Business & Commercial Law

Business & Commercial Law

If you’re running a small business you’re often run off your feet and have little time to get across the legal necessities for your business.  That’s no problem at all; most of our small business clients are in the same boat.  You have enough on your plate, so our experienced small business lawyers are here to help.

We can ensure your small business is structured correctly, and that it is set up to afford you and your business the legal protection you need.  You can then get on with doing what you do best, running your business.

We offer complimentary consultations and fixed fees so you never have to worry about going over budget.

Our areas of expertise include

  • Business structuring
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  • Contract review, negotiation and drafting
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Articles relating to Business & Commercial Law

The Basics of Registering a Trademark

So you have a fantastic business idea and you have just registered your business name with ASIC.  You are now ready to start trading, but have you legally protected your business fully?  You may want to consider registering your business as a trademark as well.

In this blog we have teamed up with Jacqui Pryor, our trademarks specialist, to provide you with some basic tips on why you would register a trademark.

Does registering my business name with ASIC protect my business fully?

Simply registering your business name with ASIC does NOT provide you with the ability or power to prevent another person from starting a similar business with a similar name in your location.  To do this, you must have also registered your business as a trademark.

ASIC advises you that it is your responsibility to make sure that the business name you’ve chosen does not infringe upon any registered trademark within Australia. It is your responsibility to undertake this process before commencing trading.  If another business has a registered trademark for a similar name in a similar industry, then they may take action to prevent you from operating your business under that name.  Conversely, once you have registered your business as a trademark, you can take the same action against others.

How does a registered trademark protect my business?

When you register a trademark, you are provided the right to use that particular trademark, whether it be a business name, a logo or a slogan, for your goods and services exclusively. Essentially this means that you can prevent someone from using that business name or perhaps a confusingly similar business name, to which you have registered your trademark.

For example, I register a business called ABC Systems but do not take the additional step of trademarking my business name.  A few months later another similar business starts up called ABC Systems Australia. Because I did not register my business name as a trademark, I could be rendered powerless from preventing them from trading and the result may mean that I lose a lot of customers because they contact this business instead.

Similarly, if a business was to open in a similar location with a similar name, I would be powerless to stop them trading under that name, unless I have a registered trademark.

Trademarks are added protection

The way that our trademark consultant, Jacqui, describes a trademark is that it’s considered a type of insurance over your business name. It gives you that extra-added protection to ensure that you’re protecting your brand, your slogan, and/or your name for your goods and services, and all your hard work in building your business will be protected from someone else starting a similar business with a similar name and effectively taking business from you.

If obtaining a Trademark for your business is something you are considering, then we would love to connect you with Jacqui for a complimentary phone chat and fixed-fee quote.

When you need a lawyer, it’s important to get it right. At Legally Yours we connect you with high quality, fixed price legal specialists. This means you’ll know upfront exactly what you’ll be paying. No more hourly billing, no more price uncertainty.

For a complimentary consultation and fixed-fee quote connect with us at http://www.legallyyours.com.au/get-a-quote/ or call us on 1300 822 708.

Written by Karen Finch from Legally Yours and in consultation with Jacqui Pryor.

Legal Tips to Buying an Established Business

There are many advantages when buying an established business.  Not only are you purchasing a fully functioning business, but you also benefit from purchasing an existing customer base, set supply chain, assets and inventory.

In this blog we share some legal tips provided by our fixed-fee commercial lawyer, Avanthi De Alwis, on how you can minimise your risks when purchasing an established business and hopefully ensure that you purchase the business for the right price!

Head of Guarantee

Before signing a contract to purchase an established business, you may want to consider asking for a head of guarantee clause to be included in the terms.   A head of guarantee is essentially a trial period where you can observe the daily workings of the business for a limited period of time.  This can be advantageous as it helps to ascertain whether the minimum takings of the business that the vendor has represented in the contract is in fact correct, and in the event that it is not, it may mean you can negotiate a reduction in the purchase price.

A Head of Guarantee is also a further way to gain an understanding of the day-to-day operations of the business and can provide you with an opportunity to speak to employees and suppliers, obtain feedback from customers, check out the equipment and other assets, and gain a better overall understanding of the business you are purchasing.

Minimise Your Risks

Avanthi cautions, however, against using a Head of Guarantee as the sole means of decision making when purchasing an established business.  Avanthi strongly recommends obtaining financial advice from a financial professional, and to complete the proper due diligence prior to signing any contact to purchase an established business.

Avanthi also cautions that some vendors may inflate sales during the trial period, so it is always good to take seasonal fluctuations into consideration.  For example if you are purchasing a small café with a large alfresco area in the summer months, this may mean that minimum takings are a lot higher than perhaps they are in the colder months and you need to make an adjustment for this fluctuation.

So if you are thinking of purchasing an established business and you would like to speak to a fixed-fee commercial lawyer, please contact us at www.legallyyours.com.au. We will connect you with Avanthi for a complimentary consultation and fixed-fee quote.

 

When you need a lawyer, it’s important to get it right. At Legally Yours we connect you with high quality, fixed price commercial lawyers. This means you’ll know upfront exactly what you’ll be paying. No more hourly billing, no more price uncertainty.

For a complimentary consultation and fixed-fee quote connect with us at http://www.legallyyours.com.au/get-a-quote/ or call us on 1300 822 708.

Written by Mira Stammers and Karen Finch from Legally Yours and in consultation with Avanthi De Alwis.

6 Contract Hacks for Small Business Owners

As a small business owner, having valid legal contracts, whether with your customers or other businesses, can be crucial in your ultimate overall business success.  Without valid legal contracts, you may find yourself unprotected when it comes to chasing non-payment for goods or non-delivery of contracted services.  So in this blog, Fiona (our Legally Yours fixed-fee commercial law specialist) has shared six contract hacks that will make your life easier when conducting business with your consumer.

  1. Identify All Parties

The first contract hack is to ensure you identify all the parties to the contract. By this we mean include as much detail relating to both parties to the contract as you can.  This includes the company name, the company ABN, the company address, as well as a contact person within the company you are dealing with. If you’re entering into a contract with a sole trader, make sure you include the person’s name and then also the business name, ABN, address and the like.  The more detail you have in relation to identifying all the parties to the contract, the better.

  1. Define a Period of Time

The second contract hack is to always make sure you have a defined contractual period included in the contract i.e. a start date and end date to the contract.  If it is an ongoing business relationship and therefore there is no end date, ensure you specifically make reference to this in the contract by stating that the contractual period is ongoing from the commencement of the contract date.

  1. Document Contract Terms

The third contract hack is to outline the specific terms of the contract.  We liken this part of the contract to telling the story of the relationship between the parties.  You should specify the purpose of the contract, who is providing what to whom, and how the contract will be carried out between the parties.  By including as much detail as possible in the terms, you can avoid any later confusion or miscommunication as to what the contract was intended to deliver.

  1. Consider Payment Terms

The fourth contract hack is regarding payment terms.  This is an absolute essential element to any contract.  You should include the price of the goods or services, the method of calculating the costs of the payment, and exactly when payment should be made. The clearer you are in relation to the payment terms within the contract, the less that can go wrong in relation to not being paid later on.

  1. Offer and Acceptance

The fifth contract hack is to clearly state what the offer is by one party to the other ,followed by an acknowledged acceptance of the offer. The acceptance can be communicated either by the other party signing the contract, or it could be they have an option to tick an acceptance box before making payment.

Either way, it needs to be a specific action to prove that there has been some common meeting of minds on the contract. Often you see a little tickbox that says “I agree to the terms and conditions published on this website”. When a person ticks this box, the law considers that there has been a meeting of the minds in relation to what was being offered and accepted.  It is the responsibility of the person accepting and ticking the box, to have read and agreed with the terms and conditions of the contract, and thereby prevents them from coming back at a later date and asserting that they were unaware of the terms of the contract they were accepting.

  1. Dispute Resolution

The sixth contract hack is around dispute resolution. If you’ve got an ongoing contractual relationship, we strongly recommend including provisions that outline what dispute process will be enacted if the contract is breached or terminated.  It is a lot easier to agree on dispute resolution processes when both parties are in agreement, as opposed to when a breach or termination has occurred.  This could include accessing specific mediation services and/or time-frames around resolving disputes.

If you would like to know more about contracts and how to best protect your business, please contact us at www.legallyyours.com.au and we will connect you with Fiona for a free consultation and fixed-fee quote.

When you need a lawyer, it’s important to get it right. At Legally Yours we connect you with high quality, fixed price commercial lawyers. This means you’ll know upfront exactly what you’ll be paying. No more hourly billing, no more price uncertainty.

For a complimentary consultation and fixed-fee quote connect with us at http://www.legallyyours.com.au/get-a-quote/ or call us on 1300 822 708.

Written by Mira Stammers and Karen Finch from Legally Yours and in consultation with Fiona McCord.

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