BriffaWay – It’s never too early to get the right prescription: How to get good legal advice

Written by Margaret Briffa | November 6, 2018

Intellectual Property

We get over 100 calls to the office every month from folk looking for help with their business and sorting out their intellectual property rights. The Briffa team is ready to help and we make a point of investing time in getting under the skin of whatever idea or business you are working on to really understand where the value lies and what gives you competitive edge. This is a cost to our business so why do we do it? We do it because unless we understand your business we not going to be able to give you the best possible advice about the steps you should take to protect and grow it.

All businesses must invest wisely in any intellectual property they register and understand why they are doing so. At the beginning good decisions are vital to get a business on the right track and avoid any unnecessary spend.

If what you are reading seems obvious it is clearly not so to all new businesses as there are two type of intellectual property and/or legal service out there which can trap a new business and which should be avoided. These two types of service are quite different but they each have the same fundamental problem. Neither invests time in getting to know you.

The first is the lawyer or attorney who simply follows through on whatever it is you have come to talk about. This most commonly happens with patents. Many businesses approach us with the idea that they should get a patent. A good lawyer will explore not only if it is possible to secure a patent but whether a patent will have value and provide any sort of return on what will be a huge investment. Patent offices are in the business of granting patents but they have obligation to tell you whether what you are being granted will help you protect and grow your business. Often when we look beneath the surface we advise that a patent is not the best route but that other types of rights will be a better investment to achieve the aim of protecting and growing the business. If your lawyer or attorney doesn’t question the commerciality or the decision to patent in detail, consider taking stock and getting another opinion. You are about to make a very expensive decision and you need to be sure you are getting it right.

The other type of service out there that is increasingly common and which is to be avoided are websites inviting you to apply for online quotes from two or more lawyers so you can chose the quote you like best. These services are promoted on the assumption that all lawyers charge far too much and are out to rip off unsuspecting members of the public. The sell is that by using the service you will get the best value. However there is a serious problem with the way these sites work. It is this. You have to say what is it you want, for example, I want to get a patent, or I want a set of terms and conditions, or I want to trade mark XYZ. So it’s a bit like going to a doctor and asking for a particular treatment when there has been no expert diagnosis. Again you may get what you ask for but is it the right thing and are there other issues which may be far more critical to your business which need attention which you simply do not know about.

Bottom line is there is no shortcut to getting good advice at the outset and we look forward to getting to know you!

Written by Margaret Briffa


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