Online Business and Legal Landmines

Online Business and Legal Landmines – What to Watch Out For

Doing business online is full of opportunities. Access to a national (or international) audience, the ability to augment your ‘offline’ offering and an efficient way to spend your advertising and marketing dollars are all form ticks in the ‘pros’ column.

But while the ‘cons’ are limited, there are some basic tips and legal considerations to be aware of when you’re thinking about online business. Knowing them can help you plan properly and hopefully be aware of any avoidable (but potentially expensive) mistakes that could be made.

Intellectual Property (IP) – Domain Names

IP in online business is most likely to be your domain name, which is also known as your ‘web address’. A few things to note – just because you have registered a business name with a regulator, or even if you have a company, that doesn’t mean that you have any ‘right’ to the same web address.

So if your business is called Sunrise Furniture, and your registered company name is the same, there is nothing stopping another company buying the domain name ‘sunrisefurniture.com.au’. A competitor could even buy the domain name then redirect anyone who clicked on it to their own website, potentially costing you a customer.

In Australia domain names are ‘rented’ rather than ‘owned’. That also means that you’ll want to keep on top of when any renewals are due to avoid any dramas with re-registering a name if it lapses.

7 Customer Refund Rules That Every Business Owner Should Know

7 Customer Refund Rules That Every Business Owner Should Know

Hopefully, if your business is one which occasionally has to refund a customer, you have all the rules related to refunds in place, and therefore not require your commercial lawyer to represent you in a court case, due to a customer is suing you for a refund.

These rules are in place to not only protect customers but to protect businesses too, however, if they are not known or misunderstood, it can cause either party to feel they have been wronged by the other.

We have outlined the basics of each rule below, but please do not consider what we have written as legal text. If you have any queries about refunds, and their legal implications, please consult your commercial lawyers.

Rule #1: A customer is not entitled to a replacement or a cash refund, simply because they change their mind, and no longer want the item they have purchased. You might choose to have an exchange policy, but there is no legal obligation for you to refund because of a change of mind.

Rule #2: When the goods or services that you have sold the customer have a problem, then the customer is entitled, either to a replacement, or a refund. A replacement can be a like-for-like, or an alternative, if the customer is happy to accept it.

Protecting The Intellectual Property Rights Of Your Business

Protecting The Intellectual Property Rights Of Your Business

Many businesses, large and small, are creative, and by that, we are not just talking about those in the arts or fashion industries. Anything a business creates from a product to its logo can and should be protected, and this is something that your commercial lawyers can advise you on.

The umbrella under which designs, new technology, written material, artwork, branding, and so on can be placed is called intellectual property. Just as with any physical property you own, intellectual property can be stolen, and when that happens you have legal recourse which can be instigated by your commercial lawyer.

You could try to do so yourself but given the complexities of the law relating to intellectual property, you want the experts on this in order to ensure that your rights are protected properly. Part of those complexities is that different types of intellectual property are protected under different laws and knowing which is which, is something every business owner should know.

Whilst we are not going to turn anyone into a lawyer with the information that follows, at least we can give you a better understanding as to which protection you need for each of the three main areas of intellectual property.

How To Ensure Your Company's Confidential Data Is Kept Secure

How To Ensure Your Company’s Confidential Data Is Kept Secure

Whilst the internet and other technological advances have brought many advantages and transformed how we have done business over the past few decades, they are not without their downsides. One is data breaches and the stealing of private information, and undoubtedly many a business owner has made frantic phone call to their commercial lawyer asking for legal assistance after realising they have been a victim of data theft.

This is undetectable because of the penalties for business owners who fail to ensure that any confidential information which they hold for clients, customers, business contacts, and indeed their employees can be severe. There is also the fact that around the world the rules and the laws relating to data protection are becoming increasingly stringent.

One example of that is the European Union whose General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) which were implemented in 2018, meant that it was not just companies within the EU had to get their house order, but any company from around the world who wanted to trade within the EU market of almost 450 million people, had to meet those standards too.

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