Recently, the outbreak of COVID-19 has seen many businesses change their business strategies and business models to cope with the impact of this pandemic.  Some businesses have been unable to operate at all, while others have had to scale back their usual operations or expand and engage in markets that they had not previously been involved in, in order to remain viable. The closing of business doors has seen traditionally dine-in only restaurants offering take-away, gyms, personal trainers and dance instructors offering more classes online, a flurry of activity in the home delivery sector and an increase in online engagement and interaction.  Some businesses have also expanded their product availability and have branched out to sell other products such as hand sanitiser and toilet paper.

Many businesses are also now reconsidering and reviewing their pre-pandemic business models, to see how they will fit into the post-pandemic climate, and are making adaptations to their businesses so they can continue to operate. For instance, a business may be offering additional goods/ services, using a new trading name or logo, now offering goods/services online or overseas, now engaging with social media platforms or entering into new forms of agreements with suppliers and other third parties.

As a result of these changes, business owners should ensure that the intellectual property of their business, whether newly developed or varied, during these times, is protected and an appropriate intellectual property strategy put in place. For example, this may include trade mark registrations, patent registrations, design registrations, copyright protection, confidentiality agreements, intellectual property licence agreements and so on.

Many businesses may have also made changes to their employment workforce, contractors and subcontractors that may result in different work being performed by these parties beyond that originally anticipated or new agreements being entered into.  Businesses should also consider the impact that these arrangements or agreements have on the ownership of any intellectual property created by such third parties in the course of such arrangements.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.