McLEAN AND CO.

Accounting          Taxation         Business Advice and Development Assistance           Audits                              P.O. Box 10 , Clive        133 Main Rd, Clive          Tel. (06) 8700952         Fax. (06) 8700955 

Email murray@mcleanandco.co.nz                                  Website www.mcleanandco.co.nz

 
 
EMAIL NEWSLETTER  SEPTEMBER 2005
 

Welcome again to the McLean and Co. Newsletter in which we discuss current taxation and business matters. We trust you find it informative.  Any feedback would be welcomed.

McLean and Co. is a home based chartered accountancy practice based in Clive, Hawkes Bay.    Readers are invited to peruse the practice website www.mcleanandco.co.nzwhich lists services provided, gives contact details and indicates how to become a client, contains an extensive base of articles on business and taxation matters,  and has links to other websites that may assist your business.    Being a small firm itself,   McLean and Co. strives to provide a personal and professional service largely to a self employed person and small business client base.  Enquiries are welcomed.

 

NEW CLIENTS

We are happy to accept new clients.  Please contact ourselves at the contact points highlighted above if we can assist you in your accounting and taxation requirements. Our website lists information required for this in the following link:

www.mcleanandco.co.nz/Documentationrequired.htm

 

INDEX

  1. Relevant Business and Taxation Articles.

  2. The Disputes Tribunal

  3. Eight Things to Think About when you are Developing a New Product

  4. How to protect your Rights by Registering a new Product or Design

  5. Partnership Agreements

 

RELEVANT BUSINESS AND TAXATION ARTICLES

The McLean and Co. website contains an extensive number of articles prepared by McLean and Co. relating to taxation and business matters.    Here are a selection that will be of interest:

Rental Property Income                            www.mcleanandco.co.nz/Page43.htm

What is an LAQC?                                    www.mcleanandco.co.nz/Page142.htm

Choosing a Business Names                     www.mcleanandco.co.nz/Page152.htm

Tax Audits                                                 www.mcleanandco.co.nz/Page33.htm

Borrowing Maney                                      www.mcleanandco.co.nz/Page123.htm

 

 

 

THE DISPUTES TRIBUNAL

The Disputes Tribunal offers a useful channel for small businesses wishing to pursue or resolve small claims without incurring high legal costs.

For example, if you have bought a product or service from a person or business that has not produced the agreed results for your business, the Disputes Tribunal could be a useful way of resolving the issue. The costs are very modest compared to normal courts: a maximum charge of $100 applies per application.

Another advantage is speed: most Disputes Tribunal claims are heard and resolved within three months. If you have a District Court in your area, there is likely to be a Disputes Tribunal as well.

 

Claims Limit

The Disputes Tribunal will hear claims up to $7,500, but this amount can be increased to a maximum of $12,000 if both the claimant and the defendant agree to this extension. Beyond this amount you have to go to a normal court.

However, because legal costs can be high, in certain cases it may prove an advantage to drop the amount claimed in order to have the case heard in the Disputes Tribunal. For example, if you are claiming $14,000 from another person or business, you could agree to drop your claim to $12,000 provided that person or business agrees to the case being heard in the Disputes Tribunal.

 

Scope of the Disputes Tribunal

The Tribunal does not hear claims concerning:
debt collection
employment issues
land sales
family matters or wills
taxes, rates and welfare benefits and ACC issues
claims against bankrupt or liquidated businesses
intellectual property issues such as branding, trade secrets and copyright disputes.

 

How the Tribunal Works?

Disputes Tribunal hearings are run by referees trained in disputes resolution (some, but not all referees are lawyers). The referee will attempt to get both parties find a resolution to the dispute, or reach some kind of compromise with the other party.

Failing this the referee will make a ruling, which is enforceable and will be upheld by the courts.

The Disputes Tribunal differs from normal courts in that:
no lawyers are involved and no members of the public are admitted.
the proceedings are relatively informal.
you can apply to have a support person present, but that person will not be allowed to speak.
you can call witnesses in support of your claim or to provide evidence on your behalf if you are defending yourself against a claim. Witnesses will remain outside the room until their evidence is required.

 

Getting the best out of the Disputes Tribunal

Some tips to enhance your chance success:
Prepare your case as thoroughly as possible. Although you canít take a lawyer to the Tribunal, there is nothing to stop you getting some legal advice beforehand on how best to present your case or defend a claim made against you.
Get your paperwork sorted and make sure there are no gaps. Be prepared to take in copies of sales receipts, invoices, emails, correspondence, diaries or documents that record dates of conversations, what was discussed, any verbal agreements, etc. Often the best-prepared side presents the most convincing case.
Try to anticipate what your opponent might say and prepare counter-arguments.
Avoid attacking the other person or side. Instead stay reasonable, polite and calm. Let the facts speak for themselves.

You do not have to be knowledgeable about the law to succeed in a claim, but it will pay to have some knowledge of trading legislation such as the Fair Trading Act and the Consumer Guarantees Act.

 

Further Information

Frequently asked questions about the Disputes Tribunal on the Ministry of Justice website

Information about the Disputes Tribunal on the Ministry of Consumer Affairs website

Consumer Guarantees Act 1993 (on biz.org.nz)

Fair Trading Act 1986 (on biz.org.nz)

 

 

EIGHT THINGS TO THINK ABOUT WHEN YOU'RE DEVELOPING A NEW PRODUCT

New products go through many stages on their way from bright idea to commercial winner. At each stage, it pays to reassess the project. What needs to change? Can it work? What are the risks and how can you deal with them? What new expertise needs to be brought in?

The earlier you ask yourself these questions, the less costly it will be if the product doesnít turn out to be commercially viable.

Here are eight steps that can take place when a new product is being developed:

1. Bright idea. Youíve thought of a great new product. Is it new? You might need to check patent records, both here and overseas.

2. Plan. The bright idea is scrutinised. What exactly is the product? How could it be made? How much would it cost? Who would buy it and why? Can it work? How long should you spend on finding out? What steps can you take to

3. Preliminary design. This stage turns the idea into working drawings. As part of this process, consider the conditions the product will work under, how long it will be expected to last, who will use it and what their needs are, how it will be manufactured (for example, from standard components or specially-made ones). From the start, the design should aim to make the product as simple as possible, both to make and to use. You want the smallest number of moving parts and the smallest number of steps in the manufacturing process as possible. You also want the product to be robust, and to be able to stand up to users who either donít know what theyíre doing or push the product beyond its limits.

At this stage, you may be able to register a provisional patent, meaning no-one else will be able to register it. Youíll need advice from an intellectual property or patent lawyer.

4. Prototype. If itís not too expensive, a rough prototype can be used to test the basic principles of your idea. If things donít work out, consider the results carefully. Should the product change? Is it worth proceeding with? Donít let your enthusiasm for your bright idea cloud your judgment.

5. Product design. This is the final detailed working drawings, and involves final decisions on how and where the product will be made, what resources will be used, what specifications and standards it will be expected to meet, and so on. Once youíve got the final design, things get very expensive, so this is another time to stop and think carefully about what you are doing.

6. Tooling up. This is the process of getting your machinery or production equipment together. This is when things really get expensive. Even machinery for simple production processes can cost thousands of dollars. Itís worth investing in good-quality equipment to save you production headaches and high maintenance costs later.

7. Samples and testing. Make samples and adjust the equipment to make improvements; and submit your product to more rigorous tests so you can find out about any problems before your customers tell you.

8. Start production.

 

 

HOW TO PROTECT YOUR RIGHTS BY REGISTERING A NEW INVENTION OR DESIGN

You can protect your intellectual property by registering it with the Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand. You can register:
new inventions and processes
original designs for manufactured items
new plant varieties
layouts for integrated circuits
trademarks.

The law also protects copyright on original literary, dramatic, artistic and musical works.

For more information, contact the Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand or read the Ministry of Economic Development information sheets at http://www.med.govt.nz/buslt/int_prop/info-sheets/index.html.

You can also download PDF guides to intellectual property law and protecting innovation from the website of James and Wells, patent and trademark attorneys: http://www.jaws.co.nz/page.cfm?id=5

 

Patents

New inventions, or new industrial processes, can be protected with a patent.

To be eligible for patenting, an invention must be industrially applicable, contain an inventive step that is not already known, and be new or novel.

A patent gives you monopoly rights for 20 years over the invention, meaning no-one else can use it without your permission. Patents can be licensed, bought, sold or transferred.

Patenting involves disclosing the nature of the invention Ė what it is and how itís made Ė meaning that after 20 years other companies will be able to start using it. Some companies donít patent their inventions for that reason.

Before investing too heavily in developing a new invention, itís worth checking patent records both in New Zealand and overseas to make sure your invention is genuinely new. If you donít check, you might invest heavily in a project without being able to profit from it later.

To apply for a patent, youíll need to provide a detailed description of the invention. If possible, it helps to provide drawings or diagrams, photos of prototypes, or the product itself. Youíll also need to be able to explain how your invention differs from existing technology.

For more information, contact the Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand or read the Ministry of Economic Development information sheet on patents at: http://www.med.govt.nz/buslt/int_prop/info-sheets/index.html.

 

Designs

Design registration gives the design owner the exclusive right to use the design in New Zealand. This means the exclusive right to make, import, sell or hire the article to which the design has been applied, or to allow others to use the design. The protection lasts for up to 15 years.

Design registration doesnít protect a particular article, but rather its shape or pattern. To be eligible, designs must be new or original and capable of being mass-produced. Designs need to be applied to the article through an industrial or manufacturing process, not merely produced once or twice.

To register a design, youíll need to be able to explain its unique features Ė things that make it different from anything else on the market. It will also help to provide a sample or accurate drawings of your design.

For more information, contact the Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand or read the Ministry of Economic Development information sheet on design at: http://www.med.govt.nz/buslt/int_prop/info-sheets/index.html.

 

Copyright

Copyright applies to books, sound recordings, films, TV programmes, computer programs and other original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic work. With some limits, the copyright owner has the right to control the use of their work. They can license others to use it, usually for a fee or royalty, and they can also sell the copyright.

You donít need to apply for copyright. It is conferred automatically. Generally, the author or maker of an original work is the owner of the copyright, unless the work was made in the course of employment. In that case, the employer usually owns the copyright, though that can be up for negotiation.

Copyright applies for differing lengths of time depending on the medium. For books, it applies until 50 years after the authorís death.

For more information, contact the Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand or read the Ministry of Economic Development information sheet on copyright at: http://www.med.govt.nz/buslt/int_prop/info-sheets/index.html.

 

Trademarks

Trademarks can take many different forms Ė a distinctive company name, a signature, an invented word or words, a symbol or graphics. They must be distinctive and not similar to existing registered trademarks. You canít register a geographical location or generic term as a trademark.

Trademarks donít have to be registered, but registration gives proof of ownership and the exclusive right to use it in New Zealand. Once you register a trademark you can use it, sell it or license others to use it.

If you want to use a trademark overseas, you have to make separate applications in each country you want to use it in.

For more information, contact the Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand or read the Ministry of Economic Development information sheet on trademarks at: http://www.med.govt.nz/buslt/int_prop/info-sheets/index.html.

 

PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENTS

People starting up in partnership often ask whether it is really necessary to have a formal partnership agreement. It is generally a good idea to have one , especially if the partnershiop is not within your immediate family..

Basically, the agreement should set out the rules governing how the partnership operates, and should cover the main īWhat happens if ...ī situations. If there is no agreement, there will be a large element of uncertainty, and applying the underlying law, such as the Partnership Act 1890, may well lead to unwanted results.

It is usually best to have a partnership agreement drawn up by a solicitor, but before you reach that stage you should think about exactly what you want the agreement to cover. In particular, you should consider:

Running the Business

partnersī duties
working hours and holidays
decision-making procedures
business premises
cars

Financial Matters

profit-sharing arrangements, and drawings on account
partnership capital (and interest arrangements)
banking and financial arrangements
accounting arrangements
making provision for tax payments

Special Circumstances

partner retirement procedures
death of a partner
providing for partners' retirements and dependants
disability of a partner
establishing the right to expel a partner
arbitration for unresolved disputes

 

 
The information provided in this email newsletter is for informational purposes only.   McLean and Co. accept no responsibility for the opinions and information expressed in the information provided and it is provided "as is" without warranty of any kind.    The user assumes the entire risk as to the accuracy and use of this document.   Readers are asked to seek professional advice pertaining to their own circumstances.    The McLean and Co. email newsletter may be copied and distributed subject to the following conditions:
All text must be copied without modification and all pages must be included.
This document must not be distributed for profit.    

 

If we can assist further, please email McLean and Co as follows:

 CONTACT McLEAN AND CO. BY EMAIL BY CLICKING ON THIS LINK

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