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Optimistic companies expect revenue growth over the next 12 months

With disruption rewriting traditional business operations, private business leaders remain steadfast in their optimism about the year ahead. In its second report on this important market segment, “Global perspectives for private companies: Agility in changing markets,” Deloitte details that despite market challenges, three-quarters of private business leaders express high or extremely high confidence in the success of their private firm over the next 24 months.

In a survey of 2,550 private company leaders across 30 countries, Deloitte found that the majority of respondents anticipate growth in six of eight key business metrics in the next 12 months. The strongest growth is predicted for revenue, productivity and profits – with companies in the Americas taking the lead in terms of expected increases, compared to counterparts in the Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific regions.

“Private business leaders don’t necessarily view today’s disruption as negative, but rather as offering new opportunities for growth,” said Jason Downing, vice chairman of Deloitte LLP and the U.S. Deloitte Private leader. “Despite some concern about trade policy and geopolitical uncertainty, the majority of executives we surveyed are highly optimistic about growth and truly have confidence in their company’s success in the year ahead.”

Proactivity is catalysing productivity

Technology has brought business closer to its customers but it has also upended business models. It has driven efficiencies but also fostered uncertainties. To address these conditions, firms globally are not staying idle but considering (43%) and implementing (40%) new business models to navigate disruption.

In conjunction with exploring new business models, companies are also looking for ways to improve growth. Globally, the top two strategies for firms are increased productivity (29%) and new product/service development (24%). Interestingly, these same two categories rank as the top competitive advantages.

Talent as the differentiator

Despite advances in adoption and implementation of technology, private business leaders realise their employees can be the differentiator and are investing in them through the following initiatives: 39% are devoting assets to training programs, 35% are increasing the number of full-time employees and 33% are investing in leadership development.

In order to attract and retain employees, 4-in-10 firms plan to reimagine learning and development programs using experiential formats, develop strategies to build an inclusive workforce, and increase their focus on flexibility and well-being programs.

Social purpose fuels corporate profits

With the influence of social media and the rise of employee activism, the majority of private business executives recognise that having a strong company culture is not a “nice to have” but a “need to have.” More than three-quarters (77%) of survey respondents agree that culture is strategically important to the success of the business.

Culture encompasses much more than the activity happening within a business and private company leaders today recognise this new reality. Specifically, the concept of social responsibility is resonating with private firms worldwide, with 66% viewing it as a top or high priority for their organisation. To make the most of these initiatives, organisations are focusing on corporate strategy as well as employee and customer branding to separate themselves farther from the competition.

Conducting business across borders

Regardless of business size or industry, technology has blurred borders and provides every company with the ability to be a global enterprise. In fact, the top driver cited for M&A activity over the next 12 months is the opportunity to enter new global markets (39%). The survey found that many private business executives expect to conduct an aggressive merger and acquisition strategy, with 42% believing it is likely or very likely they will participate in an acquisition in that timeframe.

This potential expansion comes in the face of uncertainties ignited by global trade tensions. While 24% of global respondents view trade barriers as a significant risk to growth, it is not at the expense of private business’ optimism: 15% of respondents cite entry into foreign markets as their company’s main growth strategy over the next 12 months.

“Despite some areas of uncertainty, private businesses remain the engine behind the global economy, fueled by their agility and ability to innovate,” Downing said.

About Deloitte Private

Deloitte Private is exclusively focused on serving private clients of all sizes and driven to address the opportunities and challenges unique to private businesses. Deloitte Private delivers audit and assurance, tax, consulting and risk and financial advisory services tailored for private companies, including family-owned businesses, closely held (nonfamily) businesses and private equity and venture-capital-backed businesses.

About Deloitte

Deloitte provides industry-leading audit, consulting, tax and advisory services to many of the world’s most admired brands, including nearly 90 percent of the Fortune 500 and more than 5,000 private and middle market companies. Our people work across the industry sectors that drive and shape today’s marketplace to make an impact that matters — delivering measurable and lasting results that help reinforce public trust in our capital markets, inspire clients to see challenges as opportunities to transform and thrive, and help lead the way toward a stronger economy and a healthy society. Deloitte is proud to be part of the largest global professional services network serving our clients in the markets that are most important to them.

Deloitte refers to one or more of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, a UK private company limited by guarantee (“DTTL”), its network of member firms, and their related entities. DTTL and each of its member firms are legally separate and independent entities. DTTL (also referred to as “Deloitte Global”) does not provide services to clients. In the United States, Deloitte refers to one or more of the US member firms of DTTL, their related entities that operate using the “Deloitte” name in the United States and their respective affiliates. Certain services may not be available to attest clients under the rules and regulations of public accounting. Please see https://www2.deloitte.com/uk/en.html about to learn more about our global network of member firms.

DLA Piper Africa claims top spot in M&A for Africa

For the first time, DLA Piper also claimed the top spot on the Mergermarket league table for M&A (based on deal count) in Africa, it added.

According to Mergermarket, the company has advised 43 deals in the Middle East and Africa combined and 30 deals in Africa alone. The company also ranked high in the Mergermarket league tables in a number of regions around the world, including:

  • 1 Global Deal Count (671)
  • 1 Europe Deal Count (411)
  • 3 US Deal Count (296)
  • 1 Nordics Deal Count (131)
  • 1 UK Deal Count (128)
  • 1 Denmark Deal Count (63)
  • 1 France Deal Count (56)
  • 1 the Middle East & Africa Deal Count (43)
  • 1 Africa Deal Count (30)
  • 1 Russia Deal Count (9)

Johannes Gouws, director and managing partner at DLA Piper in South Africa, said, “We are delighted to be ranked number one for deal count in Africa for the first time. It shows that our M&A strategy in Africa is starting to deliver the results we are aiming for.”

“With 20 DLA Piper and DLA Piper Africa offices in countries right across Africa, and numerous other Africa-specialists from financial markets across the globe, there really is no other law firm that can match our M&A offering on the African Continent,” he added.

Counterfeiting Law: How Effective is Enforcement in Cameroon?

Cameroon (like most of the other OAPI Countries), has no legislation dealing specifically with counterfeiting laws, but the legislators, through various statutes have provided statutory, civil, criminal and administrative remedies.

However, Counterfeiting has been majorly dealt by Intellectual Property Law as it directly invokes the Intellectual Property Rights of the aggrieved. For instance, our Trademark law necessitates appropriate action against passing off, which refers to the imitation of marks or goods in order to take advantage of the goodwill of the lawful owner as well as causes confusion among the consumers.

Some of the remedies provided by the Cameroon legal system acting against counterfeiting have been briefly discussed below but only as for trade marks, as carried in the revised Bangui Accord and other broken legislation:

  • Our Trade Mark law provides civil as well as criminal remedies against infringement of any registered and/or well known trademark. The trade mark law provides administrative remedies, whereby the aggrieved can redress his grievance by seeking intervention from the competent civil court. The law therefore allows the owner of the trade mark to file a suit against infringement. Further, the trademark laws as well as our civil procedure code empowers the court to grant ex-parte injunctions in appropriate cases in order to restraint the infringers from selling counterfeit goods and for discovery of documents or other related evidence. Further, the law provides for civil relief including injunctions, rendition of accounts of profits and delivery up of infringing products for its destruction.
  • The Trade Mark law provides penalty for applying false trademark and/or trade description, etc. with imprisonment and fines in various amounts.
  • The Cameroon Penal Code sets out punishments for cheating, counterfeiting and possession of instruments for making counterfeits etc. The code’s provisions can be invoked in criminal actions, in addition to the provisions of specific statutes.
  • For the time being, the laws do not allow holders of specific IP rights such as trademarks, copyright, patents, designs and geographical indications to record their grievances with Customs officials for prompt seizure of counterfeit goods at the port itself.

As the first lines of defence against the cross-border movement of counterfeited/ pirated articles are the National Customs and Border protection authorities, we are hopeful that a Customs law will soon be put in place, to regulate the import and export of goods and this should go a long way to strengthen IP enforcement as it will empower the government to enforce prohibition on the import and export of certain goods to protect Trademarks, Patents, Copyrights, etc. and gives power to the custom officials to confiscate goods imported or exported, unlawfully or illegally.

Criminal Remedy

IP rights are private rights that are mostly enforceable through civil litigation. However, the prevalence of counterfeiting, passing off and piracy along with the economic damage they cause has led to an increased importance of criminal sanctions here. It can be observed that, only few statutes like Trademarks law, the Copyright law, and the Geographical Indications, etc. provide criminal remedies. The punishment varies from 6 months to 3 years of imprisonment and various fines.

Our laws acknowledge this crime as cognisable wherein the police can take action and carry out search and seizure with a court warrant.

Despite having a developing legal framework for anti-counterfeiting in liaison with Police, the mandate of the prevailing law is debilitated by the lax attitude of Police. In addition, Criminal trials become excruciatingly lengthy resulting in heavy backlog of cases for the courts. This has resulted in low conviction rates, thereby reducing the efficacy of criminal remedy sought against counterfeiters.

The Cameroon Penal code acknowledges this crime as cognisable wherein the police can take action and carry out search and seizure with a court warrant/order.

Civil remedies against counterfeiting mostly include injunctions, damages and/or rendition of accounts. The mandate civil remedy is to stop distribution, manufacturing, or retailing of the infringing product or gaining profits from using the pirated product of the rightful owner of the products.

A civil court may even grant ex-parte injunctions while the proceedings are on. Further, the courts have widened their scope in order to deal with a serious issue of counterfeiting and the jurisprudence under this subject is growing as the courts have introduced many interim reliefs under civil remedies through various case laws.

The biggest problem here in defying counterfeiting is the paucity of legal framework and the ever increasing degree of similarity between the genuine and counterfeited products. Therefore, in addition to the existing provisions of civil and criminal laws, it is incumbent upon the government to take up initiatives to educate people about the menace of counterfeiting and its repercussions. The OAPI is working with our Ministry of commerce et seq and are planning Sensitisation campaigns can be a vital tool here.

Taking recourse to criminal or civil remedies against counterfeiting depends upon the objective that the Plaintiff seeks to achieve, keeping in view the consequences of the laws. The recourse to civil or criminal remedies provided by appropriate law for an act of counterfeiting should be construed on the basis of the magnitude of the act’s consequences. A criminal action can be an effective remedy to safeguard the interest of general public, especially when the issues of infringement and counterfeiting are growing epidemically.

Likewise, a civil recourse can be taken up where a defendant can be easily identified and is based in a specific established market. The advantage of a civil suit is that the courts can grant an interim injunction along with an Anton Piller order for search and seizure of counterfeit products.

Cameroon has a seemingly growing legal framework for combating counterfeiting laws; however, there are gaping holes in the area of enforcement. However, the slow court procedure and laxity on part of Police in matters of counterfeiting, severely handicap any recourse that an aggrieved might take up. Thus, it is utmost important that strong IP laws be supported by equally strong enforcement.

In a nutshell, the following actions are taken here in order to institute raid action:

  1. Test purchase obtained, reported to client, obtained confirmation from client that the goods are counterfeit; and
  2. Prepare complaint and supporting affidavits, lodge with authorities, liaise with authorities and attend search and seizure operation.

Once the search and seizure operation is complete, the client has an election to proceed civilly and/or criminally. Once the civil and criminal cases are finalised, the goods may be destroyed.

Carlton Fon Akkum

Carlton Fon Akkum

DLA Piper Law Firm IP and Technology News PDF

Portable Document Format (PDF), standardised as ISO 32000, is a file format developed by Adobe in 1992 to present documents, including text formatting and images, in a manner independent of application software, hardware, and operating systems.

Multinational law firm DLA Piper has released the Intellectual Property and Technology News – United States.

DLA Piper IP and Technology News PDF

DLA Piper is a multinational law firm with offices in more than 40 countries throughout the Americas, Asia Pacific, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East.

PDF Contents

  • The right of publicity in college sports
  • Trade Dress Watch
  • Supreme Court corner
  • The future of DNA patents
  • The impact of inter partes review on patent litigation

DLA Piper Global Law Firm:

DLA Piper is a global law firm with lawyers located in more than 40 countries throughout the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific, positioning them to help clients with their legal needs around the world.

They strive to be the leading global business law firm by delivering quality and value to their clients.

DLA Piper achieve this through practical and innovative legal solutions that help their clients succeed. They deliver consistent services across our platform of practices and sectors in all matters they undertake.

Their clients range from multinational, Global 1000, and Fortune 500 enterprises to emerging companies developing industry-leading technologies. They include more than half of the Fortune 250 and nearly half of the FTSE 350 or their subsidiaries. They also advise governments and public sector bodies.