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.