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Mice Net : February 2009
legal issues insured for appropriate risks? Is the amount of cover adequate to your exposure? What are the exclusions? How many reinstatements do you have? Tip #8 – Now is the time to identify and protect your intellectual property. In the meetings and events sector, this means (largely) your trade marks and copyright. Ensure that all trade marks are registered and get professional help from your lawyer to do it. Your trade marks represent your goodwill and are intrinsic to your business reputation. Your copyright is the reward for creative effort and will be particularly important in your promotional material, your website – and for those of you who are suppliers of creative material for the sector, your very products! Ensure that appropriate copyright notices are used on all copyright material. If you discover pirates infringing your intellectual property rights, prosecute them vigorously! Tip #9 – Now is the time to ensure you actually own the intellectual property you are using in your business. I know of a client who wanted to sell her business to a buyer who was willing to pay a handsome price. When the buyer did the pre-sale “due diligence” and discovered that much of the intellectual property used was not actually owned by the seller, the price dropped dramatically. Tip #10 – Now is the time to consider quarantining. What I mean is that you should be wary of mixing too many business ventures under the one corporate umbrella. Many is the successful business that has been dragged down by diversification plans; the less-than profitable new business that drains cash form the established, profitable part of the business. Robbing Peter to pay Paul. Even if you don’t “stick to your knitting” at least consider quarantining new business ventures in separate corporate vehicles, with separate funding. Quarantining valuable intellectual property in a separate entity is also worth considering. Remember that with any transfer of assets there may be cost, and in some cases stamp duty. Also, unless assets are transferred for valuable consideration a liquidator of the transferor may be able to recover the asset as a preference. So don’t DIY – get professional help! Tip #11 – Now is the time to do good and careful work! Do not breach your duty of care! This might sound simplistic, but even though I heartily recommend appropriate liability clauses in your contracts and as much insurance as you can afford, it is always better not to attract claims in the first place. My litigation colleagues may not like me saying it but the courtroom is one place to be avoided! Try a legal health test – can you hold your hand over your heart and say that you have already followed the foregoing tips. How many? Now make a new year’s resolution! Cheers and a happy, healthy and successful ’09 to you! For further details contact Matt Crouch on (02) 8281 7800 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. mice.net 61