Selling online - knowing the rules - Peter Mason


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Briffa solicitor Peter Mason advises on the laws surrounding intellectual property.

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Selling online - knowing the rules - Peter Mason

  1. 1. London College of Communication - 19 November 2009 Peter Mason Selling Online - Know the Rules - The Legals A Law Firm Specialising in Intellectual Property and Information Technology
  2. 2. <ul><li>Sole Trader, Partnership, Company, LLP </li></ul><ul><li>Required Information on Websites </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Name of Service Provider </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Geographic Address </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Direct and rapid communication address (including email) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Membership of any registration or authorisation scheme </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If stating prices, does this include VAT and delivery? </li></ul></ul>Business Startup
  3. 3. <ul><li>All promotional communications must </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>clearly identify itself as a promotional email and who the provider of the promoted product or service is </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>clearly identify any offer, competition or game and the conditions necessary to use the offer (or give a clear reference to where they can be found) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>not be unsolicited and not be to anyone on the “email preference scheme” </li></ul></ul></ul>Communications
  4. 4. Transactions <ul><li>Prior to concluding online transactions, you must, </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>clearly identify how a transaction is concluded </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>identify service or product provider </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>explain how to inform the business of errors </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>identify the language of the contract </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>describe the products or services and the price </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>inform the customer of any minimum term for services </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>inform the customer of arrangements for delivery and payment of the price </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>inform the purchaser of their 7 working day right to cancel (except for certain contracts, including food, personalised goods and services that have commenced and digital content if unsealed) </li></ul></ul></ul>
  5. 5. <ul><li>Front End / Back End </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Design and software are separate copyright works </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The graphic design and interface appearance is normally exclusive to the client </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The software may be third party or open source and will be re-used by the developer </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Normally the Front End is assigned and the Back End is licensed </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Source Code / ESCROW </li></ul>Web Development
  6. 6. <ul><li>You cannot purchase all relevant domain names, but you can buy up the obvious ones </li></ul><ul><li>A registered trade mark will give a right to prevent anyone else from using a similar domain name to market or operate a business in a similar field </li></ul><ul><li>Domain name disputes can be dealt with through the courts or through ICANN / Nominet </li></ul>Domain Names and Trade Marks
  7. 7. Domain Names and Trade Marks <ul><li>Trade Marks / Branding Rights </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Will users, visitors or just those that hear about it think that the services or goods come from a common trade source? Will they think the services are being “endorsed”? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Prevents use of a similar mark on similar goods such as to cause a “Likelihood of Confusion” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Are the potential customers the same? Is it sold through similar channels? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Who are the customers and how will they locate the services? Is brand recognition important? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>You can’t protect descriptive or generic names </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Copyright <ul><li>Copyright </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Protects text (including software), dramatic, musical, artistic and derivative works (e.g. film). Generally not 3-D physical products </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Arises automatically with no registration necessary and is international </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Owned by the author or employer if made in the course of employment but not by one who commissions a work </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Any copying of a substantial part is infringement, no matter how many changes are made </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Assignment by writing only, but licences by writing, terms or implication </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. <ul><li>Anything that is infringing or defamatory may cause the website operator liability as a publisher </li></ul><ul><li>There is a defence in being a “mere conduit” if you act quickly to respond to complaints </li></ul><ul><li>User content belongs to the user and you will need a licence </li></ul>User Generated Content / Web 2.0
  10. 10. Privacy and Data Protection <ul><li>“ Personal Data” </li></ul><ul><li>Register at the Information Commissioner </li></ul><ul><li>Privacy policy </li></ul><ul><li>Agreements with third party processors </li></ul>
  11. 11. <ul><li>Ensure that you have the correct information on your website </li></ul><ul><li>Instruct a lawyer to prepare terms of use and a privacy policy </li></ul><ul><li>If engaging a web developer, ensure that you have a contract in place </li></ul><ul><li>Register a Trade Mark </li></ul>Practical Steps
  12. 12. Briffa Peter Mason Solicitor 0207 288 6003 [email_address] Briffa Business Design Centre 52 Upper Street Islington London N1 0QH