An incredible idea and one that the team at Lawdit are having weekly discussions about over a cup of coffee. The idea was to give simple but effective professional opinion from an intellectual property perspective regarding the episodes of the BBCÂs Dragons Den.
We have decided to join this idea and write our own articles, starting with Episode 1 of the current 16th series of the show.
Trade mark essential
A highlight from the first episode in the series was the entrance of the first entrepreneur to enter to present a stomach turner of a pitch by Sam Piri. The camera panned round to an intriguing sight which was what appeared to be a body lying on a table covered by a sheet. It turns out that the 29-year-old who is the founder of the ITAE Group was once a school science teacher and had an idea that he could both teach people and entertain groups about the human body by dissecting a artificial human body that uses real animal organs for effect. This meant he wanted Â£90,000 in return for 5% of his business that appears to be doing very well already.
The first legal question that springs to mind is whether the brand which he has named VIVIT is protected to ensure that no one else can steal his brand or pass themselves of as him for their own profit let alone standing out from the crowd to show strength and professionalism. This would be done by filing an application to register the brand as a trade mark. Â On investigation into the brand, it can be seen that Mr Piri has registered marks VIVIT under TM number UK00003284763 and ANATOMY LAB LIVE under TM number UK00003254316. If anyone attempts to use this trade mark or relatively similar, Sam Piri has the right to oppose the use of the mark which could ultimately mean that person having to pay damages and stop using the mark or domain name etc.
Every business will start comparatively small and most tend to not consider registering a trade mark but it is essential to the protection of a brand and will help the owner of the mark rest easier in the knowledge that they have a unique brand that no one else can take from them.
It is sometimes difficult to follow certain issues that are raised in the den, especially when they are of a legal or contractual nature. One that is frequently brought up throughout a pitch is a non-disclosure agreement that an entrepreneur has taken agreed upon. An example of this was seen in the den this week when Rupesh Thomas and his wife Alex were struggling to move forward with their pitch after Deborah insisted they disclose their agreed cost price of their iced tea product with Sainsburys. It was claimed their confidentiality agreement with Sainsburys meant they could not disclose this without risking their deal with the supermarket giant to be dropped. It is very important that before finally disclosing or even not disclosing information before of an assumed non-disclosure agreement believed to be in place, that a second opinion is obtained by a solicitor. This may confirm an agreement or even negate the contract because of certain unfair clauses within it.
Stay with us for our next report on Dragons Den from episode 2 of the 16th series.