Monday 4 August 2008

Bank transfers and the fluctuating US Dollar - a view from Uganda

This is my maiden voyage on solo ip so thanks for getting me on board!

I have a relatively different angle I wanted to raise regarding bank transfers as we in Uganda do not have any regulations similar to the new Law society Accounts rules in the UK. My current challenge as a solo ip practitioner relate to the tremendous volatility of the US dollar against our local currency the shilling during the past 12 months. We have had the dollar falling by over 400 Uganda shillings which can amount to a substantial difference when dealing with large trademark filings.

One of the problems associated with this is that we typically communicate our schedule of fees early in the year to our clients. This however becomes difficult when the currency in which we are charging fluctuates so frequently. We have been forced to increase our charges once since the year began but the weakening dollar has also led to an increase in other costs, which we could not reflect in this increase, so as not to destabilize our pricing.

I have considered setting up an online payment system that would enable payments by card which could minimize our loss to some extent. Problem is that the visa costs themselves seem less than humble! Any views from a solo practitioner in this regard would be helpful.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for your post Paul. Seems to me that you may be better off not communicating an annual schedule of fees. Historically they were always the main form of IP advertising but increasingly the website is being used as the source of information. I also suspect that most foreign attornies would like an estimate before proceeding. Theres really no reason why the cost of IP services should not move in line with the price of bread.
    For those interested in currency movements the BBC has a really nice site which shows charts of currency movements over time. Sadly it does not show the Uganda shilling.