Guarantee Your Business Legacy: Why You Need to Build Up a Trade Mark Portfolio

Guarantee Your Business Legacy: Why You Need to Build Up a Trade Mark Portfolio

Legacies are created by those who are willing to take action, and in this case by those who are smart enough to build up their trade mark portfolios.

Many have a false belief that the registration of a company, and the resulting automatic registration of a company name, results in sufficient protection of a company’s branding. Sooner rather than later, this misguided faith will come crashing down and unfortunately, when it comes to branding, the damage might not be reversible. What this article aims to do is to elaborate on the commercial justifications behind registering trade marks and if anything, should make you realise that a trade mark portfolio is not only an insurance policy, but also an investment – but with way less uncertainty and way more upside. 

First off, it is important to understand that the incorporation of your company and the check by the CIPC of whether your company name is available, does not protect your company name or brand. A company name and the following ‘(Pty) Ltd’ abbreviation merely represents the legal character of your business. It does not distinguish your business, products or services from those of another. That’s the job of your trade marks. In this regard, it is possible for you to register trade marks for your business name, products and services, which can be in the form of word marks, device marks or even slogans. 

In general, trade marks are product and service identifiers. For registration purposes, a trade mark must be able to distinguish the products or services of your business from those of others. This criterion is satisfied if, at the date of application, your trade mark is capable of distinguishing your goods or services, either inherently or due to prior use. 

If you meet these requirements, a trade mark provides you with protection for an infinite amount of time (provided you renew your trade mark every 10 years); it secures exclusive use of the mark for you; and allows you to prevent others from using the same or even confusingly similar marks in the marketplace.  Why is this important you may ask? You will find a recurring pattern in the marketplace unfortunately, made up of copycats using similar or even the same branding as yours, to ride the wave of your success. This can be achieved by creating competitive products or services, either in competition or just as a subpar version of your offering. This results in clientele being funnelled away from your doors and into the hands of a copycat. What is important to note is that you are not just losing customers, it could tarnish your brand if customers start confusing a subpar offering with your branding. How do you prevent this? Registering a trade mark allows you to prohibit anyone from using the same or even confusingly similar marks in the marketplace.

The above are all excellent reasons for registering trade marks, but if you need a little more of a push, then consider the following compelling commercial reasons. We now know that trade marks help consumers identify the source of goods or services. Psychologically, human beings are more inclined to place their trust in what they believe are reputable products. Branding and marketing strategies are based on the understanding that consumers value brand names more than no name or generic brands. This is because consumers align themselves with trade marks and their accompanying set of qualities. Further to this, consumers are usually willing to pay more for a brand name, because they know where the product or service comes from and as a result, places their trust in that brand. 

The above is referred to in the industry as goodwill – the ability to attract and establish clientele. This goodwill is seen as an asset and can either be sold or licensed via its attachment to a trade mark. This means that your trade mark itself is an asset, based on the fact that it has accompanying goodwill attached to it. The more goodwill, the higher the value and the more important protection is. This is in contrast to Jon and Jane Doe who opted not to register a trade mark – any goodwill built up will form part of their business and now cannot be separated like with a trade mark. This means that the only way to sell their goodwill is to sell the business as a going concern, which also makes the commercialisation of their goodwill that much harder. 

This is excellent news for trade mark proprietors and forms the basis of franchise arrangements in general. When a company develops a product or service, the initial aim in registering a trade mark is defensive (the ability to prevent others from entering the market with the same or similar marks for the same or similar good, i.e. your insurance policy). However, when we consider trade marks further, an entire new revenue model opens up. Inevitably, the use of a trade mark (and the attached goodwill) can be licensed out to third parties on exclusive or non-exclusive terms for a royalty fee. See these royalties as guaranteed dividend pay outs. For franchise arrangements, a main asset that is licensed and forms the basis of a franchise relationship is the franchisee’s ability to use the franchisor’s trade mark and thereby draw the clientele (via goodwill) attracted to that trade mark within their pre-defined territory. This principle of goodwill sounds odd – I know it did to me the first time – but when considered from a commercial perspective, this ability to garner goodwill is considered an asset and a really rewarding one for that matter.

Trade marks are seen as intangible assets. What this means is that your trade mark develops an intrinsic value as your product or service becomes more successful. Further to this, the stronger your trade mark, the more valuable it is. Strength of a trade mark turns on its distinctives, which is made up of its uniqueness and physical appearance, as well as the trade mark register and the number of similar marks on the register. One way of ensuring that the register does not become overpopulated with similar marks is to get your registration on the register as soon as possible, thereby stopping the register from becoming overpopulated with marks similar to yours for similar categories of products or services.

When you are in the process of doing an equity funding round, you will immediately pinpoint the intellectual property section on your due diligence checklist. At this stage, you do not want to be fumbling around trying to get your trade mark registrations in order as it may well be too late, either because of a total block on the register or because of a deal’s time sensitivity. In most cases, an investor will want to see the registration certificates for your trade mark portfolio, failing which, they will have to conduct a search of what currently is on the trade mark register and analyse the risk of investing in a company that has failed to secure this form of protection. At this point you would have invested significant time, money and the building up of goodwill in a particular brand. It will for that reason be all the more devastating if a search indicates that your trade mark cannot be registered due to an existing mark on the register, or if the mark turns out to be weak due to the register being overpopulated with similar marks.

Trade marks can even be pledged as security to secure loan facilities, similar to the manner in which immovable property can form the subject of a bond. 

A trade mark offers you so much more than just security and if you play your cards right it can provide you with a lucrative platform for commercialising what can be seen as one of your most important company assets. Talk about the ultimate side hustle. It is undeniable that building your trade mark portfolio is an extremely easy process and carries endless benefits. The sooner you get started the easier it is. Just keep in mind that the trade mark register can be an unforgiving place as well and if you drag your feet, you could find yourself having to either rebrand down the line, possibly losing some goodwill that you worked so hard for, or spend unnecessary costs battling it out with a clowder of copycats that already made it to the register before you. Be smart about your intellectual property strategy from the beginning. If you need any advice, we are here to help you draw up your battleplan.

To Tea or Not to Tea: Securing Trade Mark Protection for Rooibos Tea

To Tea or Not to Tea: Securing Trade Mark Protection for Rooibos Tea

What do you think of when someone mentions rooibos tea? Is it the abundant health benefits, the taste of home, a good conversation on a balcony when it may still be a tad too early for a glass of wine? No, it is probably the intricate legal battles that erupted behind the now world-renowned tea… yes, that’s it, right? 

Rooibos tea is exclusively farmed in the Western Cape of South Africa and the distinctive aspalathus linearis plant requires very specific conditions to grow successfully. Conditions which the Western Cape and more specifically the Cederberg region provide. In the 1900s, Pieter Nortier and a partner developed the methods and processes to germinate the plant and brew the well-known drink that is now more of a household name than ‘Cremora’. In 2021, The Rooibos Council of South Africa has secured a Protected Designation of Origin mark from the European Union and I am certain that Pieter Nortier would be doing backflips, if he was– alive today.

You have probably noticed the little yellow and red sticker on your tea box during your monthly ‘FreshPak’ run. This, my friends, is the coveted Protected Designation of Origin mark, resulting in exclusivity for Zaffa production. This article is more an expression of pride and pays homage to South Africans’ ability to keep on fighting the good fight, no matter the size of the opponent. This mark practically ensures the indefinite protection of this product as being ‘Proudly South African’.

Trade marks in general are a crucial element of any commercial endeavour. It acts as a badge of origin and ensures customers that the product or service they are presented with stem from one unwavering source. In effect, a trade mark identifies the goods or services of a particular company or person. Similarly, there are Geographical Indications, similar to trade marks, however, these marks identify the goods or services of a particular place, rather than a person or company.

There are three main forms of Geographical Indications, one of them being a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO). A PDO is registrable for food, agricultural products and wines and will only be registrable for products that have the strongest links to the place in which they are made. What this means is that every part of the production, processing and preparation must take place in a particular region or area.

Tell me – what does Feta cheese, Champagne and Prosciutto have in common? Each product has that little red and yellow PDO sticker. This now explains why these products are always of a similar quality, taste and standard, no matter where they are purchased. The same goes for Parmigiano Reggiano, Black Forest Ham, Kalamata olives, and the list goes on. What this means for South Africa is that no one, save for those in a designated area, producing rooibos tea in a documented and specific manner, is allowed to link the designation ‘rooibos tea’ to their brand, irrespective of how perfect their recipe is. 

Rooibos tea has provided a clear case of why it is so important to secure a PDO and why trade marks in general are so important. It is well known that companies in the United States and France have attempted to register the ‘rooibos’ brand, which they would get away with, seeing that the registration of Afrikaans dialect in a non-Afrikaans speaking country could avoid the bar of registering descriptive trade marks – and they actually did get away with such registrations. Lucky for us, the PDO is like a draw four card in the hand of a kid playing ‘Uno’, meaning that everyone is barred from registering the ‘rooibos’ brand and slapping it on any random tea with red food colouring in it. It thereby not only protects every student’s favourite procrastination drink but also protects the name from being tarnished by inferior quality products.

Without the PDO in place, the bespoke South African tea would most definitely crumble under the weight of mass production and international competition, rendering the South African product and the actual methodology behind rooibos tea, nearly obsolete. The Rooibos Council of South Africa, however, fought tooth and nail to secure this PDO and was officially awarded its certification this year. As a result hereof, we can sleep soundly at night knowing that the cup of tea which just quenched our thirst is from a specific source and produced subject to strict guidelines, otherwise it would most definitely not have a reference to ‘rooibos’ anywhere.

This article acts as a salute to South Africa for securing a PDO, but what I am really hoping for, is that you recognise how important it is to protect your brand, irrespective of whether it is a general trade mark for your business or a Geographical Indication. This form of intellectual property secures indefinite protection for the proprietor and guarantees that your winning recipe remains protected under your banner. If you would like to talk about anything related to trade marks, or if you require assistance with registering your brand, then you are welcome to give our trade mark department at Dommisse a call.

Minimal Mercy for Miscreant Marauders: Delinquency Orders for Directors and the Effects in terms of the Companies Act

Minimal Mercy for Miscreant Marauders: Delinquency Orders for Directors and the Effects in terms of the Companies Act

One of the most significant innovations of the Companies Act No. 71 of 2008 (“Companies Act“) includes an order declaring a director a delinquent in terms of section 162 of the Companies Act. This powerful protective remedy “ensure[s] that those who invest in companies are protected against directors who engage in serious misconduct of the type that violates the ‘bond of trust’ that shareholders have with the people they appoint as directors” (Gihwala and Others v Grancy Property Limited and Others, 2017).

Recent articles on our blog discuss director duties as set out in the common law and section 76 of the Companies Act. What this should make you recognise is that this represents the one side of the coin, being the duties that are owed to the company and its true stakeholders. On the other side of the coin, however, are the consequences of such actions. One is a declaration of delinquency or probation in terms of section 162.

The object of this section clearly establishes such an order as a protective remedy in the public interest. The remedy provides an applicant with protection from a director that proves unable to manage the business of a company or has failed or neglected their duties and obligations owed to a company. In other words, the remedy not only protects the applicant but serves to protect other companies from the delinquent director’s conduct as well.

This remedy takes the form of a court application for an order declaring a director a delinquent, the result being a prohibition on being a director for any company for seven years, or even indefinitely in serious cases, being placed on a register of delinquent directors and, as an “automatic inherent effect of such a declaration” (Kukama v Lobelo, 2012), a director found guilty of such conduct shall automatically be removed from any current board seat held.

What is interesting to note is that this amounts to an indirect manner for the removal of a director from a company and it does not matter what the subjective motive of the applicant is; if there is objective merit for delinquency this may be a viable way to remove a director, even if the sole motive of the applicant is to have the director removed by a court (Msimang NO and Another v Katuliiba and Others, 2013).

Following from the above, it is, of course, important to recognise who can bring an application for delinquency. Quite a wide net is cast in this regard, which may include the company itself, a director, shareholder, company secretary or a prescribed officer of a company. The right to initiate such an application goes even further and includes a registered trade union that represents the employees of the company or another employee representative, the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission, the Takeover Regulation Panel and, to a limited extent, an organ of state responsible for the administration of any legislation.

There is a distinction in the application of Section 162 as it relates to an order of delinquency and an order for probation. Whereas an order for probation requires a court to apply its discretion, an order of delinquency does not require such discretion, meaning that, for purposes of an order of delinquency, a court must declare a director delinquent if one of the following grounds are established as provided in the Companies Act, this being considered by the courts as a substantive abuse of power (in terms of sections 162(5)(a),(b),(d),(e) and (f)):

  • consenting to serve as a director, or acting in the capacity of a director or prescribed officer, while ineligible or disqualified in terms of the Companies Act;
  • while under an order of probation, acting as a director in a manner that contravened that order;
  • repeatedly being subject to a compliance notice or similar enforcement mechanism;
  • being convicted twice personally of an offence or being subject to an administrative fine or penalty in terms of any legislation; or
  • within a period of 5 years, being a director of one or more companies or being a managing member of one or more close corporations, or controlling or participating in the control of a juristic person (irrespective of whether concurrently, sequentially or at unrelated times) that was convicted of an offence or subjected to an administrative fine or similar penalty in terms of any legislation.

The Companies Act, furthermore, provides for more substantive abuses under section 162(5)(c) of the Companies Act, the confirmation of which will result in an order for delinquency as well and includes:

  • gross abuse of the position, while acting as a director;
  • taking personal advantage of information or an opportunity, or intentionally or by gross negligence inflicting harm on the company or a subsidiary of the company, contrary to section 76(2)(a) of the Companies Act; or
  • acting in a manner that amounts to gross negligence, wilful misconduct or breach of trust or in a manner contemplated in sections 77(3)(a), (b) or (c) of the Companies Act (unauthorised acts, reckless trading or fraud).

Of interest is the repetition of sections 76 and 77 of the Companies Act in the above-mentioned grounds, which refers to the fiduciary duties of directors and their personal liability. What this means is that, in addition to personal liability, it is possible for a director to also be declared delinquent. This remedy takes the common law duties of directors, which have been codified in section 76 of the Companies Act, and gives them teeth – quite significant teeth.

Regarding the grounds recorded in section 162(5)(c), case law has provided a significant amount of guidance and it is clear that the common law principles codified in sections 76 and 77 of the Companies Act continue to steer the courts’ approach, these being regarded as substantive abuses of office, leading to a lack of genuine concern for the prosperity of a company (Grancy Property Limited v Gihwala, 2014).

Regarding gross abuse of the position of director (see section 162(5)(c)(i) of the Companies Act), a court will have to use its discretion as to whether a gross abuse is present, this term not being defined in the Companies Act. However, an abuse must relate to the use of the position as director and not relate to the performance of the director. An example of such an abuse would include the usurping of confidential information or a corporate opportunity meant for the company and using this for the director’s personal advantage, whether for another company or personally (Demetriades and Another v Tollie and Others, 2015), this amounting to a breach of a director’s fiduciary duties, irrespective of whether the actions undertaken by the director have caused harm to the company or not. This seems to overlap closely with the common law corporate opportunity rule (which has been codified to a certain extent in section 76 of the Companies Act) and which dictates that any contract, opportunity or information that arises for a company, irrespective of whether it could be taken up or used by a company or not, belongs to the company and a director is prohibited from usurping the aforementioned for him or herself.

Taking personal advantage of information or an opportunity meant for a company (see section 162(5)(c)(ii) of the Companies Act) is a ground similar to the above-mentioned ground of abuse, however, it is narrower in that it applies only if a director usurped information or an opportunity meant for a company, for the personal advantage of the director as a natural person. To date, courts have found this ground to be present for two dominant types of conduct, one being the appropriation of a business opportunity that should have accrued to the company and secondly, insider trading.

The grounds established in terms of sections 162(5)(c)(ii) and (iv) of the Companies Act, being the infliction of harm intentionally or by gross negligence and/or breaching trust, whether directly or indirectly places an element of discretion on the court. In effect, conduct aimed at harming a company or recklessness while aware of the harm that certain conduct may cause, will be used by the court to navigate the relevant questions in this regard. Actions which could result in the presence of these grounds could include the conducting of a business by a director in competition with a company that he or she is also a director of, the misappropriation of company funds, the failure to keep proper accounting records and possibly the appropriation of financial benefits for certain directors to the exclusion of shareholders. What is important to note is that the court will take into consideration holistically the actions undertaken by a director and will have to establish whether or not such action amounts to wilful misconduct or gross negligence, thereby intimating of course that a bona fide mistake or error will not automatically result in an order for delinquency. What is required is more, namely gross negligence, wilful misconduct or a breach of trust.

Further common law rules that may influence the above-mentioned grounds (in addition to the corporate opportunity rule) may include the common law no-conflict rule and no-profit rule. In terms of the no-conflict and no-profit rule, which to an extent overlaps, a director owes a company a fiduciary duty not to place themselves in a position in which there may be a conflict between their personal interests and the interests of a company. Furthermore, profits made by a director acting in that capacity are for the company and cannot be retained by him or her, resulting in those profits having to be disgorged. It is important to note in such circumstances that ‘profit’ is not only limited to money but could be any advantage or gain experienced by a director and, furthermore, it is irrelevant whether a company could have secured the particular profit for itself.

This discussion should clarify that a director acts as an extension of a company and therefore has more strict obligations placed upon his or her shoulders when compared to an agent, for example. It goes further in that a core misuse of this position for his or her own benefit or a serious conflict can be responded to with severe consequences. Many individuals think that they can use a company and play the victim card thereby side-stepping personal liability, in legal terms, hiding behind the corporate veil. However, you can note from the above that the Companies Act does indeed have some teeth and, depending on the veracity of the grounds, a court will not and, to a certain extent, cannot hesitate when relevant grounds for delinquency are proven and if they do, may a Judge have mercy on your miscreant soul.

Trade Secrets: What’s the fun in keeping a secret… ask your lawyer what will happen if you don’t

Trade Secrets: What’s the fun in keeping a secret… ask your lawyer what will happen if you don’t

Benjamin Franklin professed that “three may keep a secret, if two of them are dead”. The same principle bodes well for trade secrets.

Do you have any idea of the practical lengths that Coca Cola goes to in order to keep its recipe for its coca cola beverage secret? For starters, the recipe is locked up in a vault, which can only be opened by a hierarchy of company resolutions and only two individuals at one time may know the actual recipe of the unmistakable flavour combination, who may never board a flight at the same time and whose identity is never made known. Although it sounds absurd, it makes absolute sense once we consider the significant value of trade secrets, as well as the brittle nature thereof.

A trade secret is seen as an asset, which falls under the umbrella of intellectual property. However, there is no distinct body of law that regulates this form of intellectual property and instead, it is enforced by means of unfair competition law, contract law and criminal law. This nomad nature of trade secrets makes it a high risk, high reward asset. The benefit in retaining the secret means infinite and unfettered use, however the concept does not prohibit a third party from unravelling the trade secret, reverse engineering it or stumbling upon it through honest means. Unlike patents, where the proprietor has an absolute right to prevent a copycat, even if the copycat stumbles on it or reverse engineers a product, a trade secret is fair game to those willing to crack the code, provided that the trade secret has not been acquired by deceptive measures.

A violation of a trade secret will be present where a competitor has been shown to have misappropriated a trade secret, that there has been a misuse of the information obtained and that the trade secret proprietor had taken all reasonable steps to maintain the secrecy of the information.

So far trade secrets seem like a viable strategy, especially seeing that it could relate to almost any information, such as source code, formulas, marketing and sales strategies, proprietary recipes, technical drawings, business plans and test data, to mention a few, however a trade secret must meet three universal requirements in order to be protectable:

  • the information must not be known in the general business circles to which it relates , or the general public for that matter;
  • the confidentiality of the relevant information must represent an economic benefit; and
  • the information must be subject to reasonable efforts made to maintain its secrecy.

In order to show that reasonable efforts have been made to maintain secrecy, consider introducing certain checks and balances to ensure that there are proactive steps being taken in this regard. Internally, you should be considering appropriate document marking and management, ensuring that employment and partnership agreements create confidentiality obligations and that your company follows clean desk and secured system policies. When dealing with external third parties, your efforts should extend a little further. Aim to include confidentiality notices on important documents which record trade secrets or confidential information, conclude non-disclosure agreements (where necessary) and confidentiality agreements with relevant parties who may have access to such information and ensure that all agreements make sufficient provision for confidentiality obligations.

Lastly, consider clear definitions in all agreements as to what is included as confidential information and ensure that each agreement provides for protective obligations as it relates to confidential information.

Trade secrets are high risk, high reward, especially seeing that the lifespan of a trade secret is as long as you can keep it out of the public, unlike patents or copyright, which offer a limited protection lifespan. In order to ensure successful retention of trade secrets, it will be important to take stock of internal and external processes used by you to protect confidential information and to include appropriate checks and balances, where necessary. As can be seen, it’s not that easy to protect a trade secret, but when it works the benefits truly outweigh the effort. If you don’t believe me, try finding the recipe for coca cola.

So, you created some IP, now what?

So, you created some IP, now what?

Irrespective of whether you support the overzealous protection of intellectual property (“IP“) or believe in a more open-source world, one thing is certain in the world of technology and IP – the greatest economic value of IP stems from its use in licensing arrangements. Whether for commercial or development reasons, the concepts remain the same. The registration of IP is only your first step in a long and complex dance with any entrepreneur, service provider or developer who you wish to collaborate with.

The unique thing about IP is that it is subject to constant development. This means that new stand-alone IP can develop from base IP, thereby attracting unique and new avenues to attract its own separate IP.

This starts to blur the lines of ownership when more than one party is involved and the failure to properly regulate these relationships can mean the death of innovation; as the once exciting venture is distilled down to a playground battle with the participants’ crying over sand in their eyes.

This blog post serves to touch on the basic legal concepts which form part of standard commercial agreements involving IP. It also highlights what you need to start thinking about to ensure that the boundaries of ownership and use are clearly set out from the get-go.

In most licensing agreements there is a distinction between ‘Background IP’ and ‘Foreground IP’. Background IP is the term used to define that IP which the respective parties own prior to performing under an agreement, or IP that is developed or conceived independently of the agreement. ‘Foreground IP’, on the other hand, is usually used to define new IP developed in terms, and during the subsistence, of an agreement. An important element of these distinctions is that not only does Background IP lead to the creation of Foreground IP, but Background IP is often linked to Foreground IP and the ability to exercise it.

These concepts exist to protect and regulate one of our most basic human tendencies derived from those even our most primary of conquerors practiced, think “Veni, Vidi, vici”. Basically, what’s mine is mine and in some cases (especially where you fail to regulate your IP properly) what’s yours is mine too.

So to avoid being the subject of someone’s Odyssey, standard agreements usually start off with a definition of these two terms, thereby creating a split between each party’s IP prior to entering the agreement and the IP created from the agreement. This allows for the protection of each party’s previously developed IP and ensuring that any new IP is regulated by the terms of the agreement.

Regarding ownership of Foreground IP, different models will be appropriate in different sets of circumstances. For example, where an agreement opts for Foreground IP to be jointly owned, administration becomes a problem as every party must be consulted and agree on any further use, development or commercial exploitation of such IP. Further frustration can be present where an agreement doesn’t regulate a breakdown, as this could in effect mean that one party could potentially hold ransom the further exploitation and commercialisation of the IP.

Another ownership option could be that such IP is rather outrightly owned by one of the parties (by means of assigning the IP rights over to one party) and for that party to grant access to the other, which may include terms of use, extent of exploitation, as well as compensation. For the more seasoned entrepreneur, the possibility exists that this model could be used to strategically transfer IP into a new entity, by means of building and developing Foreground IP in a newly established entity, based on a Background IP licencing agreement with an older entity. This, however, is a topic for another day.

This second aspect in the above examples highlights the use component of IP licensing. Irrespective of whether you are licensing your Background IP to a partner or joint venture so as to create the Foreground IP, or whether you agree that one of the parties owns the Foreground IP so as to licence it to the other, the extent of a party’s use or participation in the particular IP is regulated by a use license.

The most renowned types of licenses which you should start to become familiar with include exclusive and non-exclusive licenses. From a high level, a non-exclusive licence will potentially grant a licensor the unfettered freedom to exploit the IP without giving the other party any say, as well as the ability to allow other licensees to exploit the same IP. Whereas an exclusive licence could potentially limit both licensor and licensee from exploiting the IP.

It is crucial to understand that your unique circumstances will guide which licence is the best option for you and the onus will be on you to ensure that you are aware of the effects of such a license. Inevitably, you will have to ensure that the licence reflects what was in fact agreed to and that you are not the recipient of a very attractively constructed Trojan Horse.

This blog post was only intended to open your mind to concepts tied to the complex nature of IP. It also provided some insight into how various commercial and licensing arrangements can impact on both ownership and use of your own Background IP, as well as any Foreground IP, which you may have had a hand in creating. A competent practitioner who can truly understand your offering and your vision for the future can make this process a breeze. With years of academic and practical experience in both IP and commercial law, our team here at Dommisse Attorneys is well placed to assist you with developing your IP strategy and to translate this into a clear and succinct agreement, thereby avoiding the exchange of any unruly phrases like “Et Tu, Brute?”.