneurial skill, imagination and dedication in running a successful business.

Recent initiatives run by the community-minded firm include a 'virtual harvest' campaign to buy a trolley full of shopping for Devizes Food Bank.

The initiative raised £488 for the charity, and the food basket will help to help local people in food poverty.  

Trade marks: tastier than you think

Jessica BentHave you heard about Hybrid Baking? If you haven’t yet, you will soon: it is getting increasingly popular in the States and is no doubt on its way to the UK.

Every morning hundreds of people queue outside a New York bakery to get their hands on the infamous 'cronut'.

For those of you who haven’t heard of the cronut, it is a blend of the key components of a croissant and a donut, deep-fried and filled with cream or chocolate and it is not for the faint hearted!

The cronut is just one of the new additions to the baking world which now has the 'townie', a tartlet-brownie and a 'duffin', a donut-muffin to name a few.

With the explosion of these new culinary delights with such catchy names it was inevitable that the intellectual property lawyers among us would question whether the names are properly protected and who owns the trade marks in these new products.

In respect of the cronut, the owner of the New York bakery may not have been the first person to ever bake a cronut, but they certainly have been savvy enough to register the name as a trade mark. The only bakery to officially carry the cronut, they have created a monopoly over the name which creates exclusivity and ultimately queues of eager people willing to try one. 

The legal perspective: A trade mark grants the owner exclusive rights over the mark and prevents others from exploiting it. So to the other bakers keen to jump on the cronut band wagon, they have to think of other inventive ways of naming their creations, which are not identical or similar to cronut.

Not only does the registered trade mark act as a deterrent to others intending to use it and allows the owner to take legal action against others if they were to use the trade mark, but it also allows the owner to sell, franchise or grant people a licence that allows them to use it. This in itself can lead to a substantial source of revenue for the trade mark owner.

The hot Pho incident

Another recent case highlights how trade marks can get their owners into hot water, or more precisely into hot 'Pho'.

Pho is the name for Vietnamese noodle soup, and Pho was trade marked in the UK as a logo with the word Pho by Pho Holdings, owners of various Vietnamese eateries going by the name of Pho.

Then along came Mo Pho, a Vietnamese restaurant in London, which incurred the wrath of Pho Holdings which required Mo Pho to change its name.

As Mo Pho supporters took to twitter and sided with Mo Pho, expressing disbelief that anyone could trade mark Pho, Pho Holdings backed down and said it was a mistake.

The legal perspective: The case underlines that businesses should always think long and hard about any possible PR or social media backlash they may face by getting their lawyers to write strongly-worded letters.

It also highlights the risk for businesses of applying for trade marks which are known names in other countries.

Although Pho would have been a valid trade mark when applied for eight years ago, as at that time it would not have been a generic name, it has probably become generic now through the increasing interest in Vietnamese food.

Additionally if a business chooses not to enforce its trade mark – as Pho Holdings has chosen given the PR backlash – this is likely to seriously undermine the trade mark as it does pave the way for other traders to use it.

The lesson has to be to choose your trade marks wisely and if there is any risk that your trade mark is generic, a softer approach to the other business might be the best option.

  • Jessica Bent is an intellectual property lawyer at Withy King solicitors. For issues over brands and trade marks, contact Jessica on 01225 730100 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Find out why Marlborough is the UK's second best town for downsizing

Edward Hall Smiths GoreMarlborough has been named by The Telegraph newspaper as the second best town in the country for downsizing.

The town was pipped to the post by Berwick-on-Tweed, but saw off competition from Bicester, Whitby, the Isle of Wight and West Malling in Kent. 

Writing about Marlborough, Max Davidson said: “In this ancient market town, prices are quite steep compared with less-fashionable parts of Wiltshire.

“They are about £100,000 above the national average, but still low enough to attract downsizers.”

And the feature, in Saturday's Telegraph, quotes estate agent Edward Hall, who says: “Marlborough is a real haven for the cultured, with something for everyone.”

Mr Hall, of Smiths Gore, will be leading a seminar on downsizing at his 42 High Street premises tomorrow (Thursday) from 5pm to 7pm.

Research shows that one in five over 55s aim to downsize over the next five years.

Mr Hall said: “There are a variety of reasons, including health, money and lifestyle.

“Downsizing does not mean downgrading, and it can be a liberating experience for those who choose to do so.

“Nor does it necessarily mean looking at retirement housing, although that is one option.”

The seminar will look at examples of modern retirement options, and relocation services that make the move easier.

For more information call Smiths Gore on 01672 529056 or email Shona Ford at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Council commits £52 million to road improvements

Roadworks - picture courtesy of www.freedigitalphotos.netCouncil leaders have today (Tuesday) approved a multi-million-pound investment programme to improve hundreds of miles of Wiltshire’s roads over the next six years.

The approved recommendation means the council will spend more than £52 million extra over the next six years (£21 million a year) on road improvements up to 2020, which would clear the existing maintenance backlog on the county’s roads – and includes a commitment to working with area boards to set local priorities.

Surveys of people across Wiltshire have consistently shown they are in favour of more being spent to improve the road network.

A report to today's meeting of Wiltshire Council cabinet included a range of options for maintaining and improving the county’s 2,750 miles of roads.

The recommended and approved option is to allow almost 150 miles of road to be resurfaced every year for the next six years.

Cheaper options would either maintain the road network in its existing condition or result in a moderate improvement.

A £100million-a-year option to upgrade the entire road network in Wiltshire was ruled out as being unaffordable.

Part of the investment programme will be decided in consultation with the county's area boards early in the new year.

Planning of the programme will now take place over the next five months with the improvements starting in 2014. The council has detailed data to help prioritise the work.

John Thomson, cabinet member for highways, said: “Road maintenance is clearly a priority for our communities and it’s a priority for us.

“Like many local authorities, we’re finding that a succession of severe winters and flooding has meant many of our roads have deteriorated to the point where simply maintaining them in their current state is not viable. We need to invest further to improve our vast road network, which will result in fewer injuries from traffic incidents.”

Funding for the investment programme will come from the annual maintenance grant from the Department for Transport, with the rest made up by drawing on agreed borrowing within the council’s financial plans.

 

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