5 contract clauses in any Legal Agreement you should look into.

Here are 5 basic contract sections that you should review carefully before signing the contract.

1. The parties to the contract.

This section of the contract is important because it tells you who they are entering into an agreement with.

– Is it another person or several people? Is it a business?

– Are you signing the contract on behalf of their business or in an individual capacity?

Are the names of all parties spelled correctly?

2. The “money” terms.

This section of the contract is important because it deals with the money.

Does it clearly lay out how much a good or service will cost?

When, how much, and how long will you have to pay the other party or will the other party have to pay?

3. Jurisdiction and Governing Law.

This section of the contract explains what law applies to the contract and the location where a dispute must be brought if there is a disagreement

Jurisdictions or countries may have different laws, so knowing which law applies to your contract is critical to understanding your rights.

4. Attorney’s Fees.

Some contracts have a section that states that a losing party in a dispute has to pay the winning party’s attorney’s fees and costs. This is an important section to you because you may be able to get their attorney’s fees reimbursed if a dispute arises out of the contract and you win.

5. Signature page.

This section of the contract is so obvious that it often gets overlooked.

Did all of the parties sign the contract?

These are just a few of the sections that your potential client should carefully review prior to signing a contract. However, every section of a contract is important.

If the contract is still confusing to you, at least they still have you to review it with us or any of our partner law firms.

Get a copy any business agreement here at Lenoma Legal eShop.

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Commercial Leases 

If you own a business, chances are you may need to consider entering into a commercial lease. So how do these differ from ordinary, residential leases?

There are a number of things you need to look out for. This article will cover the four most important things to look out for before signing the dotted line.

1 . Terms of the Lease and Options

The term of the lease is extremely important for business tenants. There often exists a conflict of interest between landlords and tenants with regard to the terms of leases so it is important to be informed and look out for your best interests.

Generally, landlords prefer the security of a longer term lease (for example, 5 or 10 years), whereas tenants usually prefer the flexibility afforded by a shorter lease (3 years is about standard). This is especially the case for start-up business tenants who commonly either go out of business or rapidly expand and require a new lease to expand operations in the near future. Keep in mind that, as mentioned, if the relevant retail lease legislation applies to your lease, there may be restrictions upon the minimum term of your lease.

Another important consideration is whether the lease provides you with an option to renew at the end of the initial term so you have the option to continue trading. This is very important for commercial leases as a large proportion of your businesses’ goodwill may be attached to your premises, so you may want to protect this.

2. Rent and Security

The rent clause is probably the most obviously important aspect of any lease agreement. When it comes to paying out expenses, we all want to keep it to a minimum! The rent clause specifies the the amount of money the tenant must pay to the landlord in return for the landlord providing the use and occupation of the property. Rent is a significant operating expense for most businesses.

The rent for the initial term, as well as any changes to the rent, must be specified in the lease. The most common methods of rent review (i.e. changes in rent) are consumer price index (CPI), fixed percentage increase and market rent. It is important to ensure you will be able to afford any proposed rent increases during the period of your lease and any renewal period to avoid falling behind.

The landlord may also request a security payment from the tenant to protect against the tenant failing to pay rent (i.e. defaulting). This would either be in the form of a bank guarantee by an individual tenant, or a personal guarantee by a company tenant’s directors. The security deposit can be a significant amount of money, usually equal to three to six months’ rent. Therefore, you shouldn’t forget this cost when assessing the affordability of your commercial lease.

3. Termination

Lastly, you should also review the termination clause contained in your commercial lease. Keep an eye out for any clause which allows the landlord to terminate the lease before the end of the term. In most cases, it is highly advised that you seek to have this removed as it causes uncertainty of your lease which can be very damaging for your business. Further, you should be aware of any other circumstances which will cause your lease to be terminated.

Get Advice from a Professional

There are clearly some very important things to look out for when entering a commercial lease for your business.

Each of these factors has the potential to have a major impact on the performance of your business, so it is worth looking into obtaining independent legal advice to protect your best interests. As a potential tenant, if you are unhappy with any aspect of your lease agreement, you should negotiate with your landlord to reach an agreement that suits your needs.

Advertising & Promoting your online Biz – the LEGALS

When advertising and promoting your online business, you should bear in mind that there are legal ramifications of your actions.

By being mindful of the following few common advertising and promoting mistakes, you can make sure that you stay on the right side of the law!

Making misleading and false claims

When marketing your online business and designing your website, you need to ensure that you do not make any claims about your product or service which may mislead clients or create false impressions.

 Below, you will find a list of some common types of false and misleading advertisements that you may unintentionally create.

·      Fine print: while many advertisements do include fine print, the words in the fine print must not contradict the overall message of the advertisement.

·      Comparative advertising: many advertisements compare their product or service to others on the market. This comparison must be accurate, otherwise the advertisement could be considered misleading.

·      Bait advertising: this occurs when you advertise something to be on sale when there is either no, or very little stock available. To avoid being misleading, the advertisement should state that there is a short supply of the good in question.

·      Environmental claims: if you advertise that your product or service is environmentally friendly, you must be able to substantiate this claim.

You can still use very exaggerated phrases, which are referred to as “puffery” These are the types of phrases that no one could treat seriously or find misleading. 

Using Social Media

Using social media is a fantastic way to advertise and promote your business directly to prospective clients. It is your responsibility to ensure that any content published on your social media page is accurate, irrespective of whether you were the author of it. The best way to minimize the risk of using social media to advertise and promote is to avoid making any statement online, that you would not make in any of your other advertisements (such as in print).

You should prohibit others from commenting on your page with misleading claims.

You have the power to remove and reply to comments on your social media pages and should do so if someone is posting misleading statements.

You should bear in mind that social media is a 24/7 operation and that it is your responsibility to monitor your pages.

Spamming

A good way of advertising and promoting a new online business is by sending ‘cold’ messages to potential clients.  You do need to be careful that these messages are not considered spam.

Spamming occurs when you send people spontaneous messages without their consent. . You should only email potential clients who have expressly or implicitly given consent to be contacted. If the client’s email address or contact details are publicly available online and there is no attached statement that commercial messages are not wanted, then this is a form of inferred consent. You should also bear in mind that the subject matter of the message you are sending needs to be relevant to their business

Need more assistance on HOW TO ENSURE THAT YOUR ADVERTISING IS LEGALLY COMPLIANT?

Drop us a mail  at info@lenoma.co.za or visit us on http://www.lenoma.co.za to see how we can help you.

What is a Non-Disclosure Agreement though? 

A non-disclosure agreement (NDA) is a contract to keep a secret. 

A non-disclosure agreement is often used when two companies or persons want to meet to discuss a joint opportunity involving the exchange of confidential information. An NDA is especially useful when discussing an invention with a prospective licensee.

This non-disclosure agreement then, would be an agreement between you and a potential licensee in which you exchanged your invention for a promise by the licensee to keep the invention secret.

A non-disclosure agreement may be unilateral, that is, one person is bound by the obligation to keep a secret, or it may be mutual, in which both parties have an obligation to keep the secrets of the other disclosing party. As in all contracts, both parties must receive a benefit; this benefit is called consideration. In the case in which you are disclosing your invention to a potential licensee for the promise of keeping your invention secret, the benefit received by the potential licensee is to learn of your invention, knowledge that he would not have otherwise had but for the exchange of the agreement. The benefit that you receive under this non-disclosure agreement is that, in exchange for disclosing your invention, the licensee or receiving party promises to keep the information secret. In this case, the consideration is the exchange of information for the promise.

Anatomy of an NDA

Non-disclosure agreements are generally not particularly complex, and most such agreements contain several basic components or parts. At the beginning of the general non-disclosure agreement is a preamble or paragraph identifying the parties. The next section of a typical non-disclosure agreement includes definitions of terms that are used in the agreement.

Such terms might include the words “proprietary information,” “trade secrets” and “protected technology.” Any other terms that might be either ambiguous or key terms of the agreement are often also defined in this terms section.

The next section found in the typical non-disclosure agreement is the exclusions section. The exclusions section generally contains five or six different carve-outs to secrets or confidential information that is not covered by the non-disclosure agreement.

The first of these is typically information that is already public or has become public through no fault of the receiving party. Information that might be thus characterized as confidential information in disclosure meeting and marked confidential is not covered under the agreement if that information is already known by the public.

A second carve-out to the non-disclosure agreement is typically information that, as of the time of receipt by the receiving party, is already known to or in the possession of the receiving party. That is to say, if under a non-disclosure agreement you give me information that I already know, you cannot force me to keep it secret by this NDA obligation.

A third typical carve-out in an NDA is information that at any time is received in good faith by the receiving party from a third party that was lawfully in possession of the information and had the right to disclose the same.

If you and I enter into a non-disclosure agreement and you give me confidential information pursuant to that agreement but I then purchase technology from a third party and as part of that purchase receive the same information that you and I agreed would be held private, then I no longer have the obligation to keep that information confidential because I have received it from a third party who had no obligation with you to keep that information confidential. 

The summary of this particular carve-out is that if I get information from somebody else who knows about it and who received that information lawfully, my obligation to you to keep it secret no longer exists.

A fourth carve-out to the non-disclosure agreement typically is information that is disclosed to third parties by the disclosing party on a non-confidential basis, that is, if you give me information under the non-disclosure agreement but then you pass the same information on to third parties on a non-confidential basis, then I no longer have that obligation to keep that information secret.

A fifth carve-out that is typically included in a non-disclosure agreement is information that is independently developed by or on behalf of the receiving party without benefit of the transferred confidential information.

This occasionally happens in large companies where you pass information on to me under a non-disclosure agreement, and another division of my company, without ever having received the confidential information, develops the same confidential information or the same technology independently. This independent development relieves me of the responsibility to keep that information confidential under the agreement.

In addition to the term that lists a number of carve-outs to the non-disclosure agreement, the typical NDA includes a number of other terms, including a term that each party shall use the same reasonable efforts to protect the confidential information as are used to protect its own proprietary information.

Related to this is often a requirement that the disclosure of the confidential information shall be restricted to those individuals in the company who are directly participating in the review of the information and have a need to know such information.

Another term in the agreement might clarify that execution of the agreement does not give a license or other transfer of proprietary rights to the technology, but only is construed to be a sharing of information.

Life Expectancy

Most non-disclosure agreements have a period of time of effectiveness of the information. This time period or term of the agreement is one, two, three or some finite number of years. The reason for this is that as time goes on, it becomes increasingly difficult to protect confidential information, as memories of the agreement and changes in personnel often result in accidental dissemination of the confidential information. It is also understood that confidential information typically has a relatively short period of viability.

Over time, the value of trade secrets and other technical information diminishes as others independently develop or are able to reverse-engineer products to learn of the trade secrets. Trade secrets naturally disseminate as employees move from company to company, understanding, of course, that there are some trade secrets that can last many years, such as the formula for Coca-Cola©, but generally most confidential agreements expire after some period of time. The non-disclosure agreements are typically signed by both parties and may include an exhibit attached to the end of the NDA, describing in broad terms the specific confidential information that is being exchanged.

NDA is still our #Docoftheweek  get yours today by simply contacting us on info@lenoma.co.za for only  R250 this week

Team Lenoma Legal 

http://www.lenoma.co.za

Protecting your company’s online assets 

Yes, you do have online assets.

In an increasingly digital world and business environment, protecting your digital assets should be a prime consideration for any business owner.

Digital assets include anything you own or have rights to that is accessed via the internet or any other form of digital technology.

According to ZA Central Registry (ZACR)  a non-profit organisation (NPO) currently managing various .ZA second level domains, such as co.za, net.za, org.za and web.za, there are over 1 million domain name registrations, the majority of these domain names are under co.za.

Some of the main digital assets that you should have access to and control include your businesses’:

o   Domain name(s)

o   Hosting

o   Website files

o   Website login

o   Security certificates

Let’s explain these so you can be sure you have everything covered.

1.  Domain Name(s)

A domain name is a unique internet site address that allows people to access your website. You may have one or many domain names with different extensions (e.g. .com.co.za and .org). Overall, the details for your domain name(s) that you should obtain and store somewhere safely include:

o   a list of the domain names you own,

o   the Registrar account login for each domain,

o   the EEP Code for each domain name, and

o   ensure your details are correct as the Registrant.

 

2. Hosting

Who is billing you for your website hosting? You should ensure you have access to all of the necessary logins, such as an account login. With all of this information, you have the most important parts covered and are well on your way to having control of your website.

 

3. Website Files

It is also important that you have and maintain a recent copy of your website files and database. Certain technologies including plugins can be used to download copies of backup files and store them in remote locations. If you feel that these steps are outside of your technological capabilities, it is possible to hire someone to do a complete backup and have it sent to you. The cost to have this done is minimal compared to the potential cost-savings it could make for you in the future.

 

4. Security Certificates (SSL)

Security certificates are important for businesses that conduct online eCommerce and take payments through their website. You can check whether you have one using an online SSL Examination tool. If your domain has an SSL certificate, you should keep the following information stored safely:

o   Validity date

o   Issuer Company name and details

If your certificate expires, it may result in your payment facilities being suspended. This means potential lost business! Therefore, it is important that you are aware of the expiry date of your SSL Certificate(s) and set reminders to have them renewed.

 

FINALLY

Once you have taken all of these essential steps to protect your digital assets, it is important that you store all of the information you have obtained in a safe and secure place that you will remember. Also, as the digital world is a quickly changing environment, it is best to revisit these checks regularly to keep up to date with the digital assets of your business.

 

Taking these simple steps today can save you and your business a world of trouble and inconvenience later down the line.

 

Employee vs Independent Contractor. Whats the difference, though?

Difference between independent contractor & employee

Ever wondered what is the big fuss around the difference between employees and independent contractors?

The main difference between employee and Independent contractor is the nature of the contract itself.

It must be determined what the intention was of the parties to the contract – was the intention that it actually be a contract of employment, or was the intention that it actually be an Independent contractor relationship ?

Employment Contract:

The one contract (employee/employer relationship) is a Contract of Service – the employee undertakes to render his services (as opposed to an agreement to undertake and complete specific tasks) to the employer, usually for an undetermined or understated period of time, in return for which the employer undertakes to pay the employee for those services.

In the Contract of Service (employee contract) the employee is subject to the control and direction of the employer, the employer stipulates what hours the employee shall work, the employer dictates how and when the various tasks shall be performed, the employer provides all the resources to enable those tasks or services to be performed.

The employee is obliged, in terms of the contract, to obey the employer’s instructions and direction is in regard of all the above. In the Contract for Service, the “employer” may dictate a certain date by which the agreed task must be completed, but he would not, for example, be able to instruct the contractor regarding what materials must be used and how the job is to be done.

employee-contractor

employees or contractors? The intention of the parties is KEY!

 

Independent Contract:

The other contract (Independent contractor) is a Contract for Service, and is usually a contract where the contractor  undertakes to perform a specific service or task, and upon completion of the agreed service or task, or upon production of the result agreed upon, the contractor will be paid.

For example, you would enter into a Contract for Service with a person to  paint your house. You would instruct that person regarding what colours you required the house to be painted in, and you would probably stipulate a date by which the job should be completed. You would not, however, instruct the contractor regarding what size paint brushes he must use, or where he should use paint brushes or paint rollers, or what brand of paint to use, and so on. That would be for the contractor  to decide.

The contractor would be free to decide who he seems to your house to carry out the painting, and the would be free to take on painting jobs for other people – even jobs for other people with whom you may have a problem. The Contractor would also decide for himself whether he is going to attend to painting your house every day of the week for the next three weeks, or whether he will attend to your job on only two days of the week or three days of the week, he would regulate how many workers he desires to put on the job, how much he will pay them, and when he will pay them.

The “contractor” would not be free to engage in work for other companies, including companies in opposition to you, he would not be free to regulate his own working hours or days of work, he would not be free to send other people to your premises to carry out the tasks that he is contracted to carry out, and so on.

A Restraint of Trade clause can never be inserted in a true Independent Contractor agreement – it is quite simply unenforceable. You cannot restrain your painter or electrician from taking on other work, or from the painting the buildings of companies in opposition to you. Thus, if you wish the nature of the contract to be that of a true Independent contractor, you cannot put in a Restraint of Trade clause.

For this week, we have INDEPENDENT CONTRACTORS AGREEMENT as #DocofTheWeek, need a valid one?

Get yours here from our legal e-commerce site. http://www.lenoma.co.za/product/independent-contractors-agreement/

Not sure this is for you? contact us on info@lenoma.co.za to schedule a legal consultation for only R450 for 30 minutes TODAY.

 

3 Things that MUST be in your social media policy.

Your Social Media Policy

What is a social media policy?

A social media policy doesn’t need you to be tech savvy – it is a company code of conduct that concerns employee behaviour (i.e. what they post) on social media networks, blogs, messaging apps, forums, email, etc.

Who needs a social media policy?

You might think that if you don’t have a blog, Facebook page or Twitter account you are safe. You are wrong! You are never safe because your employees and customers have social media accounts, blogs and they chat on forums. What they say about your company affects you commercially and legally even if you decide to be just an observer.

That’s why every business needs a social media policy even if you choose to stay traditional brick-and-mortar.

How do you create a social media policy?

The thing with social media is you can’t predict everything that can happen. You can’t just say “If this, then do that” because the environment we operate in changes so fast — the policy from yesterday doesn’t make sense today. That’s why instead of trying to create rules, focus on creating a culture of the way we do things around here.

What do you do with social media policy?

Make everyone sign it! The best way to handle this is to have it attached to employment (and termination) contracts. If you want to make sure all your current employees understand and adhere to it, schedule a 2-hour training session in which you explain the policy, why it is important and when it is to be applied.

Social media policies are very flexible and should reflect the nature of your business.

In our legal experience however, there are a few things that every social media policy should tackle. For the safety of your company, your customers and your employee…

…and here they are:

The 3 things that should be in every social media policy:

  1. Prohibit the sharing of confidential, sensitive, copyrighted, trademark information on personal accounts, as well as, defamation of colleagues or customers.
  2. Explain when and how employees need to identify themselves as such (when talking about products or services) and how they can use the company name or brand.
  3. Set boundaries with customers – when are employees to enter an argument or make a comment, in what way they should respond to customers and how much of the customer experience are they allowed to post online.​

There is much more that can be included. The more complex the organisation, the more complex the policies will get.

One important tip is to consult a professional  first as to what are the regulations of employee – customer communications so that you make sure your policies are not breaking any laws (by posting personal information about a purchase like an address or telephone number of a customer, for example).

Not sure if social media is for you?

Consult with us so we can help your company in this digital age.

Contact us below

http://www.lenoma.co.za

info@lenoma.co.za