(Previously Legally Branded Monthly)
Do you want a cost-effective way to manage your legal work, accessing instructions to register your own trademark or design internationally, legal documents and resources for commonly needed business transactions, such as when engaging branding, web design, digital marketing, app development and similar services, and a chance to put your questions to an experience lawyer every month? If so, check out Legally Branded Do It Yourself Helper.
Hi, I’m Shireen Smith, a lawyer and business adviser who has helped a wide range of businesses and start-ups to register their trademarks, and designs and drafted legal agreements to protect their legal interests and intellectual property. I founded my London law firm, Azrights, back in 2005 having qualified as a solicitor over 20 years prior to that working in international organisations including Reuters the news agency. I’ve focused on internet, and intellectual property law for nearly 15 years now, and have written two best-selling books on Amazon, Legally Branded and Intellectual Property Revolution,
Have you ever had some of these challenges in your business or when starting up a new venture?
These are typical issues I know businesses face as I help my clients with them all the time and often receive enquiries from prospective clients in need of legal help.
In business, virtually every decision, from choosing a name, having a website or logo designed, getting content produced, promoting and marketing your website whether in the search engines or via Facebook or Google ads, has legal implications. The law says Buyer Beware. This means we need to understand the commercial drivers behind our legal agreements with contractors to ensure we address the terms appropriately, and use the right legal documents for the transactions we engage in. That’s the way to protect our legal position and build valuable intellectual property rights.
Some of the decisions we take early on could attract legal liabilities or result in loss of important intellectual property rights for our business if we don’t know how to protect ourselves before we proceed with our decisions. So, as well as having a working knowledge of trademarks, copyright, and other intellectual property rights we need to have access to information on branding, digital marketing, website development and more. We need access to appropriate legal agreements, and know-how to do due diligence checks and register our trademark ourselves, if do it yourself is the approach we’re going to take.
The legal issues underlying our business, needs to be addressed if we’re to manage the risks and seize the opportunities.
Shireen Smith is a bestselling author on Amazon of two books on intellectual property Legally Branded and Intellectual Property Revolution.
She brings her years of experience as an IP lawyer with specialist knowledge of the digital playing field to highlight the new threats and opportunities of IP in today’s global marketplace.
Legally Branded explains that a brand essentially involves having a reputation for delivering on a certain promise.
My Book Intellectual Property Revolution
In my book I explain how digitalisation has revolutionised our lives and made intellectual property centrally relevant for every business.
The internet brings up legal issues that we need to understand as they drive online arrangements such as web design, search engine marketing, advertising, branding and more. Getting a practical understanding of digital media and related online marketing principles is essential to ensure we implement the right contracts with the people we engage.
In today’s fast moving digital economy, every business has intellectual property issues such as a website, brand, logo, data, brochures, customer lists, reputation, goodwill, domain names, and so on. Our business revenues and value could depend on securing our rights in these assets. To protect our businesses, we need access to legal advice, templates, and similar resources.
Intangibles are all governed by intellectual property laws. These determine ownership rights. Just like property rights in land, it is important to secure our rights in intangibles. However, the way to do so is different to how we acquire rights in physical property. There is often no formality involved to alert us that an agreement we are entering is a significant transaction like there is when you buy physical property. So, this can lead to surprising and unwanted results if we don’t learn the basics of intellectual property and use the right legal agreements. Owning an intangible asset is often important because only the owner can control and exploit that asset such as by transferring it, licensing it to others, or otherwise exploiting the intellectual property rights. Owning the rights to intangible assets affects the value of our business.
So, understanding how to protect our commercial and intellectual property interests is highly relevant to protecting our businesses.
In my law firm many clients would contact me for help on specific tasks such as trademark registration or for legal documentation after they’d had an app, brand or website developed for them.
Some clients needed a lot more than an agreement because they didn’t already have a good grasp of the commercial drivers behind some of the transactions they had entered into.
When people wanted us to draft agreements for them
The price to draft a document was a stretch for them financially. So, to also include education on the commercial issues was simply not feasible at a price that would be affordable for them.
So, I could see that a traditional one to one lawyer-client relationship whether charged on an hourly rate basis or at a fixed price, is simply not the right model for many small businesses. It is too expensive and leaves the educational element out altogether.
I also noticed that many businesses were just not using any legal agreements at all, or using inappropriate ones, sometimes copied from the internet. Some documents were positively dangerous. For example, one person had used an agreement giving a “sole and exclusive licence” over their intellectual property to another party. They’d used this expression which was just part of the document they’d found online, without realising that in the UK an exclusive licence prevents the owner of the intellectual property from exploiting the rights themselves. Yet the agreement included none of the safeguards that are typically needed in licences giving the other party exclusive rights.
Some people buy templates from contract template sites. I’ve seen some very lengthy agreements that require a lot of adaptation before they can be used by a business. This increases the likelihood that you’d need a lawyer to help you to implement the template, so that it ends up being a lot more expensive to get a legal agreement in place than the cost of the template might have led you to believe you’d need to pay.
Also, these template sites just offer templates. There are no video explanations to educate about the commercial drivers behind the documents, so business owners can make sense of the documents. Invariably people don’t get as much benefit as they should, and in addition can’t implement the agreements without first getting legal help.
Others I came across had registered their own trade marks incorrectly. In one case the individual had registered in completely the wrong business category. Others had drafted their trademark registrations very inadequately. Sometimes people had been through a number of failed applications before they succeeded in registering their marks because they made some very easy to avoid mistakes. It cost their businesses nearly as much in official fees as it would have done to just use a lawyer in the first place to register their trademarks for them.
The problem with a trademark that is incorrectly registered is that you only find out it’s inadequate to protect you once you need to rely on that registration.
So, proceeding to register IP rights without really knowing what you’re doing is to be discouraged. However, if you can’t afford legal help what’s there to do? Before Legally Branded Do It Yourself Helper, there was no alternative. Now you can get all the instructions you need in order to do a good job when registering your rights.
Another common mistake I noticed small business owners making was that they were registering a trademark without first doing proper trademark searches. They assumed a trademark registration gave them conclusive rights in a name. While this may be a correct assumption in the USA, in the EU and UK the system of legal protection of trademarks is quite different. You could register exactly the same mark in exactly the same class as someone else. It means nothing. You have no protection even if the existing trademark owner was told about you and didn’t choose to take any action to stop you securing registration. They may simply decide not to bother about you when you’re just a start up with no traction in the market. If you do become successful though they are likely to take steps to stop you infringing on their rights and they will not be prevented from doing so simply because they didn’t object to your trademark being registered.
This is an example that proves that trademark registration is not conclusive in the EU. This was registered as an EU trademark by Microsoft. However, it did not protect Microsoft from a trademark infringement action. SKY sued them and won. So, Microsoft had to rebrand to ONEDRIVE.
Realising that more and more small businesses were looking for affordable legal services I decided to create a solution to help online business owners to protect intellectual property. This involves learning to do some due diligence searches, registering rights, using appropriate contractual documentation, and more. By giving online business access to know-how resources and showing them how to think about various transactions, how to do legal checks, how to register their rights correctly, I can help them deal with their legal work themselves, far more cost effectively. Then they can always consult a lawyer when they want extra help.
Whether we’re running an established business or starting a new one, if we ignore the correct treatment of our agreements, we could put our future wealth and happiness at risk.
Here’s what happened next
Having realised there is a need for a different solution to traditional lawyer-client “done for you” one to one services, I initially experimented with a Do It Yourself trademark registration solution back in 2010. This included a service element in that my law firm would double check clients’ applications before they submitted them. The idea was to give people confidence as we would ensure there weren’t any flagrant mistakes before they filed their applications. In those days videos were not as easy to put together as they are now so our solution consisted of a set of written instructions.
There wasn’t a massive take up of that solution as most people who contacted us wanted us to handle their registration for them. It was the ones who didn’t contact us who probably needed the solution! However, we didn’t pursue promotion of that service further as there were other priorities we were dealing with at the time.
For example, I was helping clients with a quasi “do it yourself” solution as part of a holistic intellectual property service I was putting together. This consisted of us providing a range of commonly needed intellectual property templates for clients of the service to access. We drafted them to be as simple as possible to use so that there were a minimal number of fields and options for people to fill in. This went down quite well. Clients found the agreements easy to implement.
Recently, I realised that an affordable way to give access to legal services to a wider number of people, even for a worldwide audience would be the Legally Branded Do It Yourself Helper concept. Namely, we provide resources each month as part of an online course for students to address their own legal work. This is combined with a monthly livecast and Q&As and is very affordable. A different topic is covered every month. The advice and resources are available for a fixed, affordable price and students can top them up with a consultation or traditional legal service whenever they want one to one advice and help. This works out far more cost effective than the traditional “done for you” hourly rate or fixed price model.
Testimonials about Shireen Smith
Let me introduce you to Legally Branded Do It Yourself.
Legally Branded Do It Yourself provides know-how information on a variety of legal topics, releasing a new one each month. These range from how-to videos on naming, trademark searching worldwide, registering IP, such as an international trademark or design, to understanding the commercial drivers behind agreements needed with web developers, marketing companies, app developers and the like. So, for example when you engage someone to do Facebook or Google Ads for you, what should you take into account to agree terms with them?
For just £45 per month you get.
I go live every month for an hour or so to introduce the resources being released that month, explain the commercial drivers behind the legal topic of the month, and I’ll answer your questions live too. The questions can be on anything at all. You get access to the video recording of the live cast as well as supporting resources, such as how-to videos, legal agreement template, checklist, or other useful materials relevant to that month’s topic.
For example, if one month I discuss registering an EU trademark, then the resources will include hands on How-To videos showing you how to do that, while in the livecast I’ll explain why registration is important or necessary, among other things.
Intellectual property is a highly international legal subject. There are many international treaties in existence between nations worldwide, such as the Berne Convention, the upshot of which is that intellectual property rights have the same terminology and similar meaning the world over. There are international mechanisms in place for protecting IP globally. This means the broad principles of the law are similar too. So, you can benefit from the training in Legally Branded Do It Yourself to get a better perspective on your IP protection, and get ahead more quickly
Legally Branded Do It Yourself is aimed at online entrepreneurs worldwide because the information provided includes the commercial high-level business guidance entrepreneurs need to know to learn what issues need to be negotiated and covered in agreements with contractors. The focus is on explanations of the commercial drivers rather than minute details of the law.
The Legally Branded Do It Yourself information and resources is therefore suitable to online entrepreneurs wherever you’re based. For one thing the way to register your IP rights in the EU and internationally are often the same regardless where you’re located (although there are some countries which are not party to major international treaties, so if you’re from such jurisdictions then the course might be less relevant to you).
Even where the videos cover legal agreements, as the accent is on explaining the commercial considerations rather than the legal detail of the templates (which are governed by English law) the service is suitable for non-UK based businesses. You’d learn about online business, and the agreements could be used for international situations, such as when engaging freelancers in other countries. Otherwise, they act as guidance for instructing lawyers in your own country and overseeing their work. The Legally Branded Do It Yourself resources will be invaluable to your business.
Legally Branded Do It Yourself is great for you because it gives you full explanations and guidance on how and why register your intellectual property, and an understanding of the commercial drivers behind typical transactions your online business is likely to encounter, such as engaging a web developer, getting an app off the ground, commissioning a brand identity, using digital marketing support etc. In many ways it teaches you about online business – at least the intellectual property aspects of it – meaning the way you look at your commercial arrangements will be transformed. It also gives you templates with guidance on how to use them, as well as a place to ask questions and have them answered.
So, accessing Legally Branded Do It Yourself means you
… Take care of a big chunk of your legal needs for running an online business leaving you free to grow the business using the law to underpin your actions and decisions.
… Secure your intellectual property properly as you expand your brand.
… Will be protected before you seek funding
… Sail through the due diligence when you come to sell your business and retire
The benefit of a monthly live cast is that you can questions about your legal issues. So, not only do you get templates, know-how videos, checklists and others tools every month on a particular topic, but in addition a way to have your questions answered.
This is a low cost, high value offering because some of the training videos you get every month, tools and resources and Facebook community equip you to manage the legal side of your business.
Business – especially online business - is global nowadays, so the templates may be used when engaging people from other jurisdictions. That means even if you’re not UK based, the provided templates have a use (such as when you’re doing business internationally as the agreements are subject to English law which is a respected jurisdiction internationally), and if not directly usable in your country for local transactions, at least give you material to draw on when instructing your local lawyers.
What you’ll gain from joining Legally Branded Do It Yourself
Legally Branded Do It Yourself is the only site that actually shows you how to protect your intellectual property rights yourself through trademark and design registrations. Usually when you want to register your rights yourself, you’re on your own. You need to work out how to do it by yourself using the official intellectual property sites. Those explanations do not cover the wider business context and reasons for making the application. Nor do they tell you what else you need to know before you apply. So you need to invest a lot of time learning what to do. The official sites are not necessarily designed for someone with no experience of trademarks or designs, meaning you risk getting it wrong and wasting 20-50 hours in the process too. The amount of money businesses waste in filing their own applications is extremely high.
Also, you get access to templates for online business. Although there are plenty of template sites around, none of them provide video explanations about the commercial transactions the documents are designed to cover. So, you’re just left with a set of difficult to apply written instructions for adapting the templates, with no real understanding of the commercial drivers behind those agreements.
With Legally Branded Do It Yourself you’ll get access to the templates, and so much more. You also get checklists and resources your online business needs as you start up and develop your business. As well as legal templates you learn how to do business in an online world at the same time.
With Legally Branded Do It Yourself, when you want to protect your intellectual property through registration, you don’t need to rely on the instructions of the various IP Office sites. You can save time by having access just to the information you need.
This is the first course that provides step by step instructions for doing many typically needed actions, and what’s more, they’re designed for beginners.
The reason this is a great deal for you is that I'll let you "test me out" for just £1 during the first 7 days.
I charge £350 per hour. You get me for £1 for 7 days!
That's why I want you to join my monthly program
My Legally Branded Do It Yourself program is usually £45 every month. So, yes, this £1 trial is sort of crazy.
But I wanted to do something special for you.
I want to invite you to try it out.
Yes, for just £1 right now.
All just a £1 for 7 days.
If you don't cancel, then we assume you're loving it, and we'll keep you in the program so that you will be automatically billed the stated price of £45 per month.
So, this is a £1 trial for 7 days, then it goes to just £45 per month and you get access to the training, Q&As and resources every month.
What You Get
If you stay past the first 7 days then you'll pay £45 per month like everyone else. And you can cancel anytime by replying to any of our emails and telling us to cancel. It's that easy.
Recordings of the live cast sessions will be available in the members’ area, so that access to the training sessions is provided even if you’re unable to join live.
The total annual cost if you stay with us for an entire year (which I recommend you do) is less than you’d pay for 2 hours of my time if you consulted me at Azrights Solicitors. I think you’ll agree that’s excellent value to get my perspective on intellectual property to fast track your business protection and increase the value of your business. It’s bound to become a more valuable business if it’s built on solid foundations.
Just one visit to a lawyer will likely absorb as much as Legally Branded Do It Yourself would cost you for an entire year. It would only give you a fraction of what Legally Branded Do It Yourself gives you in terms of instructions and access to legal guidance and resources.
And how much would it cost in time, money and stress having to deal with the fallout from an easily avoidable legal intellectual property issue? Literally thousands and thousands. Believe me, I know because I often help clients deal with the fall-out from intellectual property issues they hadn’t understood.
If you’re already spending money on legal help, this is a saving because you won’t need as much help from your lawyers. It gives you so much more than just law though.
Bonus Access to How to Protect Your Brand audio and eBook. This gives you practical steps to ensure your brand name is sufficiently protected using my proven process when working with clients in my law firm. With this resource you can identify issues concerning your brand protection, so you address them appropriately.
For those who stay beyond the 7-day trial and who buy before 15 January, there is a 15-minute one-to-one consultation with me Shireen Smith to answer your questions, and find out your legal challenges and needs.
You can access Legally Branded Do It Yourself for 7 days for a £1. If you don’t cancel you’re billed £45 per month and can cancel any time before the next month’s payment. I’m so confident this will be a game-changer for your business, if you don’t believe this is the best business programme you’ve done, simply email us at [email protected] to cancel your monthly payment.
For those who stay beyond the 7-day trial and who buy before 15 January, there is a 15-minute one-to-one consultation with me Shireen Smith to answer your questions, and find out your legal challenges and needs.
How much would it cost you to get the level of advice and information that’s available in Legally Branded Do It Yourself?
Legally Branded Do It Yourself gives you the know how to deal with your own IP registrations and other legal work with full understanding of the commercial context of transactions. So, it helps you make the right commercial decisions and avoid mistakes. Consequently, it will reduce your legal spend dramatically.
All businesses, especially online ones need to have access to legal resources for their ongoing legal needs. Going to a lawyer for one to one legal help is only viable for the most important transactions. Even if the lawyers’ hourly rate is lower than the norm, it will end up costing you at least the price of an entire year’s access to Legally Branded Do It Yourself to get just one agreement drafted for you by lawyers.
The templates in Legally Branded Do It Yourself are focused on online business, so it’s highly likely that the underlying documents would be on all fours with your arrangements meaning you could adapt them for yourself with minimal, or possibly no need, to involve a lawyer. Just one agreement would pay for an entire year’s access to Legally Branded Do It Yourself.
Legally Branded Do It Yourself delivers more than templates though. It also shows you how to correctly register your rights. It’s a business and legal educational resources that you will find invaluable to support you as you grow your business.
Legally Branded Do It Yourself is NOT for you if…
Legally Branded Do It Yourself is right for you if…
How much longer will you disregard the legal aspects of running an online business, so you’re unprotected and at risk?
Every day you ignore the legal needs of your business you are…
… Wasting time, effort and money
… Taking inappropriate risks that are easily avoidable
… Missing vital opportunities
Every time you engage a contractor without using an appropriate legal agreement, you take a huge risk of exposing yourself to loss and legal liability that commonly happen, OR of losing the opportunity that was inherent in your idea if you had only known this earlier.
Every time you file your own trademark, design or other registration you risk getting less than adequate protection
Knowing how to legally protect your company and its assets is the most important skill in the digital age.
Never has it been so easy for someone to copy your ideas.
Never has it been so easy to attract types of legal claim, copyright and trade mark ones, when setting up new businesses or products or services.
Never has it been so straightforward for another business to build assets it may have taken you years to create.
Never has it been so easy for others to copy your products, ideas and content quickly and easily.
In this environment, there is only one way to protect the value of the assets you worked so hard to build.
Don’t risk your future wealth, freedom and happiness. act NOW to gain your advantage
Before Legally Branded Do It Yourself, you had to spend time figuring out the legal rules for yourself scrabbling around on Google, asking on social media or paying lawyers to advise you for a high hourly rate fee, or using inadequate contract sites, and dealing with your own registration work without much clarity.
The Legally Branded Do It Yourself changes the game. This will become the legal resource in online business and intellectual property every forward-thinking entrepreneur, creative and thought leader will turn to. I’m sure this is going to help thousands of businesses worldwide…
… but right now, it’s your turn. Just complete the form and start today.
You could spend 10 years, thousands of pounds, more hours than you care to count learning from your mistakes, disregarding intellectual property even though you know it’s so relevant to monetising your knowledge and business…
… or you can invest just £1 now and learn how to secure your assets and intellectual property to protect your business.
This is a new service, so check out some of my testimonials from Azrights where I’ve been advising people just like you for nearly 15 years.
"Shireen is a gifted lawyer, extremely able and bright. She is not only a great orator, translating difficult points in a clear, understandable and concise manner but also possesses the detailed forensic skills required from a legal professional dealing with your intellectual property. She knows her law and knows her business. In getting to know her clients, she uniquely combines all three to maximum effect and can guide a client through the process of fully protecting their property rights. A strong character, real professional and great networker. Strongly recommended."
"Shireen is an expert in Intellectual property law and I strongly recommend any business owner to consult with Azrights to bulletproof their brand. Shireen has also published Legally Branded, an outstanding book on brand law that is a must-read for every small business owner."
My Legally Branded Do It Yourself program is £45 every month. So, yes, this trial offer giving you access to the bonus, 3 months of livecast and resources is a good deal
I want to invite you to try it out for £1
If you stay with us past the first 7 days then you'll pay the £45 per month like everyone else. And you can cancel anytime!
Yes, really - cancel anytime, by replying to any of our emails and telling us to cancel. It's that easy.
Start by "testing me out" for just £1.
Trust me with the £1, and I'll work hard to earn it 1000 times over.
Signup now and go watch the 3 months of training and you'll realise this is worth so much more than the £1.
The £1 is just sort of a symbol of your commitment.