How Match Fit is Your Business?

12 February 2019
Posted by Jennifer Tutty

2019 is off to a racing start.  But, before the year gets away from you, we encourage you to take a good hard look at the health of your business.  For example, are your IP assets protected, do you comply with important laws or should you be introducing new or updated documents to protect your business?

To help you do a ‘health check’ on your business, we have prepared a list of 5 key areas for review:

Revise and update your customer terms and conditions

You may not have a customer contract; your contract may be 5 years old or maybe you got your contract from a friend.  Customer T&Cs need to be constantly reviewed and updated to reflect changes in law and to the way you operate your business (click here to read our blog on ‘unfair contract terms’). Unless you have had a lawyer carefully prepare a tailor made contract for you in the last couple of years, chances are your contract needs updating.  If its vague, out of date, unlawful or does not exist, then it’s going to be difficult to resolve the customer dispute in a way that best protects your business.

Protect your brand

We try to spread the word as much as we can that a business name or domain name registration, does not mean you ‘own’ your brand (click here to read our blog trade mark registration). We always recommend protecting your brand through trade mark registration. A registered trade mark is an important commercial asset that can be exclusively used by you and also licensed and sold. If you are interested in protecting your brand via trade mark registration, talk to us!

Start thinking about privacy laws and your business

Here at Studio Legal, we find that a lot of businesses have little clue about privacy laws. It’s not that they don’t care – they are often time poor and frankly it can all seem really confusing!  Well, 2019 is the year to get serious about privacy laws.  2018 saw important changes to privacy laws both in the EU (read more here) and in Australia (click here to read our blog on the Notifiable Data Breaches Scheme).  If you are required to comply with the new laws and fail to do so, there are huge penalties for businesses and directors alike. Don’t get caught out. Keep an eye our for our next blog – ‘Do You Need a Privacy Policy?’.

Make sure your staff hiring arrangements are ‘legal’

You would have heard various news stories about businesses failing to pay their staff correctly, especially in retail and hospitality.  It’s often at the request of the worker that employers do not follow relevant workplace laws (for example by paying cash to students or overseas workers, hiring unpaid interns or paying someone as a contractor rather than an employee).  The bottom line is that if a business breaks the law, then the business and its owners are to be held responsible, even if a worker consented to, or requested the arrangement.  Make sure you are lawfully hiring your staff, and if you are not sure about staffing arrangements, speak to us for advice!

Ensure you own your IP

There are some instances when a business will automatically own the IP its workers create. For example, a proprietary limited company will generally own the IP its employees create in the course of their employment. However, there are many instances where the business will not.  The primary example is when a business hires a contractor to create IP.  If a business wishes to own the IP assets a contractor creates, it will need to ensure that the contractor agrees to this in writing (for example, by signing a deed of assignment).

Still have questions? Not sure where to start? If you require assistance with any of the above, we would love to help!  Please contact us on 03 9521 2128, or email us at hello@studiolegal.com.au.

DISCLAIMER

The information in this article is of a general nature. It does not constitute formal legal advice, and should not be relied on as such. Please see the full disclaimer in our website terms. Please contact Studio Legal if you are seeking advice about a specific legal matter.