October 4, 2021
1. Identify and protect your IP
It is important to identify the intellectual property (IP) in your business. This will enable you to value it and also take appropriate steps to protect, manage and exploit your IP.
Common types of IP in e-commerce businesses include: trade names, logos, slogans, domain names, trade secrets, design rights, copyright in customer databases and copyright in the text on a website.
Register your different types of IP where appropriate. For instance, you can register trademarks you use in your business (such as your business name or the name of your product) at the UK Intellectual Property Office to protect your brand in the UK.
Make sure your employee contracts are properly drafted so that all IP is immediately assigned to you as the employer.
Where you have used consultants to help you with logos, website content and the like, make sure that they have legally assigned the IP rights to you that they have created on your behalf. Otherwise you could be in a situation where you don’t actually own your business IP.
Use symbols to warn off third parties from unauthorised use of your IP, such as © and TM.
Always seek legal advice and take swift action if a third party is infringing your IP.
2. Terms and Conditions of Sale
We recommend that you have online terms and conditions in place with your customers, particularly as selling to consumers online is subject to additional consumer law requirements.
Your terms should deal with issues such as delivery, returns and taking payments online.
Consumer protection laws governing online sales require you to provide certain pre-contract information to the consumer, such as:
your legal identity
total price of the goods/services or how it will be calculated
Best practice is to provide the above information plus any additional terms in a single document.
Make sure you incorporate your terms into your online system and processes to ensure that your terms are brought to the attention of the customer before they conclude their order. Otherwise, you may not be able to rely on your terms if a dispute arises.
E-commerce businesses will inevitably collect, store and process the personal data of its customers and website users, such as their name, email and also billing addresses. Most commonly they will collect personal data when users create accounts on their website, purchase goods or services online or fill in an online enquiry form.
4. Cookies Policy
It is best practice for e-commerce businesses to have a stand-alone cookies policy/notice on their website.
Under data protection laws, a business is required to provide clear and comprehensive information about (i) the cookies the business intends to use and (ii) the purposes for which the business intends to use them.
5. Terms of Website Use
If your website includes features that provide interactive access to the site and allow the user to upload their own content or information to the site, consider publishing an acceptable use policy.
Such a policy would contain rules and standards with which visitors must comply when using the site. For example, rules prohibiting users from uploading illegal or offensive content. It would also outline your contractual remedies if a user breached the rules, such as removing offending material, suspending or permanently disabling a user’s account.
I have worked with Darwin Gray for a number of years and the level of service, professionalism and timely response is second to none. I would highly recommend Darwin Gray to any business.”
Darwin Gray have provided us with a first-class service for many years now. They really take the time to understand our business and develop relationships which results in advice and support that is contextualised and effective.”
We have worked with Darwin Gray for several years and have always found their services and advice to be first class.”
An extremely professional and sincere company who make time for your queries and understand the need to break down certain facts and information to ensure everything is understood perfectly. I would highly recommend the company to anyone looking for any type of legal advice”
PSS has worked with Darwin Gray for many years. We have always received an excellent service. Prompt and professional advice and support.”
We have used several departments within DG recently and we have been very pleased with an effective, efficient and down to earth service. Very happy thus far and I expect that we will continue to use DG.”
Darwin Gray offer us truly superb services. Very professional, quick and services available bilingually which is very important to us, highly recommend.”
My “go to” in urgent and time sensitive cases for direction, support and advice. The team are quick to respond to calls or emails for advice and support on all matters. Always explain complex matters in a way a lay person can easily understand.”