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Arguably, the Internet has emerged as one of the most ground-breaking and disruptive technologies in the history of mankind. After all, this has changed everything from the way that we shop to the channel that we use to access music, while it has also altered the nature of social interactions beyond all recognition.

Not only this, but technology has also changed the nature of financial market investment, particularly in real-time, liquid entities such as the foreign exchange. We have witnessed the emergence of live, virtual trading during the last 15 years, for example, while advanced algorithms and supercomputers are now also being used to trigger a high volume of orders within a short space of time. 

The Emergence of Technology in the Forex Market

This evolution actually began in the early 1980s, during which time stock exchanges launched primitive, electronic trading platforms that enabled investors to place orders remotely and across a dedicated network. While these platforms were extremely popular in fast-paced and volatile markets such as foreign exchange, however, they did not offer traders access to live price points or execute orders in real-time.

In fact, it was not until the emergence of the Internet during the early 1990s that these trading systems evolved to include live market prices, complex algorithms and real-time order execution. These were still largely exclusive to brokers and the those who worked within various stock exchanges, however, so the rest of the decade was dedicated to refining the underlying technology and creating portals that could be easily accessed online. This process continued in earnest between 2001 and 2005, driving the proliferation of dedicated, online trading platforms that brought access to the forex market outside of established stock exchanges.

The Last 15 Years: Mobile and High-frequency Trading

While the evolution that we saw during these 25 years was gradual rather than seismic, the same cannot be said for the changes that we have seen since. After all, the emergence of online platforms has also laid the foundation for mobile trading during the course of the last decade, with sophisticated apps such as the Metatrader range enabling investors to access their forex accounts at any time (and often without a viable Internet connection). This has improved the accuracy of forex trades and strategies, particularly for those with a short-term outlook and a penchant for day trading.

We have also seen other, more recent developments in the forex market, some of which may be considered as being controversial. As the algorithms initially associated with the market’s primitive trading systems have evolved in line with technological advancement, for example, so too they have become immensely powerful and capable of executing successful traders without human interaction. This has led to the development of dedicated supercomputers capable of driving high-frequency trading (HFT), through which a high volume of trades are executed within an exceptionally short period of time.

To put this in perspective, electronic dealing will account for an estimated 76% of all currency transactions in four years time, with an increasingly high proportion of these completed as part of a HFT strategy.

Developers of the technology will claim that this is a safer way of trading as it eliminates potentially damaging human elements such as emotion, of course, but there is evidence that a sudden surge of transactions actively destabilises an already volatile marketplace and makes it exceptionally difficult for human investors to manage risk and optimise their returns.

The Last Word

There is an old adage which suggests that the precise impact of technology depends on how it utilised, and there is no doubt that the development of HFT programs has the potential to undermine the forex market in the future. Stringent regulations therefore hold the key to maintaining the market’s equilibrium, as forex traders look to strike a balance between leveraging the technological revolution that has engulfed them and creating a relatively stable trading environment.

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Student @ Advanced Digital Sciences Center, Singapore. Travelled to 30+ countries, passion for basketball.

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Hooks for industry – what do you need to know

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Construction Machine

In construction, we often find ourselves faced with the need to lift or move very heavy materials and, to this end, the role played by cranes is fundamental.

It should not be forgotten that in order to operate a crane it is essential to be in possession of a crane operators licence and, to do so, it is necessary to be over 18 years of age, pass a medical examination, have a compulsory secondary education diploma, pass a theoretical-practical course given by professionals in the sector, as well as concluding this training with a final examination.

One of the main parts of a crane is the hook, which makes it easier to hook heavy parts safely.

It is important to emphasize that the hooking of these materials must be carried out correctly following an exhaustive protocol since the detachment of these materials can cause very serious and even lethal damage and injuries. This is why these hooks require periodic revisions to check the conditions in which they are, since if they show deterioration or possible cracks, it would be necessary to replace the hook since it is not possible to work with damaged hooks.

The construction sector is very important all over the world, especially for all kinds of commercial and personal projects. The machine par excellence to carry out a work of great calibre is the crane, thanks to all the benefits and advantages that it leaves with it, such as the speed and the possibility of moving heavier elements thanks to the crane hook.

As in everything else, there are different more specific equipment depending on the type of material to be used and the size of the load itself. Therein lies the importance of the hook, which is in charge of ensuring that this material can reach its destination in the best possible way and without causing accidents along the way.

It is the companies contracted for the construction of the infrastructure themselves that are in charge of renting this type of vehicle or, in some cases, if they already have their own, they can save a large amount of money. The heaviest ones can even exceed 40 tons in weight.

What kind of materials can they transport? From pictures, screens, lifts, air conditioning and even essential elements for the assembly or disassembly of various heavy objects, which humans can not manipulate by their own.

However, not everything is as simple as having one of these machines and getting into the cabin. The engineer who is responsible for driving it must be well prepared and have advanced knowledge of what he is doing. No one wants all the work to be thrown overboard by one simple mistake, hence the importance of this person.

In the same way, the fact that all the contracted team is made up of professionals can reduce both the risks and the total costs that are going to be carried out and, if all this were not enough, you will also be making sure that the machinery will be handled successfully and the final work will obtain a better result.

The expert gets a very clear function, review the existing working conditions and know what kind of equipment and material is necessary to meet the needs of the client.

It should not be forgotten that in order to operate a crane it is essential to be in possession of a crane operators licence and, to do so, it is necessary to be over 18 years of age, pass a medical examination, have a compulsory secondary education diploma, pass a theoretical-practical course given by professionals in the sector, as well as concluding this training with a final examination.

Other option is the Elebia auto hooks for industry, that is the automatic hook. This is an innovative hook. It is a device that allows unloading remotely without the need for manual presence of any operator. It has a magnet, sibil lock, which blocks the rotating part avoiding the possibility of loosening.

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ILMAP leads the way in quality for all types of water management hardware

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For over 50 years ILMAP have been developing and refining the technology and materials used in the installation and management of water management. Using the wealth of experience gained through all those years in the field, they have been able to build a wide range of products that meet a huge range of specifications.

Specialising in nozzles, traps, collectors and other accessories, their products have a wide range of application across the production of drinking water and demineralized water, treatment of waste water and filtration and water treatment  for the pharmaceutical and food industry. With so much experience and innovation ILMAP is one of the leading filter nozzle manufacturers in the world.

Filter nozzles for water treatment for industrial and residential uses

Specialists Ilmap – Filter Nozzles Made in Italy provide a wide range of water filter nozzles  and nozzle strainer for water treatment.

Across industrial applications, the products cater for a variety of industries, including electricity  power generation, chemicals and pharmaceuticals, the food and beverage industry and the agricultural sector. But is also developed for domestic uses, such as in home swimming pools, irrigation and water softening filters.

Application can range from industrial water treatment and waste water treatment to water purification and ion exchange systems, all with the highest quality and safety at the forefront of development.

Parts are produced by state of the art modern injection moulding machines, known for reliability  and high standards of finish. Customers are always at the forefront and ILMAP prides itself on offering the best in customer service. With more than 700 m2 of warehouse, supply is assured and delivery procedures set to fixed lead times, so work can be planned accordingly.

It is not only nozzles, ILMAP also produces resin traps that guarantee effective protection against material losses in your system, in materials like plastic and stainless less as required.

Quality products in the best materials for the job

ILMAP has put a huge amount of effort in the research and development of their products over the years combining experience with the latest materials and efficient production processes.

The focus has been to ensure the best quality products, with dimensional accuracy and repeatability in the production time and design. Also a key focus is compliance with standard measurement and the control of the raw materials in production. So confident in their passion for good practices, they will open their factory for both client inspections and for certification bodies to review the procedures and controls.

With a fully functional test laboratory to allow testing of the pressure drop of the nozzles and the correct certifications available, it is easy to have confidence in the products.

Independently certified for guaranteed quality

All products are manufactured with top quality materials purchased from leading suppliers. Polypropylene, PVDF, ABS and masterbatches used are certified by the manufacturer for contact with drinking water according to the main current world regulations.

Even once the raw materials have entered production, and so the raw material certification becomes invalid, the final products are also audited at authorised laboratories gaining the following certifications:

ITALY – D.M. 174 del 06.05.2004

FRANCE – ACS Certification

UNITED KINGDOM – WRAS – BS 6920 Approved Material

“Suitability of non-metallic products for use in contact with water intended for human
consumption with regard to their effect on the quality of the water”

EUROPE – Food Safety Regulation – (EU) 10/2011 & 1935/2004 EC

“materials and articles intended to come into contact with food”.

All offering reassurance for the purchaser in the standards that are applied, especially where the products come into contact with potable water. It is very important for any company involved in the purification or management of water to ensure that their suppliers follow these standards, and ILMAP are well prepared to meet them as part of their core principles of manufacturing.

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Dawn Ellmore Employment reviews the shock defeat for McDonald’s as it’s stripped of its ‘Big Mac’ EU trade mark

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For more than half a century McDonald’s has been a recognisable brand in just about every country you can think of. According to its website, the chain has restaurants in 101 countries. Its 36,000+ restaurants serve around 69 million fast food fans every single day.

With stats like this, and McDonald’s easily recognised by just about anybody, the recent EU trade mark ruling has surprised many. McDonald’s has just lost its EU trade mark for the Big Mac in what is dubbed a ‘David and Goliath’ battle with a small Irish chain.

How did McDonald’s lose its Big Mac EU trade mark?

When Supermac’s took on the might of McDonald’s in a trade mark battle, it was assumed by many that the smaller chain would lose. While Supermac’s may not be a household name in the UK, however, it’s much loved in Ireland.

Now the largest fast food chain in Ireland, Supermac’s began in 1978 and today has more than 110 franchises and restaurants all over the country. Founded by Pat and Una McDonagh, it was named after his nickname, ‘Supermac’ when he played Gaelic football. They also own Claddagh Irish Pubs & Restaurants through Supermac’s Ireland Ltd.

The EU trade mark battle

Supermac’s has been locked into an ongoing fight with McDonald’s since 2015, when it announced plans to expand into the EU and UK. McDonald’s initially objected to Supermac’s registering a number of trade marks for products and its name. They argued that the names McDonald’s and Supermac’s are too similar and would cause customer confusion. McDonald’s further argued that the Supermac’s brand name is visually too similar to their trade mark.

Supermac’s responded by pointing out that they had happily traded at the same time as McDonald’s in Ireland for more than 30 years with no signs of confusion on the part of customers.

Initially, McDonald’s won a part-victory when the European Union’s Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market (OHIM) decided that Supermac can continue to trade in its own name within the EU. However, it rejected the Irish company’s trade mark applications for various products and menu items, saying that consumers might “be confused as to whether Supermac’s is a new version of McDonald’s”, given that there are near-identical products sold by both restaurant chains.

Revoking McDonald’s EU trade marks

In January 2019, the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) made a decision that allows victory to Supermac’s after all. By ruling that EU trade marks owned by McDonald’s are to be revoked, Supermac’s is clear to expand into the rest of the EU.

The landmark decision went into effect immediately, on the basis that the EUIPO rules that McDonald’s had failed to prove “genuine use” of its Big Mac trade mark as a restaurant or menu item.

Unsurprisingly delighted, Pat McDonagh says: “Never mind David versus Goliath, this unique landmark decision is akin to the Connacht team winning against the All Blacks. This is the end of the McBully. Just because McDonald’s has deep pockets and we are relatively small in context, doesn’t mean we weren’t going to fight our corner.”

How the fight played out

In April 2017, Supermac’s requested that the EUIPO cancel McDonald’s trade mark for ‘Big Mac’ and ‘Mc’. The chain also accused the US giant of “trade mark bullying” by registering and gaining protection for names, but not actually using them to stamp down any potential competition.

On its part, McDonald’s legal representatives provided signed affidavits from high level executives and showed examples of packaging and adverts to demonstrate it serves Big Macs right across the EU, and therefore deserves to retain the EU trade mark for that specific product.

However, the EUIPO deemed this “insufficient” in its judgement. As trade marks are registered at national level and at the EU, McDonald’s does not lose all of its protection for the Big Mac. They also have the right to appeal, which we suspect they are likely to do.

Supermac’s forges ahead

For Supermac’s, all eyes are on the future. Mr McDonagh says: “This now opens the door for the decision to be made by the European trade mark office to allow us to use our SuperMac as a burger across Europe.”

A representative from EIP, an intellectual property law firm, Carissa-Kendall Windless, says: “This decision is a significant one, partly because it serves as a warning to multinational companies that they can no longer simply file trade mark applications without a genuine intention to use it”.

It’s inevitable that McDonald’s will exercise its right to appeal, and it will be interesting to see how this David and Goliath battle goes on this year.

About Dawn Ellmore Employment

Dawn Ellmore Employment was incorporated in 1995 and is a market leader in intellectual property and legal recruitment.

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