Attire Accessories - May/Jun 2018 (Issue 70)

Checking the finer details of a contract is essential to protecting your business in commercial relationships, says ACID CEO Dids MacDonald Don’t forget the small print How many of us haven’t read the small print and ended up in a bit of a pickle? Did you tick the box “ I have read and understood the terms and conditions of agreement ” without looking and live to regret it? Many of us do. So, the devil is in the detail if you are unlucky enough to be in any dispute, and this includes intellectual property. Whether it concerns the ownership of graphics, who owns photographic images or the terms of a licence/royalty or confidentiality agreement, it’s good to know where you stand. It’s the small print that counts in your commercial relationships and allows you to address these hiccups more easily. Spending a few moments to see if your agreements are healthy and fit for purpose will also help you identify where your intellectual property is at risk. After all, you want your business to grow and allow you to develop business relationships to provide a return on investment for the time spent, so why not cross the t’s and dot the i’s? Not reading the small print helps lawyers get rich! Most companies will have marketing material and use a photographer, so clarity of ownership is needed. Who owns the rights? Many believe that if you pay a photographer to take photographs of, say, a new range of products, the commissioner (or the person who pays for the photographs) will own the rights. In law, the answer is usually no! The photographer will be the first owner of the intellectual property rights, the copyright, in the photograph(s) of your designs. However, it is possible to obtain the copyright by having the photographer ‘assign’ the copyright to you and it is important to realise that copyright may only be assigned by a signed agreement in writing. Having an Intellectual Property Assignment Agreement drafted is the best way of achieving this. Once you have a template agreement, this can be used to fit different circumstances. Paying for the services of a professional photographer makes no strict difference to the legal position as stated above. However, payment may well provide an ‘implied term’ of any agreement that you have with the photographer, that you intended to own the copyright rather than the photographer. Such an implied term will most likely result in your being permitted to decide where your photographs are published and for what purpose. The photographer will also have moral rights associated with the photograph(s) he/she has taken.This means that you will have to consider not using the photographs in a manner that could be interpreted as derogatory by the photographer. You will also have to credit the photographer as having taken the photograph(s) wherever published. In order for you to have full rights over how the photograph(s) are published, and to avoid having to name the photographer each time, you will need the photographer to ‘waive’ these moral rights. A waiver of moral rights may be incorporated into an Intellectual Property Assignment Agreement. License/Royalty Agreements – what to look out for and ensure you consider How many businesses thrive as a result of a positive relationship between designer and manufacturer and how few have a robust license/royalty agreement to benefit both parties, should things go wrong? In the creation of an industry standard agreement, ACID spent a considerable time consulting with both designers and manufacturers to create an agreement that demonstrates a fair balance between both parties and which is easy to understand, avoids legal jargon and, most importantly, is legally enforceable. Having such an agreement protects the interests of both parties, without compromising either party and maximises commercial opportunities. 102 ATTIRE