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By JMP Solicitors, Nov 14 2017 12:08PM

In brief, the difference between a self-employed contractor, an employee and a worker are explained in this table.

This matrix should establish what employment status a person has, however it is not exhaustive and HMRC have also produced an online questionnaire to help determine the status.

The ET will always look at the wording of the contract as a starting point, but it is not determinative. It is how the contract is performed that is the important point.

(Abridged and published with permission from colleagues at PJH Law - employment law specialists.)

By JMP Solicitors, Nov 13 2017 03:40PM

One thing every business needs to consider is its brand and how it protects this and how to avoid infringing third party trade marks.

Check the UK database

Firstly, check the UK trade mark database to ensure that there are no third party trademarks that might pose a problem.

The government has a easy to use, free database which you can access through this link.

You can register your trade mark to protect your brand

The name of your product or service can be registered. The process can be done on line and may take a few weeks to come through. The link explains what can and can't be registered.

Once you register your trademark

You will be able to:

- prove the exclusive right to use your brand name in a specific class of goods or services; and

- protect against infringing a later filed trade mark.

It is important for you to register your brand name in each country where your company is active.


Logos can also be protected by trademark and this is advisable under certain circumstances. Logos are also protected by copyright but it is important but you must make sure you own the IP in the logo which you may not if it was created by a third party without adequate wording in the associated contract.

Please get in touch if you would like any advice in relation to trade marks or copyright.

Refreshed from an earlier blog post - by Kevin Hanson from IP specialists Stratagem IPM.

By JMP Solicitors, Nov 13 2017 12:16PM

The recent NAO report on the NHS cyber attack in May this year highlights how even the biggest organisations rely on small details.

According to Amyas Morse, head of the National Audit Office, on 27 October 2017; “The WannaCry cyber-attack had potentially serious implications for the NHS and its ability to provide care to patients. It was a relatively unsophisticated attack and could have been prevented by the NHS following basic IT security best practice.” The report said that “taking action to manage their firewalls facing the internet would have guarded organisations against infection.”

There is a lot of information available about how to defend against cyber attacks and this is certainly a serious risk for many businesses.

Are you aware of any weak links in your business?

For a start, individuals can still make mistakes even where there are very many useful systems to assist. Spell check cannot ensure your biggest customer’s name will be spelt correctly. Calendar reminders can be ignored.

Rules and systems are more effective when they are aligned to the way that individuals work naturally. Apparently, we have 95% of the same thoughts every day so it is likely that importing an extra step into a process can disrupt (as well as enhance) a pattern of working that takes time and repetition to “regroove”. Any change is both stimulating and risky—and the world of IT is changing all the time, which could be why it is less resilient.

Weaknesses can come from external forces—late payers, difficult suppliers—some of which may be addressed (with a bit of forethought) in contract conditions.

I would suggest that every business has weaknesses; no system, no person, is infallible. If you don’t know where yours are, test every area of operation and then be vigilant for complacency and train well for change—before you find out in a live and potentially damaging situation.

By JMP Solicitors, Nov 7 2017 02:34PM

We encourage feedback from our clients, obviously we prefer good feedback, but poor feedback is beneficial too.

In the rare situations where we do get grumbles, we act on this straightaway.

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To receive specific legal advice in respect of any legal matter please contact your nearest JMP Solicitors office.