Hello my name is ***** ***** I will help you with this.
For now please let me know whether you have written to the school/Council regarding your concerns please?
Regarding the School incident, this is the second occasion on which this type of thing has happened. In the first instance, in February 2012 I complained to the Council. A council employee came to see me and they suggested that we could provide a tender for the reception desk which was just part of the work involved which we agreed to do, however despite the copied use of our designs in that instance the reception desk was purchased from another contractor.
Because of this experience, when I knew that the same department of the council were dealing with the current project I raised the question with the Council official as to whether the ideas in our proposal would be protected from copying. His response was that we could not claim protection over our ideas and that in the instance of the school wanting our solution they would have the right to use these as the basis to invite tenders. There is some email correspondence.
Indeed. Have you complained to the Chief Officers office yet please?
My complaint in 2012 was initially to the head of that department, I was then put in touch with the Surveyor in charge of Primary schools for the county. He came to see me and suggested that the only potential benefit was for us to allow for us to receive a tender request for the Reception Desk, despite our having submitted a design for the whole scheme for which we would have sub contracted the building elements. We accepted that, they used our ideas to put into their design and then our tender price was rejected, despite the fact that we were aware that the overall tender for the project exceeded our original quotation which had been submitted direct to the school. I let all this go as I anticipated that a challenge beyond that point would simply sour potential future relations with the council. However, when the instance looked as though it may be repeated, I again contacted the same surveyor to ask whether the same situation was likely to recur, his response was that I had no copyright over the ideas contained within our drawings.
Ok - what is it you want to achieve?
I am somewhat more concerned about the hospital as I feel that if I have rights to protect the design of the furniture item we have supplied I would like to gently warn the relevant parties so that tender requests are either not requested or that we can come to some arrangement for recompense.
Sorry, in regard to the school instance, I would like to establish our rights with the council so that they are unable to take the ideas we have produced and use them for tenders. On that basis any competition would be judged on the suitability, either of the Councils own proposal plus price against our Design and Price. In the instance that stands, any other tendering contractor is taking advantage of the time and investment we have invested into the project, which has to be reflected in the margin we add on to the cost of the items we supply.
Ok - you need to write to the Chief Officers office
They can investigate your complaint and are independent of the main department of the Council
They will consider your complaint then report back to you
If you are not satisfied you then need to write and set out your losses and request a payment for breach of copyright within 14 days or say you will go to Court within 14 days. You should make sure you send this recorded delivery and keep a copy.
If they do not pay you then you can issue proceedings in the County Court. You can either do this online at: www.moneyclaim.gov.uk or by completing form N1 http://hmctsformfinder.justice.gov.uk/courtfinder/forms/n001-eng.pdf and take it to your local County Court.
The Court will then issue a claim which a copy will be sent to the Defendant who will have a limited time to defend it, if not you can enter Judgment and enforce.
If the matter is defended it will be set down for a trial. If the claim is for £10,000 or less it will be a small claim and you will not need representation.
Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?
Thanks Alex I understand that this is the instance with regard to the council. Is your advice the same as regards ***** *****? Am I in a position to protect our design (which is a "viewable" product) from the hospital obtaining quotations for further units and potentially obtaining supply from another?
Yes its the same.
Does that help?
I think so, to clarify my thinking, I am inclined to contact the Matron at the Hospital with whom I have been dealing and suggest that obtaining tenders would be a breach of our copyright. She may then put me in touch with the person within the hospital who would be responsible for purchase for these items so that I can repeat the concern, does that seem like a logical first action prior to taking an "official line"? I just want to be sure of my ground before making any threats and potentially damaging future business relationship.
I would go through the complaints process before launching into any Court action
Thanks Alex, I will follow your suggestions. Much appreciated