Litigation & Dispute Resolution
Our specialist team gets quick results where necessary or will help you find an alternative solution when faced with or bringing a civil action.
Intellectual Property Law
Brand Management: we’re specialists.
Intellectual property doesn’t just concern big businesses. It touches your everyday life without even realising. With the rise of social media and online platforms, it’s more important than ever to understand your rights and it’s more lucrative than ever to protect your ideas. 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 or defend 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.
Copyright protection subsists automatically in the UK to protect your creative endeavours. However, 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.
With the rise of the online platform comes the rise of copyright proceedings. If you are a photographer, musician, graphic designer or other creative entrepreneur who has been threatened with proceedings, we can help.
Similarly, we understand that the creative industry, small 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; to determine who the rightful owner is; or need help to protect against infringement, we can assist.
We understand that a brand is an important asset, acting as a badge of trade origin of goods or services from a particular supplier or person. This applies not only to big companies, but to the creative industry; the influx of social media influencers and reality personalities. The interchange of brands with business opportunities and the online platform continues to expand. The manner in which companies, musicians and other creative individuals market themselves to individuals is ever evolving. If you are considering working in this manner, either receiving or selling adverts for your brand on social media, you need our advice.
We understand that people buy into a brand, which is an inherently useful and commercially exploitable piece of property. You may 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 individuals 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 offers protection to public figures, small and large businesses, and creative individuals. As the way in which we communicate progresses, this area of law will become more important. Passing Off can help you protect your hard earned reputation, slogan or get up, whatever walk of life you are in. If someone is riding on the coat tails of your hard earned reputation, online or otherwise, we can help.
Passing Off is about stopping the infringer benefitting from 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 brilliant ideas must be protected, 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. You may be an ex-employee engaged in a dispute with your former employer about confidential information; or a brilliant individual seeking to sell your creative ingenuity for profit. Whatever the circumstances, our team of litigators have vast experience and are adept at working quickly to obtain or defend an injunction to protect your position. This means we can advise about potential dispute triggers at all stages, such as within employment contracts or non-disclosure agreements, 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 of 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. However, this doesn’t just affect big businesses. You may be a graphic designer, artist or entrepreneur. The creations which you have made may benefit from design right without even realising. With design rights comes money. We can help you reap the benefits of selling, licensing and protecting your designs.
A registered design protects the appearance of your designs and can be used to prevent others 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 your designs and can be used to prevent others 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.
BOUNDARY & NEIGHBOUR DISPUTES
Everyone knows boundary and neighbourly disputes are difficult to litigate. The Court’s don’t like deciding them and cooler heads really need to prevail. We’ve got the skill, expertise and experience to make sure that when something as heated as a boundary disputes arises, you’re properly advised and protected and every step is taken to ensure that the Court sees you as the reasonable party. Of course, when the gloves have to come off, we have tenacious litigators ready to fight your corner.
Boundary disputes can be over a few feet of land or many metres and they can quickly escalate to make your living conditions far from ideal. We know precisely how to handle these types of dispute, by working with expert surveyors and boundary experts to get to the nub of the dispute and to stay on the right side of the law. These disputes quickly escalate and as a litigation team that’s been involved in over 200 mediations and alternative dispute resolution methods, we’ll always try and ensure that not only do you get the best outcome, that your future and that of your family is at the forefront of the decisions that we make.
Right of Light Disputes
Your neighbour may be building an extension or modifying their property. If it impacts on your property, we can help to ensure your rights are protected, that by acting quickly we can secure a modification to the design of their building before it impacts on valuable light to your property. See our specific section on Right of Light here.
Party Wall Disputes
If you or your neighbour are planning redevelopment works to your property, both of you must ensure that you comply with strict Party Wall legislation. We have years of experience to ensure your rights are protected, if Party Wall Awards are not made when they should be, to ensure that the legislation is complied with and if Awards are made where they shouldn’t be or if a surveyor has simply got it wrong, we’ll guide you through a very complex area of the law by applying to the County Court where necessary. We work with experienced party wall surveyors who know their area and who are the best in the business. We deal with these disputes regularly both in a domestic but also in a commercial context.
Harassment and injunctions
Sometimes neighbours just can’t or won’t get on. These disputes are rarely easy to deal with and can become nasty, quickly. Just like boundary disputes, cooler heads need to prevail. However, sometimes the other side just won’t listen. If that’s the case, we’ll handle your case robustly, and if necessary by obtaining restraining orders and injunctions to protect you, your family and your property. No one wants this situation to occur, but when it does, you need firm but sensible legal advice and your neighbours need to know you won’t be taken for granted.
Rights of Way and Property Disputes
These disputes are complicated. They require an understanding of property and land law and they require the lawyers to give the highest quality of advice to ensure that you always adopt the correct legal position. Sometimes there’s no clear answer but often there is – it just needs to be found. You can always rely on us to work closely with our property law team to ensure that we get to the bottom of the dispute and to enforce your rights where you’re…in the right.
We can help you with a variety of personal property litigation matters. We have experience and expertise in dealing with all of the following situations:
- Disputes about the ownership of property; sometimes at the outset there isn’t a clear agreement about how a house or property is to be owned and the shares. This is a complicated area but we’ve dealt with many dispute and we understand this area and will give you the best advice. Sometimes the ownership is not as straightforward as it seems;
- There can be many different personal property disputes; you may have bought or sold a property but not paid or received the full amount of the price. If a dispute arises in these situations, we can always help;
- Often properties are purchased in the name of one party or the other. In the future, agreements may not be complied with or the evidence might be tricky to produce. We’ll help you to bring or defend such a claim, and piece together the evidence to make sure you’ve got the best chance of success;
- We specialise in fraud and dishonesty situations; if you’ve been the victim of a fraud or your property or money have been transferred away from you, sometimes by forgery but even if you think you’ve been the victim of undue influence, we’ve got a real specialism in this field. We can apply for injunctions quickly and we’ve got all the expertise that you’ll require in this fast-moving area.
- We are renowned for our expertise in recovering possession of residential property for landlords. We receive instructions from most of the specialist lettings agencies in South Essex, as well as from landlords directly and we deal with all work on a fixed fee basis. Download a copy of our price list here.
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
Are you owed money? Our robust system for debt recovery gets you your money and it doesn’t need to 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. Our tenacious debt recovery experts strive to ensure that you not only secure a judgement, you also get your money back.
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. Similarly, you may have changed employment and already be in breach or alleged breach of your previous contract. Things can get messy. Litigation can be expensive and time-consuming, and could also cause problems for your new employer. We’ll help you avoid this.
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 in-house aviation expert. Nadia comes from a family of aviation specialists and has many years experience in this field. Nadia can help 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, insurance backed where necessary to ensure your project is properly protected.
DIRECTORS, SHAREHOLDERS & EXECUTIVES
Acting for Directors, Senior Employees and Board-Level recruitment can be complicated and challenging. We can help with complex employment 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. Often, employment contracts have to be read in conjunction with partnership or shareholder agreements, or Memorandum and Articles of Association and restrictive covenants and other obligations may also have to be interpreted in light of other formal documentation. We have specialists not only in our employment team but also in our corporate and commercial team and we’ll work together, to ensure that the preparation or dispute in relation to one form of agreement is also considered with other contractual remedies that could be available to you.
We can negotiate an exit package for you which may also need to end any company-law or partnership liabilities that you could have and we’ve got an entire team who will co-ordinate to enable you to get the best possible outcome.
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