The further away a company is from its retail buyers or consumers, the more likely it is that the culture, business practices and the law will be different from those the exporter is familiar with in his or her home country. It is essential to understand the laws and regulations of the country being exported to insofar as they relate to the product. It is also important to understand differences in business culture or business practice and the risks associated with exporting. The main issues that an exporting brand might face often relate to getting paid and their intellectual property rights.
Ignorance of the law is no protection. Today’s exporter has to be aware of all the risks associated with distance selling and wholesale exporting. A few examples:
Companies often fail to realise that European laws to protect agents (almost as if they were employees) apply to them and their business relationships even if they have not signed a contract.
Bespoke tailors can be liable to pay US taxes on the products they fit, make and sell to the USA and because of the way the IRS works, there can be wider implications affecting their non-US sales.
Trademark Squatting is rife in China, which is a “first to file” market. This means that anyone can register a Tradename in China and once they have done this it is theirs. The searches you need to do are very important and most online tools are operated by scammers.
It is not enough simply to register your Trading name in the UK, it needs to be secured in the UK, the EU, the US and China as a bare minimum.
Wherever you are going and however you wish to trade, getting the right information and advice from the start will save you time and money later and could save your business altogether.
Where specialist legal help is required, UKFT works with a number of highly qualified lawyers who have experience of working with fashion and textile brands. Our seminar programme identifies a number of key issues and we have a lot of knowledge on what has worked for other fashion and textile companies and can identify where the pitfalls lie.
Below are some of the main legal issues companies should be aware of and that UKFT members can talk to the our team and/or our partners about: