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Legal issues

Selling your goods or services internationally opens doors for more complex legal issues then selling in this country. At some point you are likely to need advice on issues such as contracts or disputes, how to protect your intellectual property, brand rights and protecting against product liability.

International Contracts

Law of the Contract

It is recommended that for an international sale contract where the seller is domiciled in the UK, that the contract expressly states the Law of the Contract is English Law. There should also be a specific reference to a Court of Arbitration in the event of a dispute.
International Contracts of Sale:
Model International Sale Contract: ICC UK bookshop
The International Chambers of Commerce has developed a model international sale contract with a CD Rom.

The Law of Agency

Commercial Agents Regulations: DTI Fact Sheet
For commercial agents dealing in goods rather than services, EU Regulations apply to agreements with agents within the EU. The legislation cannot be excluded and relates to termination clauses, commission payment and the duties and obligations of both principal and agent.

European Legislation

As a member of the EU, the UK is bound by European legislation which is enforced by the European Commission through the European Court of Justice. EU legislation effecting international trade includes rules governing agency agreements and anti-competitive practices, such as monopolies, oligopolies, cartels and restrictive trade.

Competitive Practices:

Office of Fair Trading (OFT)
In the UK competitive practices are regulated by the Office of Fair Trading which addresses anti-competitive practices
Competition Commission
The Competition Commission conducts in-depth inquiries into mergers, markets and the regulation of the major regulated industries.
Competition Act 1998
The main UK legislation governing competitive practices is the Competition Act which mirrors the provisions of the EU Treaty.

Intellectual Property

The UK Intellectual property office 
The UK Intellectual property office can provide details of how to apply for trade marks and patents. You can download fact sheets and application forms.
Chartered Institute of Patent Agents
The Chartered Institute of Patent Agents is the professional and examining body for patent agents. It offers advice on patents and provides a directory of UK patent agents.
Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys
The Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys can give you advice on registering a trademark and provides a directory of Trade Mark Attorneys in the UK.
Intellectual Property: what you need to know

Product Liability

British Standards Institution: Legislation
The Business Standards Institution can look at the legislation and regulations which may affect your products and services. BSI can search and find the relevant legislation or technical regulation, translate the document, extract the relevant sections and explain what effect it is going to have on you as the exporter.

International trade success

Find out how companies in our region have been successful at exporting.

Export support organisations

A list of organisations that can help your business with your exporting needs.