Business briefs

Mānuka honey trade mark disputes

An ongoing dispute for the MANUKA HONEY trade mark demonstrates the importance of identifying your intellectual property (IP) and protecting that IP in the markets in which you trade.

The Mānuka Honey Appellation Society (MHAS) in New Zealand has applied to register a certification trade mark for MANUKA HONEY, which would limit the use of the term ‘Mānuka Honey’ in New Zealand to strictly New Zealand-based products[3].

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Restructuring your business

Consultation is key

New year, new you – new business structure? Restructuring is common in the new year when business owners feel refreshed and ready to take on the next challenge. The process however, is often shrouded in uncertainty (and stress) for employees.

Following the correct procedure for a restructure will allow your employees time to feel heard and to ensure decisions are made in good faith. They need to know your plans so they can ask the right questions and get the required support during a restructuring process.

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Shareholdings for employees or family members

Rewarding value and increasing engagement

Bringing a key employee or a family member into your business by offering them a shareholding can be a powerful motivator and a significant indicator of how much you value their contributions to your success. However, the process should be done carefully with a robust shareholders’ agreement and company constitution, as there are many facets of the company-shareholder relationship that must be agreed upon to ensure a harmonious future between yourself and the new shareholders.

The circle of trust

First and foremost, your shareholders should be people whose values are aligned with those of your business. Even if they are minority shareholders, there are circumstances in which you will have to rely on their good judgement. The easiest way to prevent disagreements down the road is to carefully consider their business sense, character and propensity for confrontation before embarking on shareholder discussions.

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Smooth sailing this summer

Avoid common mistakes when employing summer staff

With summer fast approaching, many businesses will be hiring temporary staff to meet their needs over the busy summer months. Taking on temporary staff can throw up some tricky issues. Employers often are uncertain about what employment agreement is appropriate for temporary staff and how their holiday entitlements should be met. We explore the pros and cons of different kinds of agreements for temporary employees and provide guidance on their annual leave and holiday pay entitlements.

In general, there are two types of employment agreements that can be used for temporary employees:

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Business Briefs

Eminem – importance of IP indemnities in agreements

The Court of Appeal[1] has ruled that the National Party must pay Eight Mile Style, the production company of prominent rapper Eminem, damages of $225,000 for breaching the copyright of Eminem’s song ‘Lose Yourself’. This decision highlights the importance of including intellectual property (IP) indemnity clauses in a contract.

An IP indemnity is designed to protect against loss for a breach of another’s IP rights. In this case, the National Party had bought the track ‘Eminem Esque’ to use in its 2014 election campaign advertisements. It relied on assurances from the licensor that it was not breaching copyright. The court found that using the track was, indeed, a breach of copyright.

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Employing people with a past

How the clean slate legislation works

Employing staff is never a simple process. Finding people with the right skills and personality to fit into your team can be challenging. Today’s employers go through a rigorous process when recruiting; most believe it’s better to put time into getting the right person than to have to deal with the consequences if things don’t work out.

One aspect of all staff recruitment is background checks on applicants. This is more important in some roles than others.

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Are restraint of trade clauses worth the bother?

Have an expertly-drafted agreement

Restraint of trade clauses are common in the sale and purchase of a business and in some employment agreements. In a business context, they offer protection to a buyer who has acquired a business and prevent the seller from directly competing against the buyer. A restraint provision in an employment context is designed to protect the employer’s business interests when key employees leave. There’s a general perception that these clauses are difficult to enforce, so why bother?

Non-competition restraint – sale of a business

The purpose of a non-competition restraint in regard to the sale of a business is to ensure that the purchaser is able to retain the benefits of the business they have purchased including existing and potential customers. It prevents the seller from establishing, working for or being involved in a similar business. Non-competition restraints are routinely used in the sale and purchase of businesses.

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Resource management system review

Complex task ahead

In contrast to the review of the NAIT system that we discussed in our previous post, it will be challenging for the government to get a consensus on the recently announced review of the resource management system. The four leading political parties have differing views on how to manage resource management issues. In particular, the Coalition government has three partners – all of which have somewhat contrasting policy positions.

The review will be undertaken by a resource management review panel made up of people with skills in relevant areas. The panel is chaired by Tony Randerson QC, a retired Judge of the Court of Appeal. Additional members will be appointed in the coming months.

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Postscript

Claiming legitimate business expenses

With the recent media coverage about the claiming of business expenses, we thought it timely to remind you to always keep in mind what expenses are tax-deductible and what are not.

expenses

If you’re self-employed, there is very useful information here at Business NZ: https://bit.ly/31WdFgS

For those of you who work in a corporate environment, your organisation will no doubt have an expenses policy to ensure all claims are legitimate.

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The importance of good recordkeeping

Risk of hefty penalties if you don’t

There are plenty of war stories about recordkeeping blunders. Think of offices crammed with paper, ‘lost’ documents, fireplace filing systems and online voids.

Section 194(1) of the Companies Act 1993 requires boards to keep correct accounting records. Records are supposed to ‘speak for themselves’[1] and allow the company’s financial position to be determined at any time with reasonable accuracy. Failure to keep proper records can badly hurt your business.

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