Standard Terms of Engagement
This document sets out our standard terms of engagement, which will apply except where we have otherwise agreed with you in writing. You accept these standard terms by continuing to instruct us. If you have any concerns please contact the Director responsible for providing our services to you.
Henry Hughes is the trading name of Henry Hughes IP Ltd, a privately owned, limited liability, patent attorney firm. We provide a full range of services related to the protection and enforcement of patents, trade marks, registered designs, copyright and plant variety rights in Australia, New Zealand, and globally through our network of trusted attorneys. Henry Hughes is a registered incorporated, Trans-Tasman patent attorney. All of our Directors and members of our staff are either registered Trans-Tasman patent attorneys, registered Australian trade mark attorneys, enrolled as a Barrister and Solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand or combinations of the above. The individual qualifications and affiliations of our professional staff can be found on our website.
From time to time we will advise that a matter has been referred to Henry Hughes Law. Henry Hughes Law is an associated law firm specialising in intellectual property. It conducts appeals to the courts from decision of the Commissioners of Patents and Designs, and Trade Marks,and litigation in intellectual property disputes. Henry Hughes Law is a privately owned limited liability company and has separate terms of engagement available on request.
On receipt of instructions, the matter will be allocated to a Director of Henry Hughes ("the Responsible Director"). Although work may be allocated to other individuals depending on expertise and technical specialisation, the Responsible Director will review each piece of work and retain responsibility for that matter. Any queries relating to a particular matter can be directed to the Responsible Director.
Different matters may be allocated to different Directors depending on the nature of the work and the expertise and technical specialisation required. If not otherwise identified, the Responsible Director for a specific matter can be identified as the signatory to any email or letter or other communication.
Competence, Client Care, Obligations and Complaints
Only you may rely upon our advice. Our advice and obligations do not extend to any third party unless first agreed with us in writing.
Where we have received our instructions by way of an agent for a client, our advice and obligations extend to the client. However, we are to be taken as having satisfied any requirements by delivering advice and/or information to the agent. In all cases our relationship is with the party providing us with instructions, and, unless arranged to the contrary, that party will be responsible for paying us. As used herein the terms "you" and "your" refer to the client and/or instructing party in accordance with the above.
Our acceptance of your instructions confirms we have both the legal and technical competence to provide the services, either individually or across the firm. From time to time we involve other individuals within the firm if their knowledge or experience is more suited to the matter at hand. If at any time we feel the matter extends beyond our competency we will let you know.
Client Care and Service
Upon accepting your instructions we will:
- Protect your interests and act for you free from compromising influences or loyalties.
- Discuss with you your objectives and how they should best be achieved.
- Act competently, in a timely way, and in accordance with instructions received and arrangements made.
- Provide you with information about the work to be done, who will do it and the way the services will be provided.
- Protect your privacy and ensure appropriate confidentiality.
- Treat you fairly, respectfully and without discrimination.
- Give you clear information and advice.
- Keep you informed about the work being done and advise you when it is completed.
- Invoice you regularly.
Henry Hughes IP and our attorneys are regulated by the Trans-Tasman IP Attorneys Board and are required to meet the requirements of the Code of Conduct for Trans-Tasman Patent and Trade Marks Attorneys 2018. Further information on the Code of Conduct and Trans-Tasman IP Attorneys Board can be found here.
Any complaints, about any aspect of our service, should be raised initially with the Responsible Director. If you prefer not to raise the matter with the Responsible Director, please feel free to contact any of the other Directors listed on our website.
A formal complaint can be made to the Trans-Tasman Professional Standards Board. Information about this procedure can be found here.
We hold professional indemnity insurance which meets our professional obligations. Further information regarding our professional indemnity insurance is available on request.
Form of communication
We prefer communication by email. All of our email addresses are monitored even in the absence of a particular individual. Any email communication should be sent to the Responsible Director and can also be sent to any other person at our firm involved with the matter. If a Responsible Director has not yet been assigned to a matter, emails can be sent to our general email address.
Complete and Timely Communication
We will keep you informed of due dates and of any requirements by those dates. We require timely instructions in order to act effectively on your behalf.
In order to advise you efficiently and correctly, we require full and timely disclosure of the circumstances of the IP matters on which you instruct us, including updates of relevant developments as soon as possible.
We take conflicts of interest and our loyalty to our clients seriously and will conduct a conflict check on any new instructions you provide us.
Further information on conflicts of interest can be found in the Code of Conduct for Trans-Tasman Patent and Trade Marks Attorneys 2018.
Conflict of Interest
If a legal conflict of interest arises in relation to any matter we will contact and consult with all parties as soon as possible.
Acting for Competitors
We may accept instructions from other clients or potential clients operating in the same or competing markets and whose commercial interests conflict with your own (commercial conflict), provided those instructions:
- Are not substantially related to any active matter on which we are currently acting for you; and
- Do not involve or would not be assisted by confidential information we have obtained from you.
Confidentiality and Personal Information
We will hold in confidence all information concerning you or your affairs that we acquire during the course of acting for you. We will not disclose any of this information to any other person except:
- as expressly or impliedly agreed by you; or
- to the extent required or permitted by law.
Personal Information and Privacy
In the course of our engagement we will receive and hold certain personal information about you. We will use that information to carry out the services for which you have engaged us and to make contact with you about issues we believe may be of interest to you. Provision of personal information is voluntary but if you do not provide full information this may impact on our ability to provide the services.
You authorise us to disclose, in the normal course of performing the services for which you have engaged us, such personal information to third parties for the purpose of providing the services for which you have engaged us and any other purposes set out in these terms of engagement.
We may disclose your name and address to third parties such as credit agencies to perform a credit reference or to undertake credit management or collection processes if it is reasonable to do so.
The information we collect and hold about you will be kept at our offices and/or at secure file storage sites (including electronic file storage sites) elsewhere. If you are an individual, you have the right to access and correct this information. If you require access, please contact the Responsible Director.
Documents, Records and Information
We will keep a record of documents which we receive or create on your behalf on the following basis:
We may keep a record electronically and destroy originals (except where the existence of an original is legally important).
At any time, we may dispose of documents which are duplicates, or which are trivial (such as emails which do not contain substantive information), or documents which belong to us.
We are not obliged to retain documents or copies where you have requested that we provide them to you or to another person and we have done so, although we are entitled to retain copies for our own records if we wish to do so.
We will provide to you on request copies or originals (at our option) of all documents to which you are entitled under the Privacy Act 1993 or any other law. We may charge you our reasonable costs for doing this.
Where we hold a document that belongs to a third party you will need to provide us with that party's written authority to uplift or obtain a copy of that document.
We may, at our option, return documents (either in hard or electronic form) to you rather than retain them. If we choose to do this, we will do so at our expense.
We own copyright in all documents or work we create in the course of performing the services for which you have engaged us. We will grant you a licence to use and copy the documents as you see fit for your own personal or commercial use. However, you may not permit any third party to copy, adapt or use the documents without our written permission.
Transfer of Files
In the event of the termination of our engagement in relation to a matter or matters, we will transfer files to yourself or a nominated third party. However, we reserve the right to withhold transfer of the file until payment of our final invoice in relation to a matter.
Fees, Disbursements and Payments
Our fees will be fair and reasonable and will take into account the following reasonable fee factors:
- the time and labour expended on the matter;
- the skill, specialised knowledge and responsibility required by the matter;
- the urgency of the matter, including any deadlines imposed by you;
- the result achieved;
- the degree of risk assumed by us;
- our standard fees for performing certain services;
- the market fee for similar services;
- any fee estimates;
- the reasonable costs of running our practice.
We will not usually charge for general office services such as photocopying, printing and telephone. However, where a matter requires a large amount of unavoidable printing or photocopying for which printing/photocopying will be charged at 15c per page and will be separately identified on our invoice.
We will pass on to you the fees and other disbursements incurred on your behalf, including official fees, fees for external advice from advisors (such as barristers and expert witnesses), travel costs and courier fees. Disbursements will be itemised on our invoice.
Any applicable GST will be passed on to you and will be itemised separately on our invoice.
From time to time we may provide estimates for a particular matter. These estimates will be made to the best of our ability and based on our experience, but should not be regarded as a firm quote. Where our fees are likely to extend significantly beyond the estimate, we will endeavour to advise this before exceeding the estimate.
Estimates provided in currencies other than New Zealand dollars are for convenience purposes only and our actual charges may vary due to currency fluctuation or for other reasons.
You may request an estimate from us at any time for any matter, or any part of a matter.
We will send invoices at various stages throughout the matter.
We invoice, and prefer payment, in New Zealand dollars. If payment is received in a currency other than New Zealand dollars, we reserve the right to recover costs associated with the currency exchange. We expect any payment to be free of charges.
The party providing us the instructions which resulted in a charge is responsible for paying us, even if there is an expectation of reimbursement by someone else, or if we have been instructed to send our invoices to someone else for payment. Where, subsequent to the instructions being provided, we are instructed to communicate or take future instructions from another party, the original party who provided the instructions will remain responsible for paying us.
Our invoices are payable by the due date shown on the invoice and in accordance with the methods specified therein. Our normal terms of payment are 30 days net. Where an invoice is not paid within 60 days we may:
- require interest to be paid on any amount which is more than 14 days overdue, calculated at the rate of 5% above the overdraft rate indicated by our firm's main trading bank;
- stop work on any matters in respect of which we are providing services to you;
- require an additional payment of fees in advance or other security before recommencing work;
- recover from you in full any costs we incur in seeking to recover the amounts from you, including our own fees and the fees of any collection agency;
- where the work is performed on instructions from an agent for a client, contact the client informing them of the failure to pay and request payment from the client direct.
Payment in Advance
From time to time we may ask for payment in advance in order to cover, or partly cover, anticipated fees, costs and disbursements. We may delay or refuse to continue with any work until payment is received.
In the event the payment in advance exceeds the actual fees, costs and disbursements, we will promptly refund the remainder, unless an alternative arrangement is agreed to.
Thank you for your instructions. We look forward to working with you.