When you ask Greaves Brewster LLP to do work for you, you become our client. From that point, the following terms will apply to our business relationship. If you’d like us to clarify anything, please don’t hesitate to ask. Otherwise, we shall assume that you have understood and accepted our terms.
Who will be doing your work
Your work will be done by, or under the direct supervision of, a fully qualified Chartered Patent Attorney, European Patent Attorney, Registered Trade Mark Attorney or Solicitor, as appropriate. Our firm is regulated by the Intellectual Property Regulation Board (IPReg). We are therefore bound by IPReg’s Code of Conduct, which you can access from the IPReg website at http://www.ipreg.org.uk.
Formalities and file maintenance, including the monitoring of deadlines, may also be carried out by our administrative staff, who are experienced in such matters and whose work is overseen by the partners of the firm. We monitor legal deadlines using a computerised intellectual property database which is designed specifically for the purpose.
Our partners, staff and consultants act on behalf of Greaves Brewster LLP, which is a limited liability partnership. Your business relationship is with the LLP and 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. In addition, we make fixed charges for certain types of work, such as filing a new patent application: these charges are to cover the associated administration.
We may have to pay other professionals, for example searchers or overseas IP attorneys, on your behalf. We make an additional charge to cover the administrative costs associated with such disbursements. Also, when we invoice you for disbursements paid in foreign currencies, the exchange rate we apply will include a margin to cover our conversion costs and the risk of exchange rate fluctuations. Please ask if you would like more details of these additional charges in specific cases.
Please note that charges from other professionals are, to an extent, outside of our control and may change without notice, as may official fees levied by IP offices.
Before we start work we will, on request, give you an indication of the likely foreseeable costs. This will include our charges and any disbursements which we may have to pay out on your behalf.
It is often difficult to predict exactly how much time a job may take. Our cost indication is therefore only approximate and not a binding quote. However, we will always try to keep within our indication and in particular we will 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’ve completed a piece of work for you. However, clients may be asked for payment in advance, in particular if significant disbursements (such as patent office fees or overseas attorneys’ charges) are involved. 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 intellectual property costs. Alternative charging arrangements may be possible if you need them.
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 until you have settled our invoices.
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.
If you pay us any money in advance of work being carried out, or if we hold any of your money for any other purpose, for example pending completion of a legal transaction, we will hold such monies in a client bank account separate from the firm’s professional business accounts. Please note that we will not pay you any interest on the money we hold in this way.
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’ve requested your input, to make sure that we receive it in good time.
Please note that without your instructions, we may be unable to take action to prevent for example a patent or trade mark application from lapsing.
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 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 and trade mark registries, and in some cases it is crucial to do so. Also, it allows us to keep you informed about your IP rights.
If we do not have your up to date contact details, then we cannot take responsibility for informing you about developments on your IP rights, in particular procedural deadlines. This may result in loss of some or all of your rights, as we will be unable to take action on your files without your instructions.
Whilst we are acting for you, and unless you say otherwise, we will keep our files relating to your ongoing work. We will hand these files over to you, or to another patent or trade mark attorney, if you wish. However we reserve the right to delay the file transfer until you have paid all our outstanding charges. We also reserve the right to keep a copy of any part of the file contents. We may ask you to reimburse us for the costs involved in transferring files.
Any information or documentation that you give us will be treated as strictly confidential, even if you cease to be our client.
Unless you instruct otherwise, we will keep the files – and the associated electronic records – for at least six years after the relevant intellectual property right (for example, a patent or a trade mark registration) has expired. For a “family” of associated rights we will keep all files for at least six years after the last of the rights has expired. Active files are generally kept on our premises; files for completed matters may be stored, under appropriate conditions, elsewhere. Files which we decide not to keep will be safely destroyed, in a way that safeguards the confidentiality of their contents.
Anti-money laundering legislation
In certain cases, in order to comply with anti-money laundering regulations, we may need to obtain evidence of your identity or of the identity of other parties connected with the work you instruct us to do.
Under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, we must notify the National Crime Agency (NCA) if we suspect that proceeds of crime are involved in the work we are instructed to do, or if we become aware of any suspicious circumstances relating to our clients’ financial affairs. We are not however allowed to tell you if we have notified any suspicious circumstance involving your work. In the unlikely event that we had to make such a notification, we could not conduct any further work on your files, or organise any financial transactions on your behalf, until we had clearance to do so from the NCA. Whilst we will always do our best to obtain clearance as quickly as possible, nevertheless our inability to act for you in such a situation could jeopardise the rights that we handle for you and we would be unable to warn you of that. Please understand that in such situations we must comply with the law.
By accepting these business terms, you agree not to hold us liable for any loss or damage which results from our compliance with the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 or any anti-money laundering legislation.
We hope that you will be happy with the work we do for you and with the way you are treated here.
If you’re not, please let us know 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’re not happy about doing that, you can speak to any of our partners.
If you wish to make a formal complaint, please write to The Practice Manager, Greaves Brewster LLP, Copa House, Station Road, Cheddar, BS27 3AH. Your complaint will be reviewed by at least two members of our senior management team and we will reply to you within seven days of receiving it.
If you are still dissatisfied, you are entitled to take your complaint to the Intellectual Property Regulation Board (IPReg). Please note that you will usually need to contact IPReg within twelve months of the matter you are complaining about.
Alternatively, if your complaint relates to work done on a European patent or patent application, you can refer it to the European Patents Institute (EPI). Contact details for these two bodies are shown below.
Institute of Professional Representatives before the European Patent Office
PO Box 260112
Tel: +49 89 242 052 0
Fax: +49 89 242 052 20
IPReg deals with complaints about professional misconduct. If however your complaint relates to the quality of our service, you may be entitled to ask the Legal Ombudsman for help. We will always do our best to resolve such complaints ourselves, but if you are still dissatisfied then we would encourage you to contact the Legal Ombudsman, which provides a free, independent and impartial complaint resolution service. We will be happy to give you more information about the Ombudsman scheme if you wish.
Please note that you should ideally contact the Ombudsman within six months of your last contact with us, if you want their help with an unresolved complaint.
Contact details for the Legal Ombudsman are:
Because Greaves Brewster LLP is a limited liability partnership, any claim in connection with work done by us will be the responsibility of the firm. By asking Greaves Brewster LLP 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 instruct people we believe to be trustworthy and to provide the same high quality of service as Greaves Brewster LLP provides for you. Please note that we do not accept payments from other service providers in return for referring your work to them.
Greaves Brewster LLP carries professional indemnity insurance, of an amount deemed appropriate by IPReg, through PAMIA Limited. PAMIA Limited is a specialist provider of insurance for patent and trade mark attorneys (www.pamia.co.uk).
Changes to our business terms
From time to time we may need to update these terms. We will let you know when we do, and send you a copy of the updated terms. We will assume that you have understood and accepted the updated terms, unless you say anything to the contrary.
This contract, between you and Greaves Brewster LLP, is governed by English law, and the English courts shall have exclusive jurisdiction to settle any dispute or claim connected with it.
Greaves Brewster LLP
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