Litigation & Dispute Resolution
Our specialist team gets quick results where necessary or seek alternative resolution channels that save you money and disruption to your business.
Intellectual Property Law
Brand Management: we’re specialists.
We’ll help you to manage, protect and make the best of your intellectual property. We have expertise across all fields, whether it’s to assist or support a business transaction or to protect your interests by engaging with our litigation and dispute resolution team, we’ll ensure that you’re always well protected. We are up to speed with all modern forms of communication which has developed rapidly over the last few years, and ensure that you get the robust advice you need so that your intellectual property isn’t taken advantage of.
Even though Copyright protection subsists automatically in the UK to protect your creative endeavours, it is important you know where you are protected, and what you can do to exploit it. We can ensure you have advice and support when you need it most, and to help you get the most from your rights when things are going well.
We understand that businesses and entrepreneurs create IP assets attracting copyright every day. Our team has the expertise to work with you and ensure you are making the most of these valuable assets, to maximise their value. Whether you need advice on whether your asset benefits from protection or who is the owner, or need help to protect against infringement, we can assist.
We understand that a company’s brand is its most important asset, acting as a badge of trade origin of goods or services from a particular supplier. The brand itself is an inherently useful and commercially exploitable piece of property. You have spent a lot of time and money in building your brand, it is important that you protect it. That’s why you need our help to advise, support and defend your brand. Whether you need advice on registrability, help with strategy of protection or someone to fight your corner, we have the expertise to manage your brand.
There are many benefits of registering a Trademark, especially if you are keen to protect your investment. At BTMK, we can help to protect and exploit this valuable asset. If you are forced to litigate, we can also steer you through the dispute process with straightforward, commercially practical advice.
If you want to make the most of your brand financially, we have the experts to help with drafting the licences and assignments necessary to do so.
Here at BTMK, we pride ourselves in Brand Management. We understand that not all companies will protect their IP rights by registration. Even if you haven’t registered your brand, that doesn’t mean you are without cause of action if the worst happens and another attempts to steal your hard earned identity. Passing Off allows you to stop an infringer in their tracks and offers protection to your brand, even if you haven’t registered it.
Passing Off is about stopping the infringer from selling their goods or services by making unfair use of your hard earned reputation. We recognise the importance of acting quickly in these circumstances and our dispute resolution experts can guide you through the process with clear, cost effective advice, without the jargon. We have a wealth of experience with alternative dispute resolution procedures, but should it come to it, we also have the expertise to steer you through the UK High Court or the UK Intellectual Property Enterprise Court.
The law will uphold a person’s obligation to keep a secret in certain circumstances. We know from experience that this can either be contractually agreed, or imparted by the law to give protection in its own right. We understand that businesses’ trade secrets are its blood stream, and that’s why it is important to know you have the best support behind you at your time of need. Whether you require help drafting non disclosure agreements to protect your valuable assets from the offset, or the secret has been breached and you need help with injunctive relief, we have the expertise.
We understand that confidential information touches all sorts of work, not just in the strict sense of protecting your IP assets. Our team of litigators have vast experience and are adept at working quickly to obtain an injunction to protect our client’s confidential information. This means we can advise about potential dispute triggers at all stages, such as within employment contracts, as well as assisting in any contentious matters, large or small.
The UK offers protection for the creative efforts of way things look, the shape and appearance of manufactured goods via both registered and unregistered design rights. A basic form or unregistered design right can exist automatically to protect designers, however, an arguably stronger form of protection exists for designers to register and protect their designs. We know from experience that successful shapes and appearances of designs cost money and time to design, and are worth a great deal to their owner. The value of the design of manufactured goods is often intrinsically linked to the success of the product, for example: the coca cola bottle.
A registered design protects the appearance of a product and can be used to prevent competitors from marketing products which produce the same overall impression on an informed user. Used properly, registered design rights can therefore be a very effective method of protecting your creative assets. However, we know that protection of a registered design is limited and so appreciate the limitations of registration. We at BTMK can advise you on the most suitable method of protection, and help you to successfully manage your brand.
Unregistered design rights protect the shape or configuration of a product and can be used to prevent competitors from reproducing products of that design for commercial purposes. We have the expertise to advise you upon applicability of this protection and further, can guide you through the litigation process if your unregistered design rights have been infringed.
We specialise in helping to resolve shareholder and director disputes in a whole range of business structures, from partnership disputes to protecting minority shareholder rights and bringing derivative claims where necessary. Our lawyers are described as being “hands-on, pragmatic and totally commercially oriented” in the profession’s key directory – exactly what is required when dealing with sensitive disputes in this field.
Whether you’re bringing a lease to an end or trying to recover possession from a difficult commercial tenant, we are here to help protect your investment. We were recently instructed to act in relation to the recovery of high-profile premises in the heart of Mayfair being occupied by squatters and recovered possession what was considered by the High Court Enforcement Officers in “record time.” We can also help to resolve disputes relating to dilapidation claims and the recovery of unpaid rent together with disputes concerning rent deposit deeds and commercial leases generally.
Contract & Commercial Disputes
Contract law is always evolving. Courts are always making decisions that change the way that certain clauses are to be interpreted. We are always up to date with the law and we’ll give you clear and concise advice from the very outset. Our specialist team gets quick results where necessary and can seek alternative dispute resolution channels that save you time and money. Often, ADR clauses are built into the contract itself. We’ll help you decide if you can avoid that mechanism or how you can enforce it if it’s in your interests. If you own a small business, or you’ve managed to get into a dispute over land, property or money, we’ll keep the costs in check and most importantly, the end in sight.
Debt Recovery & Enforcement
Our robust system for debt recovery get you your money and it needn’t cost you a penny. We offer flexible fee arrangements depending on your requirements and our connection with the County’s best Insolvency Practitioners will ensure that your position is best protected if the worst happens and your debtor becomes insolvent.
We specialise in bringing and resisting injunction applications. Our work in this field was recently recognised by the Legal 500 – the client’s guide to the legal profession. We have the resources and expertise available to carry out the necessary work at short notice, particularly where matters are time-critical and strength in depth is paramount. We specialise in obtaining and defending the following types of injunctions:
- Freezing Orders – both pre- and post- Judgment
- Orders seeking the preservation of land or property;
- Search Orders
- Restraining Orders against neighbours or other individuals
- Injunctions against co-shareholders or directors
- Safeguarding personal or business interests;
- Injunctions in relation to the preservation of your reputation
- Stopping nuisance or trespass relating to land
- Preventing the presentation of a winding-up petition or preventing its advertisement
- Enforcing restrictive covenants, in employment contracts or in land or title documentation
- An injunction to secure specific performance – such as the signing of a contract
When injunctions are necessary, or if they’ve been issued and you need to be released from a Court order, you need a firm and a team that can deliver. We have the team with the expertise and years of experience in handling emergency matters. Strength in depth in a team is critical and that’s where we specialise. We have experience in Directors and Senior Solicitors, with the ability to provide hands-on individuals in trainees and paralegals to go through urgent and large amounts of documentation quickly and decisively. Read more about our success here.
Restrictive Covenants & Confidentiality
Whether you are in the process of negotiating your contract of employment or looking to move on, it is important that you fully understand any restrictive covenants or confidentiality obligations and the impact these may have in the future.
We can advise you on these obligations and assist you in negotiating their scope.
Our specialists co-ordinate to give you expert advice in relation to restrictive covenants. They can arise in employment contracts, partnership agreements, shareholder agreements, business acquisition agreements or management buy-out agreements. Basically, in a whole variety of situations. Moreover, they’re often entered into without much thought into what might happen if things go sour.
Often called non-compete clauses, this is an area of law that is complex and one which changes regularly. It can change with trends in employment, particularly if a high-concentration of specialists are located in a small geographical area. They can also arise to ensure that you don’t compete with your employer post-termination, or that you don’t compete with someone who has acquired your business. They are often used in the City of London in fields of finance or insurance and where our expertise really lies.
The consequences are often severe. They can result in injunctions, claims for damages, reputational damage and problems for your future or new employer. Our specialists are here to help you navigate this risk. Forearmed is forewarned and therefore obtaining advice on the potential liabilities is always advisable and we’re here to provide that advice.
Quite often, clauses can overreach and be excessive both in terms of time, geographical restrictions and areas of work. We’ll help you to challenge the clauses were appropriate and to minimise your risk if necessary. If the worst happens and proceedings are issued, our specialists work with our litigators to obtain the best outcome and to look at things strategically to allow you to move forward with your plans.
For your convenience, we have offices in the City of London and across Essex. We have a wealth of experience, acting for senior individuals in the insurance, banking and finance sectors in this constantly evolving and challenging area of the law. You need to be advised quickly and decisively not only about your options but how the other party is likely to react. This means you need advice from individuals who’ve encountered the situation previously and know the options that the other side have available and who can act strategically to ensure the risk of you being embroiled in lengthy and expensive litigation can be minimised.
Right of Light
Are you planning a new development, for example a housing estate or a block of flats? Or perhaps an extension to existing property? Do you own a property near to other property or land which is being developed? Then you should be aware of ‘rights of light’
What is a legal Right of Light? If a window in your home or commercial premises has existed for more than 19 years and 1 day then you will probably have acquired a ‘legal right of light’ through that window. If your neighbour builds a structure which affects the light through that window, you may be able to either prevent that structure from being built or claim damages from your neighbour for the ‘injury.’
If you want to develop your property you will need to investigate whether any neighbouring windows have acquired this legal right of light over your land.
If legal rights of light exist:
And your build will affect your neighbour’s light – your neighbour might be entitled to an injunction to prevent you from building, or you may have to pay them compensation for their loss of light.
If a nearby development affects the light to your property – you may be entitled to either prevent the build or receive compensation in return for the injury to your light.
We work closely with specialist Right of Light Surveyors, who will work with us to achieve the right outcome for you. That could be an appraisal of any financial exposure you may have or the likelihood of you obtaining damages.
Nadia is our resident in-house aviation expert. Nadia comes from a family of aviation specialists to ensure you and your business are properly protected. Nadia can assist you with the following:
- Aircraft purchase and Sale Agreements
- Leases & Charters
- Repossession of Aircraft
- Engine Disputes
- Financing of Aircraft & Engines
- Registration & Operation of Aircraft
- Dispute Resolution
- Aviation Contracts
Building disputes can range from a straightforward contract for a small extension or the construction of a conservatory. They can also involve large scale rebuilding projects involving many different contractors, other professionals, architects, structural engineers and they can become more complex when dealing with listed buildings. Fortunately, our litigation team has dealt with all types of building and construction disputes and we have experience of using all of the dispute resolution methods that are available in this highly technical area of the law. We’ve litigated in the Technology & Construction Court, we’ve dealt with Adjudications, Arbitrations, Mediations, Joint Settlement Meetings and we’re always there to protect you and your property.
We’ve years of experience in dealing with adjudication. We use specialist barristers where necessary who understand the nature of this type of dispute resolution, aiming to provide a quick and relatively cost effective dispute mechanism and often allowing the parties to move on after dealing with a dispute that comes across from time to time in long running building and construction projects. The entire process is designed to be streamlined, fast and binding and you need solicitors who can work quickly, efficiently and in a team to make the most of this resolution method.
Arbitration is generally a private, enforceable and binding method of dispute resolution and in the days of vastly expensive litigation, is thought to provide a cost effective way of being able to deal with complex and highly technical disputes. We know the best abritrators in the business, we know the preparation required to deal with this method of dispute resolution and we work with the best barristers at the top chambers to ensure that your case is prepared properly and to give you the best chance of success.
If the gloves have to come off, then we’re in your corner to obtain the result you’re after. Our advantage is in our team, with strength in depth at all levels and with experience of litigating over complex construction projects, working with other professionals and really concentrating on the parts of the litigation that will make a difference to your case. We’ve litigated highly complex design projects in the City of London, pursued claims in negligence against architects over a cooling facility in Essex and pursued various contractors in a multiple-owner site with competing building interests. We really have the litigation know-how to deal with project based litigation, working with you and with tightly controlled budgets. We are insurance backed where necessary to ensure your project is properly protected.
Directors, Shareholders & Executives
Acting for Directors, Senior Employees and Board-Level disputes can be complicated and challenging. We can help with complex Director and Shareholder issues and we’ll steer you through contracts, claims and disputes.
We specialise in advising on all contentious and non-contentious issues in this specialist area of the law. Our corporate team handles the drafting of all company formation documents and our litigation team can handle any subsequent disputes. We can use all of the powers included in the Companies Act and the Insolvency Act to ensure that your position is protected, whether you’re a minority shareholder or feel that you’ve been unfairly prejudiced by a Company’s actions or even if you’re a joint director or shareholder and you and your co-director have fallen out. Similarly, it may be a straightforward contractual dispute but it may need to be litigated within the terms of an existing partnership or shareholders’ agreement by the use of arbitration or a nominated expert following a business sale or acquisition. We’ve got years of experience in dealing with these types of disputes, and we can offer flexible fee arrangements to ensure that you or your business are not prevented from litigating these disputes because of a cash-flow issue.
This area of the law often requires “out of the box” thinking – with novel uses of specialist processes such as a winding-up petition or an unfair-prejudice petition rather than simply rushing off and issuing a claim in the County Court or the High Court. We’ll give you all the options and the pros and cons of each particular method.
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