Law firm CJCH wins anti-piracy contract from movie effects software creators

By Raspberry Jim,

An award-winning special effects company which worked on Hollywood blockbusters including Guardians of the Galaxy has teamed up with Cardiff-based law firm CJCH.

Visual effects company Foundry, which produces the creative software used to deliver films such as Avatar, Inception, and Guardians of the Galaxy, has appointed the law firm to protect its intellectual property.

CJCH has a global reputation for its expertise in fighting copyright piracy, and recently won Welsh Government backing to establish and run an anti-piracy hub creating more than 70 jobs.

Established in 1996, Foundry is headquartered in London, with offices in Manchester, Los Angeles, and Silicon Valley.

Its software is used in the film, TV, design, gaming, virtual reality, automotive, apparel and education industries, and the company has worked with some of the world’s most renowned studios.

CJCH will fulfil an anti-piracy and compliance role, tracking down illegal users of Foundry visual effects software, Nuke (visual effects), Modo (3D modelling), Mari (high resolution 3D painting), and Katana (high efficiency CG look development and lighting).

Nuke software has been used in many recent blockbusters, including Tom Cruise’s Edge of Tomorrow, Guardians of the Galaxy, Avatar and The Twilight Saga.

CJCH has helped recoup millions of euros for clients in recent years, and targeted initiatives in Spain alone last year generated over 500,000 euros in settlements for one software client.

Steve Rees, of the CJCH intellectual property (IP), anti-piracy and compliance team, said: We are excited to be involved in a new venture with Foundry, given the success we’ve had with clients in other sectors of licence compliance.

Foundry’s work with visual effects is world renowned and to be protecting their IP is an exciting new challenge for the firm.

VFX (visual effects) winners at Academy Awards, whose tools were provided by Foundry, include: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Avatar, Inception, Ex Machina, and Interstellar.

CJCH, a Wales top-20 law firm with headquarters in Cardiff, has grown to more than 100 members of staff. Its expertise covers the full range of legal services including commercial, corporate, dispute resolution, intellectual property, mental health, employment law, motoring, property, family, child care, crime, wills & probate.

Further information about the firm is available at www.cjchsolicitors.co.uk.

 

Lloyds Bank raise over £25,000 for Techniquest

By Raspberry Jim,

Lloyds Bank is helping ensure Wales develops a scientifically literate society through raising £25,000 for educational charity Techniquest.

The science discovery centre in Cardiff Bay was chosen as the recipients of the bank’s fundraising efforts earlier this year.

Since then it has hosted two events in support of the charity, which is Wales’ largest provider of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) enrichment activity.

Techniquest were the stars of Lloyds’ Einstein-a-Go-Go fundraising ball a few weeks ago, where £16,000 was raised through a raffle and silent auction.

Hosted at the Mercure Cardiff Hotel, the fundraiser welcomed over 200 people who enjoyed a three-course meal and a night of entertainment, including a guest appearance from Britain’s Got Talent’s The Balloonatic.

While back in May £10,300 was raised at a musical extravaganza held at the science discovery centre where guests enjoyed performances from Mark Llewellyn Evans, Manon Ogwen Parry, Alexander Johnson and Pendyrus Male Voice Choir.

With few people knowing that Techniquest is a charity-based organisation, both events helped raise the profile of the much-loved institution which has welcomed over 5m visitors since its opened 30 years ago. Lesley Kirkpatrick, CEO at Techniquest said: “We have been overwhelmed by the support from Lloyds Bank and are indebted for the support they have given us.

“We have so many exciting plans for the future to develop Techniquest and the significant amount raised by Lloyds will make a huge difference. It’s crucial that we invest in our offering so that we can continue to inspire and engage the next generation in STEM and in turn support the Welsh economy.”

Jonathon Cave, relationship manager at Lloyds Bank, said: “Techniquest has such an important role to play in Wales. Through both in-reach at its science discovery centre attracting communities across Wales and outreach at schools across Wales, it is very successful at making science both fun and engaging. To ensure the charity has a sustainable future and can develop its offering further, we were more than happy to support them.

“We’re delighted with how much we’ve raised which we know will be put to good use and want to thank all the guests that joined us at our events.”

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Local engineering student takes ‘trip of a lifetime’ to world-famous CERN facility

By Raspberry Jim,

An engineering apprentice from Pencoed’s Sony UK Technology Centre has been on “the trip of a lifetime” to the world’s most powerful particle accelerator.

Max Rochefort-Shugar has visited the European Organization for Nuclear Research, known as CERN, in Switzerland, which pioneers some of the world’s most advanced research.

As part of his visit to the world-renowned facility, the 20-year-old apprentice from Sony UK TEC had the opportunity to view the anti-particle factory which houses the Large Hadron Collider.

The machine is the world’s largest and most powerful particle collider which allows physicists to test the predictions of different theories of particle physics.

As a budding engineer, the Merthyr College student was “blown away” by this, with experts at the facility also giving him an insight into the physics behind particle accelerators.

He said: “It was an absolutely unforgettable experience, and I thoroughly enjoyed.

“It was fascinating to see the Physics concepts I had learned at school being applied as part of the ongoing research at CERN.

“The work that I saw being carried out there into asset management software, archive documents, and their use of software to manage the organisation’s operations between departments, will also be highly beneficial as part of my apprenticeship with Sony UK TEC.

“CERN research the unexplored areas of the physical world, the visit has inspired me to continue to ask questions, explore new concepts, be curious about why things are the way they are, and to think differently. There can be multiple solutions to a problem and it’s important to look at things from different angles.”

Mr Rochefort-Shugar was chosen to take part in the research trip after joining Sony UK TEC, in Pencoed, as an apprentice electrical and software engineer 10 months ago.

Mr Rochefort-Shugar is one of 11 apprentices undergoing training at the facility, which produces thousands of HD broadcast and professional cameras for global distribution annually, including the latest 4K models.

Sony UK TEC director of professional services Gerald Kelly said that the facility had a responsibility to inspire the next generation of technologically literate employees.

He said: “As a factory which is invested in ensuring the continued success of the STEM sector in Wales, we feel it is essential to help nurture talent and develop the skills of tomorrow’s workforce.

“Our apprenticeship programme gives our people the opportunity to gain first-hand experience in a global manufacturing facility alongside some of the most highly-skilled teams in the world.

“Here they can see products going through every step of the manufacturing process from creation to distribution – so they gain a really thorough understanding of what the sector consists of, and it’s all under one roof.

“As a socially responsible business, we feel it is our duty to inspire tomorrow’s engineers with trips such as this to the CERN facility. We hope that Max and the others who attended will bring back some innovative ideas from their visit, which they can apply throughout the Welsh engineering industry.”

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Sustainable technology leader appointed to Greenaway Scott Group Board

By Raspberry Jim,

Sustainable technology leader Suzannah Bourne has been appointed to the board of progressive Cardiff advisory group Greenaway Scott.

The co-founder of Nemein, which develops technologies to enhance the safety of downhole oil and gas exploration, will join the firm as a non-executive director this month.

Ms Bourne is a qualified mechanical engineer who has been recognised among The Manufacturer’ Top 100 role models as one of the UK’s dynamic leaders and innovators in manufacturing.

She will join the board of Greenaway Scott Group, which currently includes chairman Peter Wright; CEO Nigel Greenaway; corporate director Matt Sutton; commercial director Rhian Osborne; and finance director Anthony Milford.

Mr Greenaway, founder of the advisory firm, which provides legal and business finance advice across the life science, technology, pharmaceutical and IT sectors via group companies Greenaway Scott and Verde Corporate Finance, said they were delighted to have a non-executive director with such specialist business acumen join the board.

He said: “Suzannah’s focus and impressive business sense are qualities we have long admired at Greenaway Scott and we are delighted to have her on the board.

“Her passion for the sustainable technology sector has driven the undeniable success of Nemein and she will undoubtedly be an asset at Greenaway Scott.

“We would like to officially welcome her to the board, and we look forward to working with her going forwards.”

Ms Bourne has run Nemein for four years making her mark on the sustainable technology energy sector. Before this she co-founded and built Guardian Global Technologies.

On her appointment, she said: “I am delighted to be invited to join the board of such a dynamic and industry-leading organisation and excited to work with Nigel and the team going forwards.”

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Wales’s first Australasian restaurant to open in Cardiff

By Raspberry Jim,

A restaurant which draws inspiration from the eclectic food culture and bold flavours of Australasia is set to launch in Cardiff, the first of its kind in Wales.

Cardiff’s five-star St David’s Hotel, respected as an innovative leader in the hotel industry, is launching a brand new restaurant concept on 15th September, with its name – The Admiral St David – derived from the hotel’s nautical roots.

The contemporary new restaurant and bar, which boasts unimpeded views of Cardiff Bay, will be introducing dishes influenced by countries within the Australasian and Asia-Pacific region including Australia, Indonesia, Thailand, Japan and Sri Lanka.

The all-day menu devised by the hotel’s executive chef Martyn Watkins, uses the very best of seasonal Welsh produce.

Dishes on the a la carte menu include Thai sweet potato curry, chicken laksa, lemongrass-marinated Welsh lamb, and crispy Malaysian sea bream. While small bites on the bar menu include chicken satay sliders, Korean beef bon bons, Wasabi rarebit, Adobo chicken wings and Padang-style potato fritters.

General manager Russell Durnell called on food lovers to visit the “fresh and unique dining experience which is unlike anything else in Wales and the south west of England.”

He said: “We are bringing the zest, spice and flavours of new Australasian dining to the heart of Cardiff Bay and taking our guests on a culinary journey.

“Diners at The Admiral St David will experience a melting pot of flavours and cultures in a mouthful. We have taken the very best dishes from Asia-Pacific and Australasia and added the best Welsh produce to offer something exciting and different.

“We look forward to seeing our guests enjoy the “deliciousness” of our new restaurant concept which we are certain will fast become a firm favourite in the Cardiff dining scene.”

The Australasian-inspired food menu, is complemented by an extensive drinks menu with wine, spirits, beer and cocktail with a distinctly New World theme. As well as several rum based cocktails including Pearjito and honeysuckle daiquiri, it has used its local roots to put a twist on several classic cocktails with the Tiger Bay Punch, James’s Giant Peach Bellini, George’s Marvellous Medicine and the Welsh 75.

Mr Durnell continued: “Our bright, relaxed retreat overlooking Cardiff Bay is the ideal spot for couples and friends going out for drinks. Alongside some of Wales’ very best drinks producers such as Penderyn, we’ve got a big selection of world whiskies and wines allowing our guests to sample delights from around the globe. We’ve also had some real fun with our cocktail menu putting a twist on several classics with some surprising fresh flavours. I think our Kiwi and Lychee Cosmo and Honeysuckle Daiquiri will be big hits!”

The restaurant is open seven days a week with the bar open from 12 noon to late and restaurant serving lunch: 12.30-2pm, dinner: 5.30-10pm and afternoon tea: 2.30-4.30pm.

The new restaurant and bar has been launched in the former Tempus at Tides eatery located in the five-star hotel, operated by The Principal Hotel Company.

Its overhaul comes as the national group, which manages hotels in London, Edinburgh, and Manchester, aims to expand its reach this year with new ventures including the St David’s Hotel, and Blythswood Square and The Grand Central Hotel in Glasgow.

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Law firm expands with new business law offering

By Raspberry Jim,

Regional law firm Watkins and Gunn has made a high-profile appointment to its award-winning team to support the continued expansion of the business.

Faris Dean has been recruited to head up a new team focusing on business law.

The firm, with offices in Newport, Cardiff, Pontypool and London, will now provide a wealth of corporate and commercial services including partnership and investment agreements, buying and selling of businesses and shares, shareholders agreements, advising on commercial contracts and drafting terms and conditions of business.

Joining the team from Richard Nelson LLP with 15 years of experience, Mr Dean, who is also a qualified accountant and fluent Arabic speaker, will assist the firm in developing the new department.

Providing both local and national SMEs with legal support, Mr Dean will also work to develop Watkins and Gunn’s international business offering, particularly targeting the Middle East, where it is already acting on behalf of an airline company.

Speaking of his new role, he said: “I’m thrilled to have joined the team here. Watkins and Gunn is a progressive firm. It has an excellent reputation in South Wales and has won a number of awards to back this up. I was interested in joining to expand its offering and develop the business internationally. My goal is to set up and expand the corporate commercial service to a level that makes a positive contribution to the firm.”

Clive Thomas, managing partner at Watkins and Gunn said: “We are delighted to have someone of Faris’s calibre join the team. His reputation precedes him and his experience will undoubtedly benefit us as we continue to expand the business.”

“We’re looking forward to offering new and existing clients a full range of corporate and commercial legal services. It is a very exciting time at Watkins and Gunn, with so many new developments and opportunities, and this appointment is the latest example.”

Watkins and Gunn offers a wide range of legal services including Accident Claims, Medical Negligence, Wills and Probate, Employment Law, Education Law, Public Law, Business Law, Divorce and Family Law, Childcare Law, Criminal Law, Road Traffic Law and Property.Untitled design-21

 

Techniquest strengthens team as events take off

By Raspberry Jim,

Techniquest, the educational charity in Cardiff Bay, has recruited a conference and events development manager to spearhead its brand-new event services.

The science discovery centre has welcomed Gareth McTiffin into a new position at the organisation, having launched its events offering in May to diversify revenue streams.

Mr McTiffen brings a wealth of experience to the organisation having worked for Merlin Events and Pinewood Studios, overseeing a diverse range of venues and attractions including the London Eye and Thorpe Park.

In his new role, he will be responsible for developing, marketing and managing the events offering at Techniquest.

Providing a unique and unusual backdrop for both personal and business occasions, Techniquest offers waterfront meeting and conference facilities, as well as its exhibition hall, planetarium and science theatre for venue hire.

For the first time in its history, Techniquest will this year host a series of Christmas parties for corporate organisations who are looking for something different.

Home to 120-hands on exhibits, it has already hosted the Cardiff Blues team for a team building day and hosted over 100 guests at its own 30th anniversary celebration last year, where Virgin Galactic’s commercial director Stephen Attenborough was guest speaker.

Speaking of his new role, Gareth commented: “I’m thrilled to join the team at Techniquest, as it has a truly unique offering for event bookers in Cardiff and the surrounding areas.

“Its architecturally acclaimed building is a perfect venue for many occasions – from corporate events, meetings and award dinners to wedding receptions, birthday celebrations and anniversary dinners.

“Being part of the story as Techniquest grows its events offering, was a huge draw for me. It also played a huge part of my childhood, and seemed like the perfect next step in my career.

“Having delivered corporate, private and ticketed events I’ve had to overcome many challenges that come with working within unique venues so I feel my experience is well placed to help Techniquest going forward.”

Lesley Kirkpatrick, CEO at Techniquest, said: “Our new events offering has generated a lot of interest since launching in May, and recruiting the right Conference and Events Development Manager was pivotal to our success going forward.

“As soon as we met Gareth, his experience really set him apart and made him the ideal candidate. We’re looking forward to working alongside him during this exciting new chapter for Techniquest.”

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Construction leaders urged to ‘act fast’ if they spot worker exploitation

By Raspberry Jim,

Welsh construction companies are being urged to “act immediately” if they fear they are linked to modern slavery through their supply chains.

A leading Cardiff lawyer is calling on managers and leaders throughout the industry to be aware of exploitation of workers hired through third-party contracts.

It is claimed that the industry could be particularly vulnerable to this form of exploitation as a result of its reliance on contracted workers, cost-driven suppliers, and employees from socially deprived backgrounds.
This comes as figures from the National Crime Agency revealed there were 123 modern slavery referrals to the National Referral Mechanism in Wales in 2016. Just under half of these, 53, were in relation to labour exploitation, the statistics revealed.

Rhiannon Evans, a Legal Executive at Blackfords LLP, said construction managers and leaders should remain vigilant to exploitation to avoid being implicated themselves.

She said: “The construction sector is frequently recognised among the most prevalent for worker exploitation, as a result of the global trend towards outsourcing within the industry and its dependence on third-party contractors, who could be supplied from a number of different sources.

“While the vast majority would never knowingly partake in any exploitation, this potential lack of knowledge surrounding employee circumstances and conditions may not be a strong enough defence, so employers cannot afford to turn a blind eye to this.

“Employers who have hired in a victim of modern slavery, could be implicated in the offence themselves, which could have serious consequences for themselves and their business. Even in situations where a potential victim appears to consent or acquiesce to their treatment or conditions, this does not necessarily mean they are acting under their own free will.

“If there is any suspicion at all that you or your company are somehow involved in worker exploitation through a supply chain, act immediately and notify the authorities.

“In doing so you are creating a fairer, more equal working environment, not just for your business, but across the industry as a whole.”

The Welsh Government has this year introduced the Code of Practice for Ethical Employment in Supply Chains, in a bid to end the pattern of exploitation through third-party contractors.

The guidelines aim to create more transparency surrounding contracted workers to prevent this frequent method of exploitation.

Miss Evans said: “These guidelines will provide more clarity for businesses on what constitutes modern slavery and how it can be prevented.

“Not only will it help to curb this practice, it will also protect managers across the industry, by providing them with the tools they need to protect themselves against becoming inadvertently involved in exploitation.”

Blackfords is highly experienced in modern slavery cases across the UK. The firm, which specialises in defending complex criminal cases across Wales and England, is currently acting for a Welsh family and several others who have been accused of modern slavery offences through labour exploitation.

Miss Evans said: “We have seen a number of cases of exploitation through labour, with many across the construction industry. However, managers in the sector should not feel they must stop using contractors for fear of implicating themselves in an offence. Rather, they can continue to use legal third-party contractors, but we would just urge them to be vigilant of any warning signs.”

Miss Evans offered top tips to construction industry managers to be aware of, including:

  • Workers without identification documents.
  • Very low paid workers, or those who are not paid at all.
    Food or water deprivation, and lack of medical care.
  • Limited or no social interaction with colleagues or others.
  • Distrustful of authorities and/or afraid of revealing their immigration status.

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Crash for cash conviction rise leads to ‘increasingly complex’ scams

By Raspberry Jim,

Desperate crash for cash scammers are making schemes increasingly complex following court appearances by over 150 people for these offences in Wales, a leading Cardiff solicitor has warned.

Criminal lawyer Phillip Williams of leading firm Blackfords LLP said the number of people facing prosecution for these offences over the past year has resulted in a worrying trend emerging across Wales.
He claimed that up to four scam artists are now targeting any one victim, to make the fake crash appear more legitimate and increase the likelihood of receiving a successful insurance pay out.

Mr Williams, who heads the firm’s Cardiff office and specialises in complex fraud and criminal cases, said criminals are now being forced to make their scams appear more realistic due to insurers clamping down on fraudulent claims.

This comes after more than 150 people have appeared in courts across Wales since January last year. In January 2016, 81 people were sentenced in a significant £760,000 scam involving a Blackwood garage. And 73 people have also appeared in court this year in relation to alleged offences.

Mr Williams said with prosecutions such as these becoming more frequent criminal schemes are becoming more intricate.

He said: “We have seen major convictions in Wales in relation to these types of offences over the past year, which will undoubtedly help to clamp down on crash for cash schemes.

“However, rather than deterring criminals, we are definitely seeing a trend where this type of scheme is becoming even more in depth, and has moved on beyond one car crashing into another.

“It is now becoming far more complex. You now see maybe two drivers involved in hitting the victim’s car, then a local garage could be involved, and even in some extreme cases a solicitor too.

“This issue has really come to the forefront lately as insurance companies have taken a harsher stance on bogus claims. We have also seen an increase in prosecutions as the law aims to prevent the spread of these scams.

“Going forwards these increased measures by insurers and the courts could help to deter potential criminals looking to benefit from this type of scam. Ultimately this will be good news for law-abiding drivers, helping to reduce the number of those affected by these scams, and prevent insurance premiums from being adversely affected.”

 

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Greenway Scott advises on global medical device acquisition

By Raspberry Jim,

Cardiff’s award-winning Greenaway Scott has facilitated the acquisition of an international medical device company helping to create a “significant” new presence in the global maternity industry.

The business advisory firm has supported American medical device company Clinical Innovations in its acquisition of German developer Brenner Medical GmbH.

The deal, completed via Clinical Innovations Europe, will see the labour and delivery-focussed equipment business expand on its international presence to help support more expectant mothers across Europe.

Thanks to the deal, Clinical Innovations will also be able to capitalise on the extensive gynecology product network developed by Brenner, and broaden its commercial reach to enjoy further success across the industry.

Matt Sutton, director of corporate at Greenaway Scott, which specialises in supporting companies in the science, technology, pharmaceutical and IT sectors, headed an international team of advisors along with Dr Steffen Fritzsche, of Gruendelpartner.

On the deal Mr Sutton said: “Greenaway Scott was pleased to assist in the acquisition of Brenner Medical GmbH by Clinical Innovations Europe.

“The acquisition, which we worked alongside Gruendelpartner on, was carried out extremely effectively and efficiently to ensure the best outcome for both businesses.

“This is an intelligent move by Clinical Innovations which will enable them to grow and expand across Europe and the global medical community.

“We wish them every success as they go forward with the growing business.”Untitled design-2