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F E Smith
F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
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Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
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I could do with some advice please regarding the threat of

Resolved Question:

Hi
I could do with some advice please regarding the threat of legal action
from Cranfield University against me/my 2 companies in the email below
A little history first. I set up the first business club in June 2005 and
it was run with the Business Growth Partnership ltd ( accompany external
to Cranfield University), who provided the administration. Indeed 2 of the
original members are still members. I subsequently created a second
business club. A significant proportion of these members in 2010 are still
members today.
In Jan 2010 as part of me becoming BGP Leader at Cranfield I transferred
the administration of the Clubs to Cranfield. They received 25% of the
fees for processing membership forms, invoices etc and for giving me
access to opportunities to convert new members to the club. In due course
2012 I created a third Club. Cranfield branded the Clubs accordingly
Since Jan 2016 I have been removed as BGP Leader and have been provided
with no new opportunities to attract new members to the Clubs. I was not given 12 months notice which I had verbally agreed with email verification with the previous Professor who I reported to.
I have subsequently told all the current members that I will be operating another
version of the Club (enhanced with additional services and operating it
internally) from 1st Oct 2016. 90% of the members now want to work with me
in the new business clubs. All are free to sample other Cranfield Business
Clubs as there are other ones in the same geographical area that my three
operate in.
There is no written contract or notice required between me/my companies and
Cranfield or notice required of members either.
Cranfield have had zero input into the design of my Clubs, or any of the
content I deliver or per-scripted any one to one requirments or audit of
my work. They simply collected the money and let me convert prospects.
Indeed any difficult debt I had to collect and they won’t pay me for any
bad debt even if I have provided the service.
Approaches
1) Ignore it and await any action
2) Inform them that I created and operated Business Clubs before 2010 and
so own the format already
3) Counter threat with 12 months notithat they are using my content on their
programmes (BGP & Essential Management) without my permission and will be
seeking legal advice
Please can you advise what are the consequences
Thank you
Kind Regards
***** ***** MBA, FCCA, BA, Grad IPD
Director High Peak Projects Ltd
Wood House, Swallow House Lane, Hayfield. SK22 2HB
M: 07976 936155
T: 01663 745735
E:***@******.***
On 29/09/2016 18:10, "Butcher, David" wrote:
Mark,
Further to your note below and our subsequent conversation, I have today
asked the University to rescind your visiting fellowship with immediate
effect. You will receive formal notice of that shortly. You should not
claim a continuing professional association with Cranfield of any kind or
to anyone henceforth. Furthermore, given you have told me that every
member of the three Cranfield BGP clubs you have facilitated wish to
cancel their memberships from 30th September, I intend to advise the
University's legal representatives that we will consider legal action
against you upon any evidence that these groups continue to exist with
the same membership, where you maintain a commercial involvement with
them. I am doing this in order to protect Cranfield University's
interests as the owner of the Business Growth Programme Clubs.
David
Dr David Butcher
Director, Executive Development Programmes
Director, Centre for General Management Development
Cranfield University School of Management
From: Butcher, David
Sent: 28 September 2016 16:30
To: '***** *****'
Cc: Trotter, Julie
Subject: RE: Cancellation of BGP Club Membership WEF 30th Sept 2016
Mark,
Before I act on behalf of Cranfield in the light the information you have
just provided, I am in no doubt that a conversation with you would be
important. Trusting you agree, when could we speak either this evening or
tomorrow?
Regards,
David
Dr David Butcher
Director, Executive Development Programmes
Director, Centre for General Management Development
Cranfield University School of Management
From: ***** ***** [mailto***@******.***]
Sent: 28 September 2016 16:20
To: ***** *****
Cc: Trotter, Julie
Subject: Cancellation of BGP Club Membership WEF 30th Sept 2016
David
I am writing to inform you that all members from M1, M6 and London
Cranfield BGP Clubs will be cancelling their membership with effect from
30th Sept 2016
Kind Regards
***** ***** MBA, FCCA, BA, Grad IPD
Submitted: 3 months ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  F E Smith replied 3 months ago.

I have read the details and the exchange of emails. What exactly is it that they are threatening and why?

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
It is because I have decided I no longer want to operate the Clubs through Cranfield University and want to return to running them independent of them. The verbal "JV" is no longer working. I have no idea what they are threatening to do an injunction?Thank you
Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Hi it is because I am going to return to running the Clubs independent of Cranfield University and they will lose their 25% fee. No idea what they are threatening to do
Expert:  F E Smith replied 3 months ago.

Thank you. There is no agreement between you and hence, there is no restrictive covenant and there is nothing to stop you leaving and setting up your own organisation doing exactly what you are doing with them.

There is no intellectual property in a client. Hence, if you happen to know all the clients names and addresses of the top of your head, then you are free to use those names and addresses.

However there is intellectual property in the list of names and addresses and if you took the list of names and addresses and were using those, it is actually a criminal offence.

A financial adviser was recently ordered to pay £10,000 for taking a list of clients from his previous employer. I will say that is not common but it is a potential risk if it is something that you have done.

http://www.exeterexpressandecho.co.uk/financial-adviser-ordered-pay-compensation-taking/story-29153223-detail/story.html

My suggestion would be to write to them asked them what they are alleging in respect of any breaches and what legal action they are proposing and that whatever they do, you will defend those proceedings. If they don’t reply, I suggest that you press the really hard, to the extent of even getting a solicitor to write. Otherwise, this could be hanging over you for a considerable time.

I don’t see that they have a good case to bring any legal proceedings, if at all.

It is imperative that you do not mention your tie-up with the University in any form at all with your new business.

Can I clarify anything for you?

Please rate the service positive.

The thread remains open for further exchanges.

Best wishes

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
HiThank you for the advice what is the chance of them saying I am passing off and try to place an injunction on me?Mark
Expert:  F E Smith replied 3 months ago.

Unless you are in some way saying you are part of the University or using the logo, I think very little.

The test will be whether the average man in the street look to your business and looked at there’s and decided that it was the same organisation. Not that it was the same type of business because there is no intellectual property in an idea.

F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 8733
Experience: I have been practising for 30 years.
F E Smith and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Thank you that make sense

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