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Legal Expertise

Waterfront’s aim has always been to provide high quality, affordable, commercial legal services. We were established as a niche intellectual property and IT firm and our areas of expertise reflect that – intellectual property law and commercial contracts (particularly those related to IT and technology law) still being the primary focus of our practice. Outsourcing and procurement, privacy, defamation and freedom of information are all closely related to the core areas of intellectual property and IT. In more recent years we have also broadened our service offering so that it now includes a Corporate Law team and an Employment Law and HR Law team, both of which compliment the core intellectual property and IT business.

Privacy, Defamation and Freedom of Information

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Privacy, Defamation and Freedom of Information

Technology advances are making it possible to process ever increasing volumes of data – “Big Data” is becoming an industry in its own right, enabling services that have never previously been possible.  At the same time, individuals are increasingly aware of, and concerned about, the ways in which information about them is used and concepts such as the “Right to be Forgotten” are appearing.  Consequently, this is an area in which lawmakers are keen to create and adapt legislation to ensure that it remains relevant in the modern world – in particular, the EU is currently considering proposals for a completely new data protection regime. 

Our experience of data protection and privacy matters ranges from drafting a simple privacy policy, to advising multi-national corporations regarding their obligations in the EU, and everything in between.

We have also assisted both public bodies and their suppliers with responses to requests under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

We advise on all manner of defamation issues, but have particular experience of defending web “publishers” of user generated content from claims that they are liable for the publication of such content.

If you would like a free initial chat with our team, please contact us on 020 7234 0200.

Outsourcing and Procurement

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Outsourcing and Procurement

Are you looking for outsourcing advice? Since we were established in 2002, we have focused on providing pragmatic, commercially focused legal advice to the Outsourcing industry.  IT and Outsourcing often go hand in hand, and with our unrivalled experience working for the IT industry we have been responsible for advising outsourced and managed services providers to some of the world’s largest businesses.  We have a particular expertise in advising companies to whom the financial services sector are outsourcing specific business functions and companies who are seeking to navigate the hurdles of the public sector procurement regulations.

We generally work for the supplier, with a keen eye on ensuring that contractual commitments can be delivered with the lowest possible financial risk to our clients. Often our clients are in an unequal bargaining situation; and we can help level the playing field, bringing experience and confidence to negotiations which might otherwise be dominated by the larger companies and their teams of in-house lawyers. This is where we excel, bringing unrivalled experience to enable our clients to manage their legal risks and maximise their revenues.

We do also have customer-side clients who are procuring services rather than providing them; and our knowledge of the risks of dealing with suppliers makes us an invaluable addition to any procurement team.  

Recent examples of Waterfront’s experience in Outsourcing/Procurement related work include:

  • Advising a government body on the procurement of cloud services for a high-profile public data project and drafting and negotiating the resulting contracts with the world’s largest provider of cloud services.
  • Assisting one of the UK’s leading employment-focused training and enterprise companies procure an end-to-end outsourced IT services solution to support 50+ offices. 
  • Advising outsourced and managed services providers with contract negotiations.  In particular, a number of our clients provide services to the financial services sector and we are able to leverage our previous experience of dealing with these organisations to more effectively assist our clients.
  • Assisting a niche software and services provider to bid for (and win) a project governed by the public procurement Competitive Dialogue Procedure.
  • Renegotiation of a public sector Framework Agreement.


Whether you are providing an outsourced service or are procuring a managed service, using Waterfront will ensure that you get the best possible advice to support your business activities.

For more information contact one of our team today.

Commercial Contracts

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Commercial Contracts

In need of commercial contract advice? We draft, advise on and negotiate, all manner of commercial contracts. While we have very extensive and specific expertise in certain industry sectors, many of the contracts that we draft on a daily basis can be applicable to all industries.

A few examples of the types of agreements that we frequently deal with are:

Contracts for services, including:

  • Consultancy Agreements (fixed price and/or time & materials), also referred to as Services Agreements, Sub-contractor Agreements and Supplier Agreements.
  • Master Services Agreements, also referred to as Framework Agreements, or Call-off Agreements.
  • Subscription Service Agreements, which can also include Software as a Service or Application Service Provider Agreements.


Contracts for the resale and distribution of products and services, including:

  • Reseller Agreements
  • Distribution Agreements
  • Lead-referral Agreements
  • Partnering agreements
  • White-label Agreements
  • Joint Marketing Agreements
  • Agency Agreements
  • Value Added Reseller Agreements (“VAR”)
  • OEM Agreements (these last two almost always relate to the distribution of technology products).
     

Licences

Pre-contractual documents, such as:

  • Non-disclosure agreements (also known as “NDA”s and “confidentiality agreements”)
  • Memoranda of Understanding
  • Letters of intent
  • Franchise agreements
  • Joint venture agreements
  • Marketing and sponsorship agreements.
     

There is some crossover between commercial contracts and much of the other work that we do at Waterfront. For example, Shareholders Agreements, Partnership and LLP Agreements and Business Sale and Acquisition Agreements are all commercial contracts, but these are usually considered to fall under the heading of corporate work. Likewise, a Contract of Employment or a contract that specifically relates to employment law. 

We also provide dispute resolution services in relation to alleged breaches of commercial contracts, including assistance with settlement as well as small claims and High Court litigation.

If you would like to find out more about what our commercial team can do for you, please contact our commecial law solicitors on 020 7234 0200.

Employment Law

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Employment Law

Specialists in Employment and HR Law

When you need employment law advice, Waterfront’s specialist lawyers are here to help out. Our approach is refreshingly simple: we provide robust, commercial solutions in a friendly and accessible way.

We provide expert employment and HR advice to a wide range of businesses: from SMEs to multi-national employers with thousands of employees.

The guidance we provide covers the life of the employment relationship. At the outset we advise on how to recruit fairly and draft offer letters, contracts and policies in a way which protects the business. We assist our clients in getting the most out of their workforces with advice on how to handle disciplinary and grievance issues, as well as performance management. If our clients need to remove individuals who aren’t right for their businesses, we make sure it is done in a way that minimises the risks resulting from the dismissal of staff.

We also advise on redundancies, restructures and the TUPE obligations arising from workforce transfers.

Whether your business is in the early stages and you require contracts of employment for your new employees, or whether you are at the stage of selling your business and you are negotiating your way through the complex employment law issues involved, we can help.

Our aim is to help our clients avoid litigation. However, if it cannot be avoided we are experienced in defending (and pursuing) claims in the Employment Tribunal and the courts.

Typically, there are two ways we charge for our services.

The first is on an ad hoc basis. This is on the basis of an hourly rate and when it comes to one-off pieces of work such as contract or letter drafting we will give a fixed or capped price. Although this can be more difficult to do when it comes to advising on disputes or litigation we will always give regular cost updates and estimates as the matter progresses.

The second is on the basis of a retainer, which allows clients to benefit from a fixed monthly cost.

On either basis, we can provide a virtual in-house HR desk. The HR desk operates as if it were part of your business and we pride ourselves in providing either an immediate or same day response to client questions. Our team comprises three qualified lawyers, meaning that there will always be someone available at the end of the phone.

 

Privacy and Data Protection

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Privacy and Data Protection

Waterfront’s data protection experts have extensive experience of helping clients to comply with the myriad of legislation in this complex area. We have advised a very broad range of businesses on an even broader range of data protection and privacy issues. These include:

  • drafting all manner of privacy policies;
  • assisting a call centre company with negotiations over the data processor clauses in contracts with its customers;
  • advising a company that provides ‘know your customer’ services on how to comply with the legislation;
  • providing advice to a mobile virtual network operator regarding the legality of location based services (prior to these becoming widely available);
  • assisting numerous providers of e-commerce websites and SaaS comply with their obligations under data protection and privacy law;
  • advising on cookies, behavioural advertising and other marketing activities; and 
  • advising multi-national corporations regarding their obligations in the EU.

We have the detailed knowledge to help our clients through the data protection minefield. We use this knowledge to make practical suggestions, helping our clients to manage their risks and ensuring that the requirements of the legislation don’t stymie their businesses.

Businesses have a legal obligation to ensure that staff understand their obligations when handling personal information. Waterfront conducts staff data protection training, usually in the form of short workshops using real life examples taken from the relevant client’s business. The workshops can be tailored so that they are suitable for anyone from a junior member of the sales team to in-house counsel. 

Furthermore, Waterfront will be keeping abreast of the upcoming changes to the EU Data Protection regime (expected some time during 2015) and will keep our clients informed of any changes they should consider implementing.

If you would like to have a chat will our data protection specialists, please contact us on 020 7234 0200.

Corporate Lawyers in London

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Corporate Lawyers in London

Waterfront’s Corporate team offers expert legal advice on a wide range of corporate matters, including setting up a business, venture capital, joint ventures and mergers and acquisitions.

We act for clients of all sizes across all industry sectors and have particular experience and expertise in advising entrepreneurs and investors in the IT & technology and media sectors who value our specialist knowledge and the pragmatic, commercial approach we take.

Whether you are starting out in business, seeking funding to grow your business or considering exit strategies, we can provide you with cost-effective, expert legal advice.

For details of recent deals we have advised on please see corporate deals page.

Intellectual Property

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Intellectual Property

Waterfront Solicitors is a leading firm of intellectual property specialists based in London.

We are an intellectual property law firm with clients ranging from large multinational companies, through to SMEs, start-ups and individual inventors.

Our team is made up of IP solicitors who have years of experience helping clients protect, manage, exploit, enforce and defend their intellectual property rights. Our experience covers the entire spectrum of intellectual property law and practice, specifically:

  • anti-counterfeiting which prevents your competitors from imitating your brands, products and designs;
  • copyright and database rights our experts can help across a range of areas, including disputes and litigation, commercial transactions, general clearance and advisory work, intellectual property rights audits and chain of title research;
  • design rights helping you to protect your creative investment and negotiate the complex legal maze;
  • know how, trade secrets and confidential information through commercial agreements and litigation measures we can help you protect and exploit these valuable assets;
  • patent litigation from multi-million pound patent claims in the High Court to more modest, but vital patent claims in the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court, our team has the skills and experience to manage all forms of patent litigation;
  • trade marks and brands we can advise you across the whole spectrum of trade mark rights and related rights (such as passing off), including: clearance searches, protection and registerability issues, co-ordination and management of trade mark filings, branding and franchise agreements, disputes and litigation; and
  • domain name law our lawyers have successfully acted both for those bringing and defending domain name proceedings.

Why Waterfront?

Our Intellectual Property team has featured in prestigious legal directories, the Legal 500 and Chambers and Partners for a number of years.  Our approach is to combine expert advice with “a pragmatic approach and provide clients with valuable advice succinctly and efficiently”. Joint Heads of Intellectual Property and Dispute Resolution, Piers Strickland and Matthew Harris are recognised respectively as a “first-class litigator” and “extremely personable and engaging”.

We are aware that lawyers are often accused of being too formal, abrasive, aggressive, slow or simply just too painful to deal with. At Waterfront, our intellectual property solicitors aim to strike the right balance between being driven and tough when protecting your interests, and demonstrating strong inter-personal skills. We always strive to provide the highest levels of customer service but we want you to be relaxed and comfortable in our company.

As well as offering individual IP advice, we can also bridge the gap between in-house legal expertise and standard legal advice with our virtual in-house intellectual property solicitors. We will discuss your requirements and identify which member of our team is best placed to provide the specialist intellectual property advice you require, putting your legal support on a more strategic footing.

What is intellectual property?

Intellectual property (IP) law is a legal term that refers to creative work that can be treated as an asset, such as designs and inventions; literary and artistic works; symbols, names and images. Intellectual property rights generally fall into four main areas: copyright, trademarks, design rights and patents. IP lawyers ensure that the rules and regulations for securing and enforcing legal rights for such creative work are upheld.

Just as the law protects ownership of personal property and real estate, it also protects the exclusive control of intangible assets. Intellectual property is protected in law by patents, copyright and trademarks, which enable businesses and individuals to earn recognition and / or financial benefit from the assets they invent or create. In essence, the primary objective of IP law is to encourage and facilitate an environment in which creativity, originality and innovation can flourish by ensuring that originators of creative work can profit from their works without fear of misappropriation by others.

When individuals and businesses know that their creative work will be protected by law and that they can benefit financially from their endeavours, they are more likely to develop new technologies, create employment opportunities, make processes and procedures more efficient, improve the lives of others and create original material that entertains and excites. By working with Waterfront’s specialist intellectual property lawyers, you can rest assured that your intellectual property will be protected.

Why should you protect your intellectual property?

For many individuals and companies, intellectual property law protects more than just an idea or a concept – it protects genuine business assets that may be integral to the core services of a business and fundamental to its overall long-term financial viability.

Intellectual property can be a complex area of law and covers many different forms of creative work, from logos and corporate identity designs to products and services that set your business apart from your competitors. Because of this, it is often essential to seek the legal counsel of a specialist intellectual property solicitor.

Almost all businesses and individuals have benefited from the instant access to information that the Internet provides. Products, services and marketing communications can reach global audiences at relatively low costs - but this has also led to a huge increase in intellectual property theft. As a result, companies of all sizes are now more at risk than ever before of having their unique ideas, products or services infringed upon. This means that employing the services of a professional IP lawyer are more important than ever.

Protect Your Ideas

When you have an idea for a potentially lucrative product or service, you risk others stealing your ideas and selling them as their own.

Depending on the type of asset that you want to protect, you can use patents, trademarks or copyrights – all of which cover different areas of intellectual property. Our intellectual property lawyers understand how to use these legal tools to prevent competitors or anyone else from profiting from your ideas without your consent.

IP protection can be as essential for the largest corporations as it is for the smallest start-ups. Even huge corporations have had their ideas and designs infringed upon and have won multi-million pound lawsuits as a result.

Protect Business Growth

If you are a business – irrespective of size - it is crucial to protect unique products or services for which you own the IP rights, as competitors can use your success to effectively reduce your market share, resulting in slow growth or loss of revenue. If this happens to your business, our IP solicitors will advise you on the appropriate course of action to take.

Losing market share early on in the life of a business can have a profound effect on its ability to attract investors, employ staff and ultimately increase profits. It’s important to remember that no one else will check to see if your intellectual property rights have been infringed; it’s your responsibility to ensure that no one else is using your assets. Doing this yourself can be time consuming and expensive, but our experienced intellectual property solicitors will handle this for you.

Easily Protect Your Intellectual Property with Waterfront

Although securing IP protection for your assets may seem daunting or time consuming, our intellectual property solicitors will make the entire process as painless as possible. Our IP lawyers will help you protect your creations and protect sensitive information. So if you are looking for sound, reliable intellectual property law advice, call our intellectual property solicitors.

Read our blog for more information about intellectual property law and call us today for a free initial chat about any intellectual property legal issue.

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Waterfront Solicitors LLP
14 Weller St, London, London SE1 1QU
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Discipline and grievance procedures

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Discipline and grievance procedures

Disciplinary rules and procedures set out the standards of conduct expected of staff and the steps an employer may take where such standards are not complied with.  Grievance procedures provide employees with information about what steps they should take if they wish to lodge a grievance in relation to any aspect of their employment.

Employers have a duty to provide written information to employees regarding certain procedures that should be followed in situations involving disciplinary and grievance issues. The conciliation service ACAS has produced a Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures which gives non-binding guidance on how these matters should be dealt with.  An Employment Tribunal will consider the extent to which both employers and employees have followed this guidance in any claim that comes before it involving a grievance or disciplinary issue.

Key Risks

Where organisations operate without clear procedures in place, or carry out disciplinary or grievance matters without following the ACAS Code, the employer will be at risk of a dismissal being deemed to be unfair which, in turn, may lead to an increased compensatory award by an Employment Tribunal.

How we can help…

We regularly draft disciplinary and grievance procedures for organisations of all sizes.  We also update existing policies, and advise employers on how to ensure they follow the correct procedures in dealing with disciplinary and grievance matters.

We also advise employees going through grievance or disciplinary processes in the workplace.