Wednesday 30 April 2008

Small business clients

One of the challenges of dealing with small business clients is avoiding misunderstandings, which can arise all too easily given that they are less sophisticated. For example, a few weeks ago I was ecstatic when a client emailed to say they wished to go ahead and file both their trade marks across the entire list of Madrid Protocol countries. I raised the requested payment on account invoice (which including a few non Madrid countries) and came out at about £80,000. I had a warm glow inside, which was rapidly blown apart on receiving the client’s email back to say they had nearly fallen off their chairs when they received my request for payment… Apparently, the example price schedule I had sent them showing the filing costs in 3 countries was taken as the price to file in all the Madrid countries. As happens quite often, the client had not read my accompanying letter, and had formed an impressionistic view of the costs from the various documents I had sent them. So, that is why working for the small business client does involve not only trying to convey the law in the simple, black and white terms they prefer, but also involves, a constant refining of ones communications to ensure they are crystal clear.

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