One of the benefits of having been in law for over 30 years is that I have experience in a wide range of areas, and regularly talk to clients about a wide range of situations and scenarios.

I’ve noticed that when I give advice, I tend to give real life analogies and examples, because I think it helps clients see things in context.

For example, if we’re talking about franchises, I will often use McDonalds as a good example of how a franchise works.  No matter what McDonalds you walk in to around the country, they will serve the same food, at the same price, in the same packaging, cooked in the same way with the same promotions, even though many of the restaurants are owned by different companies.  This is because the franchise agreement will cover everything you have to do, and one of the many things you are paying for, is the branding, marketing, advertising and know how.

If we’re talking about employment law, and the difference between an employee and someone who is self employed, I might talk about the drivers that worked for a company that I represented, fore filling a contract for a large well known newspaper, in the days when people still had newspapers delivered to their doors.  I explain that because the drivers used their own vehicles, (for which they paid all overheads and expenses) could pick their own routes (so long as they delivered no later than 7am every morning) and could subcontract the work out to anyone (so long as they complied with basic reqirement set by the client) they were almost certainly self employed rather than employees, because we had relatively little control over when, where and how they did their job.

Recently, I was talking about copyright and passing off.  On those subjects, I often use Disney as my example, partly because they are so well known and recognised but partly because it enables me to use one of my favourite lines.  From my days in entertaimnet law, I know Disney to be very protective of their brand (and why wouldn’t they be) which has led to the saying “don’t mess with the mouse”!  In this particular conversation, I was using examples of different types of businesses and how Disney might view each one.  If, for example, you were using something close to Disney script to advertise a family friendly restaurant, Disney might have a much better case for passing off than if, for example, it was advertising an abattoir.  No matter how protective Disney are of their name, even they might struggle to argue that people might think that they were running a business that slaughtered animals.

My client fully understood the point, but then challenged me to get it into a blog.

Challenge accepted, and fulfilled.

Kleyman & Co Solicitors.  The full service law firm.  Never knowingly underestimated!

BTW if you’re wondering what the photograph has to do with the blog, it’s a picture of Lake McDonald, which I thought was more appealing than a big mac!