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Midgley Corner – UK Gov in e-conveyancing land grab?

Over the past couple of years SDLT.co.uk – a private company – has spent the best part of £150k on advertising, forged alliances with 16 case management software suppliers and processed over 100,000 SDLT submissions – making it the biggest handler of e-submissions among any of 16 TPVs (third party vendors) currently serving the English & Welsh e-conveyacing market.

So what does it get for its troubles? A Queen's Award for Enterprise or an OBE for the company's founder Archie Courage? Not exactly, in recognition of these sterling efforts (and you need to bear in mind that Stamp Duty Land Tax is one of UK Gov's nicest little earners, raising squillions each year) HM Land Registry has, via HMRC, asked the company to change its advertising strapline.

The offending wording is SDLT.co.uk a future part of e-conveyancing which HMLR objects to because it might cause confusion with the HMLR's own product/service concept for the future that is also called 'e-conveyancing'. Hmm, as Archie Courage has pointed out, with remarkable restraint (we'd have told them to piss off) 'e-conveyacing' is a long established generic term* so 'no' HMLR can't claim rights to it just because they wished they'd thought of it first. After a week of weasel words, HMLR backed down.

* We think we first heard the term e-conveyacing used in the UK by Neil Ewin of Solicitec (as it then was) in about 1997.

3 replies on “Midgley Corner – UK Gov in e-conveyancing land grab?”

I am no lawyer but I am sure a lot of your readers are and to claim a name or mark as your own and prevent its use by others in the same area of business you would need to register it as a trademark methinks. Like you I think this would not be allowed because of the generic nature and the fact that e-veryone sticks an e in front of e-verything these days to make it look hip and trendy. Have the HMLR had the foresight and gusto to do this. If not then like you say then can……

Well done
By the way its Scottish & NI market too, law being regional and TAX being national – semantics
I wondered if Midgley corner had come in with a story in the making – I think Midgey corner is great idea and interesting that he's pollutted the world
great

I happen to know that Land Registry spent a considerable sum of money on branding for e-conveyancing, they even devised their own font which I think they have copyright over. To show that they are a fast moving forward thinking government agency they should rebrand with something the iPod generation can relate to, perhaps iConveyancing with the option of completing your house transaction via iTunes or their own portal iChain/iMatrix.
If they feel uncomfortable leaving the e's behind despite them being very much a 90's fashion; they could go with both and invent eiConveyancing and the eiChain Matrix and the ei ei OC1's or would that upset Old MacDonald who's farm with all its animals and unregistred land has been the focus of another Land Registry initiative………
Oh it's all got a bit messy now and I seem to have lost the plot, just like a certain government department.

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