Terms of Business
When you ask professional advisors to do work for you there are inevitably terms of business which apply to that relationship. The following written terms are the terms which apply to the business relationship between you the Client, and Appleyard Lees. If you would like us to clarify anything, please ask. Otherwise, we assume that you are happy with these terms.
Working for you
As your professional advisors we have a duty to put your interests foremost and to respect the confidentiality of your information.
Who will do your work
Your work will be done by, or under the supervision of, a fully qualified Chartered or European Patent Attorney (CPA or EPA) or Registered or European Trade Mark Attorney (RTMA or ETMA), as appropriate. Supporting work such as formalities, renewals and file maintenance, including the monitoring of deadlines, may be carried out by our experienced administrative staff. Our partners and staff act on behalf of Appleyard Lees. Your legal relationship is with Appleyard Lees, the partnership, not with any individual who carries out work for you on the firm's behalf.
We charge by the hour for the time we spend on technical and legal aspects of your work. For some formal matters, such as requesting an extension of time, we make fixed charges instead. Some work will include both hourly and fixed charges.
Before we start work we will, on request, give you an indication of the likely foreseeable costs. This will include our charges and "disbursements" – which means the things we have to pay out on your behalf.
When we incur expenses on your behalf that are in foreign currencies (i.e. not in Sterling) or bill you in a foreign currency, we will include a margin from the spot rate at the time we bill you to cover conversion costs and currency fluctuations.
It is often difficult to predict exactly how much time a job may take. Our cost indication is therefore only approximate and is not a binding quote. However, we will always try to keep within our indication and in particular we will do our best to warn you in advance if it is likely to be exceeded, so that you have the opportunity to ask us to stop work.
If you are unhappy or unclear about our charges, or have a budget you need to keep within, please discuss this with us before we start work, to avoid misunderstandings later.
We will usually invoice you after we have completed a piece of work for you. However, you may be asked for a deposit towards the cost of either initial projects or sizeable pieces of work. It is our policy to always ask for payment in advance if substantial disbursements (such as official patent office fees or translation costs) are involved. In such instances, we will normally issue a pro forma invoice and proceed when payment is received. If we have to work on a file for more than a month or so we may send you an "interim" invoice to keep things up to date, allowing you more easily to keep track of your costs.
Our invoices are due for payment within 30 days of issue. We may charge interest on late payments, and in exceptional cases we may suspend work on your files. If you do not pay our bills on time, we may instruct our solicitors to collect payment. At this stage, we would apply the provisions of the Late Payment of Commercial Debts (Interest) Act 1998 which would increase the amount of your liability/total amount due.
Please also note that, unless you agree some other arrangement with us, we will regard the person (or company) that instructs us as responsible for paying us.
Our VAT number is GB 184 6684 20.
We can only work to your specific instructions. If we need your instructions by a certain deadline (for instance, a deadline set by a patent office), we will tell you about that and do our best to remind you as the deadline approaches. However, ultimately it is your responsibility, once we have requested your input, to ensure that we receive it in good time.
Keeping us informed
The quality of our advice depends very much on the information you give us - for instance about your technical work, your competitors and your business strategies generally. Please keep us up to date about your activities and plans - we like to hear how you're getting on and we can then more easily tailor our advice to suit your needs.
It is also important to tell us, promptly, of any change in your contact details, or in the ownership of your rights and assets. It is usually advisable to record such changes at the relevant patent offices. In some cases it is crucial to do so. We need always to be able to contact you.
Whilst we are acting for you, and unless you say otherwise, we will keep our files relating to your work. We will hand these files over to you if you wish, although we may delay the file transfer if you owe us money. We also reserve the right to keep a copy of any part of the file contents. The confidentiality of all information you pass to us will be respected, even if you cease to be our client. We destroy closed files after an appropriate period. Further explanation of how we deal with your files is available in our File Retention Policy - please ask for a copy if you want further details.
We hope that you will be happy with the work we do for you and with the way you are treated. If you're not, please let us know as soon as you are dissatisfied and we will do all we can to put matters right. In the first instance, we would prefer you to talk to the person handling your work. But if you are not happy to do that, please ask for a copy of our Complaints Procedure.
We are regulated by a number of bodies:
The Legal Ombudsman – complaints about UK Patent or Trade Mark Attorneys:
The Intellectual Property Regulation Board (IPREG) - for conduct complaints about UK Patent or Trade Mark Attorneys:
European Patent Institute (EPI) - for complaints concerning European Patent Attorneys:
Any claim in connection with work done by us will be the responsibility of the firm. By asking Appleyard Lees to work for you, you agree that you will not bring any claim in connection with that work against any individual member, partner or employee of the firm.
If we need to instruct other professionals (such as solicitors, barristers, overseas attorneys, searchers or draftsmen) in connection with the work we do for you, we will do so as your agent. We cannot accept liability for the actions of such professionals although we will always try to instruct people we believe to be trustworthy and to provide a high quality of service.
The liability of Appleyard Lees, its partners, employees and agents for any loss or damage suffered by you arising out of or in any way connected with our work, however the loss or damage is caused, including our negligence, is limited to £5 million unless in respect of death or personal injury caused by our negligence.
Our primary professional indemnity insurer is Pamia Limited of 90 Fenchurch Street, London EC3M 4ST, which provides us with worldwide cover.
Appleyard Lees is the data controller in respect of personal data (as defined by the Data Protection Act 1998) which you submit to us. Your personal data will be used by Appleyard Lees for the purpose of communicating with you and/or providing our services. Further details of how your data will be treated can be found here.