Protecting Products & Services

From ensuring your brand is protected to ensuring your supplier and customer contracts are robust, protecting your business comes in all guises. We can talk you through all the options.

Protecting goods and services

Domain name dispute

Domain names are the virtual gateway to millions of businesses wide world. What was once thought to be a waste of money, domain names are now recognised as a highly valuable asset. They are at the centre of brand development strategies and can increase traffic and visibility of online presence within hours if marketed properly.

The race to register the next million-dollar.com means that valuable names get registered rapidly, often by the wrong person with the intention to hold it to anothers ransom or to frustrate the business of another.

Disputes arising from abusive registrations of domain names (also known as cybersquatting) can be addressed by expedited administrative proceedings governed by the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy, proceedings that a trade mark rights holder initiates before an approved dispute-resolution service provider.

We have years of collective experience dealing with domain name disputes, drafting formal complaints with approved dispute-resolution service providers, drafting responses to complaints all concerning the recovery or prevention of a domain name.

e-commerce and online disputes

It's inevitable that the number of online disputes has risen over the past few years due to the dramatic rise and use of e-commerce stores. If you are facing an online dispute or want to bring a dispute relating to use of a trade mark online, defamation, or copyright infringement, interference with a business, problems with an online service provider metatag abuse or AdWords infringement, please get in touch.

Mediation service for Intellectual Property

Mediation is a way of resolving disputes without going to court. It is cheaper and quicker than litigation and the outcome is usually beneficial to all parties. Mediation allows you and the opposing party to talk about the dispute with the help of an independent mediator. The mediators role is not to make a decision on the dispute but to help you find a solution that both parties can accept.

A court will expect you to have attempted to resolve matters by mediation before starting legal proceedings. It will also expect you to have properly considered a form of alternative dispute resolution.

One of our IP lawyers is a trained mediator and has a great deal of experience in resolving issues without the cost and time spend taking the matter to Court.

Parallel Imports

With the globalisation of commerce and the ability to set up a dot.com business over night, more and more businesses are turning to the internet to source products, often to save money. A parallel import is the importation of goods (that are protected by a patent or trade mark) from the country where the rights owner has already introduced the goods - meaning that the rights have been exhausted.

Owners of products covered by intellectual property rights have the exclusive right to put such products on the market. On the other hand, there is little doubt that once the owner of an intellectual property right has put such goods on the market either himself or with his consent, there is little he can do about further acts of commercial exploitation, such as re-sale, for example, on the domestic market.

If products sold or imported by third parties fall within the scope of patents, trademarks or copyrights valid in this particular country, such sale or importation by third parties is generally deemed infringing.

If you require advice concerning parallel imports, we can help. Our IP team has years of experience and are on hand to help you.

Passing Off

Your trade mark, reputation of your business and the quality of your goods and services are all valuable assets, all equally worth protecting, exploiting and enforcing. Letting others use your valuable assets may dilute or even tarnish the attractive force that you have built.

We understand the value of brands and how important it is for you and your business. We provide practical commercial solutions for your specific issue and are ready to help.

Patent Infringement

With the rapid growth of technology and the globalisation of business, infringers are finding new ways to copy, imitate and free ride. The methods of policing infringement both online an offline are now more complex than ever before. the need for lawyers to understand the legal framework is a must, as is the importance of knowing your business and the technology you adopt.

We are fast to identify what measures you need to take to ensure your rights are being safeguarded and that infringers are targetted and unlawful activities stopped.

Trade mark infringement

We work with a wide range of clients, from start ups to high profile brands, advising on all aspects from trade mark and domain name registration, brand management to international protection and IP litigation.

With wide-ranging global expertise, our team can support you with business issues arising both in the UK and overseas whether commercial challenges or those posed by infringers and counterfeit products.

Your brand is your business and so a very precious commodity. Once you've decided upon a name for your business it's important to check that you're not inadvertently copying someone else's name, and then trademarking it.

The best way to avoid infringing on someone's trademark rights is to research, research, and more research. Some new businesses don't undertake a trademark search thinking that owning a company name or domain name registration is enough. Unfortunately, you usually find out that you're infringing someone else's trademark, after you've spent considerable time and money on branding, marketing and building up your reputation.

We can help. From patents to trademarks, copyright infringement to IP litigation, our wide-ranging global expertise means your brand is in safe hands.

Complying with industry regulations

No matter how big or small, whatever sectors you operate in, or regions or geographical reach, almost every part of your business will be touched by a constant stream of evolving regulations. From trading terms an conditions, manufacturing, supply and distribution contracts, outsourcing, franchising to overseas trade, we can make sure your business is fully compliant.

Commercial agreements should be as individual as each business. We create tailored business terms, agreements and contracts to fit your business and its needs.

Ensuring business contracts are not anti-competitive or restrictive

Any size business needs to be aware of competition law as failure to comply can have serious consequences.  Firms showing anti-competitive behaviour risk being fined up to 10% of global turnover as well as exposing themselves to possible damages litigation. Individuals could also be disqualified from being a Director and even face criminal charges. Cartel behaviour is the most serious form of anti-competitive behaviour and carries the highest penalties.  
 
Our Commercial legal team can walk you through all aspects of Competition Law and make sure your business is compliant. 

Supplier and Customer Contracts

We create tailored terms, agreements and contracts to fit your business and its needs.  

  • Trading Terms and Conditions - whether you're buying or selling, we work with you to create robust and practical trading terms that protect your business both on and offline. 
  • Agency - we work closely with principals and agents to draft contracts and offering advice. We advise on all forms of agency jurisdictions across the globe and often advise on the effect of the Commercial Agents Regulations and your liability to pay compensation to an agent. 
  • Manufacturing, Supply and Distribution Contracts - from quality control to benchmarking, from service levels to warranties, we can help you draft contracts to fit your business model. 
  • Outsourcing - contracting with third parties to provide business services is becoming more and more common as you benefit from the third party's economies of scale. We can advise on the risks and benefits of outsourcing and draft and negotiate an agreement that will ensure you get what you are paying for. 
  • Franchising - whether you are the franchisor or the franchisee, we can help your business go from strength to strength. The franchise agreement is vital, and we have helped many well-known brands set up successful franchise models. 
  • International Contracts - we work with businesses in every continent, helping them comply with their own national laws and the laws applying in the territories where their suppliers and customers are based. Understanding the local culture is as important as knowing the local law, and we can help you make the most of any trading opportunity.

Keeping control of business domain names

There's a number of legal implications to consider when setting up a website to promote your business or to sell products via an e-commerce site. Firstly it's important to make sure the business owns the domain name, instead of an individual. If the individual leaves the business for any reason it could cause problems. 

Ensuring you have registered trademark that corresponds to your domain name will ensure third parties cannot use a similar name and register a different version of your domain.

BPE can help you to set up and review your domain names.

Maximising the value of your supply contracts

Maximising the most out of your supply chain contracts will ensure your business runs smoothly and profitably. It's all about efficiency; looking at outsourcing functions where necessary, using logistics and distribution to ensure handling costs are minimised, shifting stock to ensure a continuous flow and adding value to the customer.

We can help you draw up supply chain contracts that ensure these processes work as well as they should and protect your businesss when things don't go according to plan.

Protecting confidential information

We can work with you to find the appropriate method of protecting your rights anywhere in the world. Policing infringements, especially online is ever more challenging, which is why it pays to have experts on your side who understand your business and take the time to understand your commercial objectives.

  • Copyright - we regularly advise authors, artists, script writers and others on whether their work benefits from copyright and what practical steps they can take.
  • Patents and inventions - it isn't always appropriate to apply for patent protection on every invention. We can help you decide the best way forward - we recommend seeking advice early and before you go public.
  • Confidential information and know-how - you can protect an original idea by the law of confidence. We can help you write a confidentiality and non-disclosure agreement with anyone who you are going to discuss your idea with. 

Other intellectual property rights - there is a raft of protection available for ideas and inventions, and we can let you know the best options for you, whatever area you are working in, and wherever you are working globally.

Setting up escrows

Escrow is where money or goods are deposited with an independent, trusted, third party, known as an escrow agent, who holds them until the terms of an escrow agreement have been performed. We have a great deal of experience in drafting escrow agreements as well as advising clients on agreements drafted by others.

We can also support clients with software escrow, where the vital software your business uses is held securely by a third party, so if the licensor goes out of business you can obtain the source code and host the software yourself, guaranteeing continued use of the software.

Counterfeit goods

With the advancements of technology and the speed at which sophisticated scanners and printers are now able to reproduce or imitate an original product, the cases of infringement and counterfeit goods within the marketplace is at its high. Counterfeiting has vastly moved on from imitation handbags and designers clothing. With the costs of 3D printers now becoming affordable, more and more people are taking the opportunity to stand under the coat tails of successful brand owners and their successful brands.

Furthermore, today's infringers are using powerful computers and techniques to target carefully select goods that if not detected may impose a health and safety risk to consumers. Examples include imitation alcohol that contain high doses of chemicals that can be deadly; poor quality parts for the automotive and aviation industry, and in the pharmaceutical industry, drugs are being made and sold with the inappropriate levels of ingredient (in some case no or wrong ingredients) which can have a serious risk on consumers who depend on the drugs or are not made aware of ingredients that would otherwise be avoided.

Our solicitors are able to deploy quick anti-counterfeiting measures to prevent the introduction of infringing and counterfeit products from entering into your territory, the UK and even the EU.

We also have the experience and contacts with HM Customs and Revenue's Intellectual Property Authorisation Unit to cease and destroy products as they arrive into UK and EU ports/customs. We have litigators who can apply for an emergency order for an injunction, search order, freezing order or delivery up of products. Our specialist Intellectual Property Solicitors are able to advance and invoke both the civil and criminal sanctions for infringement of intellectual property rights that counterfeiting involves. Legislation includes, but not limited to, the Trade Mark Act 1994, Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, The Olympic Symbol Protection Act 1995, Goods Infringing Intellectual Property Rights (Customs) Regulations 2004 and the Counterfeit and Commission Regulation (EC) No 1172/2007.

Comprehensive and working knowledge of these legislations is key to providing our clients with accurate and focused advice every time.

Copyright is a legal device that gives the creator or a literary, artistic, musical or other creative work the sole right to publish and sell that work. Copyright owners have the right to control the reproduction of their work along with the right to receive payment. If you believe someone is violating your copyright and using your work without your permission we can help.

We regularly advise authors, artists, script writers and others on whether their work benefits from copyright and what practical steps they can take if this has been infringed.