Freelancer accountant at Accounts and Legal

Trademarks and Intellectual Property

It might not be the fun part of setting up a business but getting your terms and conditions is a necessity.

How we help

Our business lawyers guide you through the process to make sure your name and brand are protected from the start.

Protect your brand by registering trademarks and design rights so no one steals your brilliant idea

Make sure you’re not stealing another brand’s thunder by doing full legal clearance

Accountants James and Robin providing accounts for freelancers

So what's the big deal?

Avoid unnecessary costs later down the line and prevent any infringements

After all, you wouldn’t want to rebrand and be forced to change your brand

Don’t fall at the first hurdle, register your trademarks and intellectual property from the get-go to avoid a legal headache

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Petros Michael from the Brighton office

Intellectual property covers the elusive ‘intangible assets’ of a business or in plain English, anything created by the human brain.

So what does that mean? Well, any inventions, artistic works, literary works, trademarks, trade secrets, and industrial designs are classed as intangible assets and can be protected. Here’s a rundown of the various types of intellectual property rights that we can help you with:

  • Copyrights – slightly different to a patent, a copyright covers any original works by giving the creator exclusive rights to control the use of their creation, again, over a specified period of time. What do we mean by that? Think literary works, music, painting, photographs and even software!
  • Trademarks and design rights – this is more related to branding to ensure no one steals your firm’s thunder! Trademarks and design rights cover symbols, names, logos or designs that encapsulate what your firm is about. They provide you with the exclusive rights to use them, and protection from anyone stealing your brand’s identity.
  • Trade secrets – Think the secret ingredient of Coca-Cola – trade secrets refer to any confidential information, processes or techniques used by a business to give them that competitive edge. They can include customer lists, manufacturing processes, formulas, and other proprietary information.
  • Industrial designs – Industrial designs refer to the aesthetic aspects of a products design which need to be protected. In English? This includes the shape, configuration, patten or ornamentation of an object. E.g., the distinctive shape of Coca-Cola bottles. Intellectual Property rights are there to protect the creators or owners of businesses or products from copycats. They might seem unnecessary when you’re selling to friends, but believe us, when your business flies to the moon, you’ll regret not having them in place.

In a word, yes.

Every business should have terms and conditions to outline the rules and guidelines of their products or services. Why I hear you ask? So that the businesses and its clients are protected by setting out expectations and responsibilities from the outset, so that misunderstandings are avoided and to protect businesses from claims. So, what do they include? Terms and conditions can cover a range of topics such as payment and delivery terms, refunds and cancellations, warranties and guarantees, intellectual property rights and liability limitations. They’ll also often include specific language related to data privacy and security, user behaviour and dispute resolution. So what’s the point? Having clear and comprehensive T&Cs can help avoid legal disputes and protect a business’s interests. They also have the dual purpose of protecting the client or customer and offer a sense of security, maybe even establishing trust between the two parties. Sounds exciting, doesn’t it? Well maybe if you’re into that kind of thing, like us. And if you’re not, well lucky for you we can handle it for you.

What’s included will differ depending on the industry.

However, an employment contract typically includes:

  1. The role and responsibilities – an outline of what the employee will be doing all day every day, and what will be expected of the employer.
  2. How much?! – a contract should outline how much an employee will be taking home with them, including salary, bonuses, benefits and any other extras.
  3. It’s not you, it’s me – a contract should also outline the grounds for termination, along with any notice periods for the role.
  4. Work hours – what are the expected work hours? Will there be over-time? It’s time to get these things written down!
  5. Confidentiality and Intellectual Property – maybe your business has elusive trade secrets it’d like to protect? The employment contract is the chance to make sure all the confidential information or copyrights are outlined and protected from any rogue employees.
  6. Non-compete clauses – businesses might wish to include non-compete clauses that restrict employees from working for a competitor or starting a business for a certain period of time after leaving the company.
  7. Dispute resolution – the contract may also include a clause that specifies how any disputes between the employer and the employee will be resolved, whether its through arbitration or mediation for example! Of course, employment contracts may vary, but including the points above is a safe bet for most employers. For assistance drafting employment contracts, speak to our team.

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Rachel Duncan

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