At Accounts and Legal we are particularly lucky to have solicitors that specialise in various aspects of commercial law that are essential to the operations of small business owners.
For businesses establishing their brand, we offer a trademark registration service that helps you correctly identify the most effective way to protect your company name. This involves researching similar trademarks, then selecting the correct classes and description of the services offered to minimise the chance of the registration being challenged. Equally, if you have already done this, but someone else is using your brand (or a similar one that is likely to cause confusion), we can help you enforce your rights as a trademark owner.
Once your trademark has been registered, the next thing to do is to make sure the rest of your intellectual property is protected. This can include software, trade secrets or inventions that are unique to your business. And there are several ways this sort of information can be protected.
As the business grows, there's often a need to hire consultants and contractors to help develop and grow the business. We can help provide contractor agreements which properly document your arrangements with them. This can include certain confidentiality clauses that help protect your intellectual property.
But just as importantly, we'll help you figure out the taxation and IR35 status of your contractors and consultants - which is a responsibility which now falls to the business hiring the contractor. This is where it is particularly helpful to have accountants operating alongside solicitors because the definition of an employee (as distinct from a contractor) is different in employment law than it is for taxation purposes, which is what HMRC are particularly concerned about.
For businesses considering sharing their confidential information with suppliers, partners and consultants, it is particularly important to make sure that each that this information is treated carefully and not used for any other purpose than the one intended. Equally, for small businesses aiming to raise funding from new shareholders, caution needs to be exercised when communicating sensitive commercial information to people to ultimately may not go on to invest in the business. A non-disclosure agreement is a good way of achieving this, and allows the business to sue for damages and potentially get an injunction if the contractor breaches this agreement.
For any businesses expanding into larger premises, signing a commercial lease is a rite of passage for many entrepreneurs. Commercial leases are notoriously landlord friendly, so tenants have to have their wits about them when negotiating these agreements, and out commercial conveyancers can help with this to make sure you get the best deal possible.