Terms of Engagement:
When you apply to open an account with our firm, you will be requested to complete and return our standard New Client Form. The New Client Form sets out the terms of engagement for our working and business relationship. These terms of engagement read as follows:
We are committed to offer quality professional legal services against fair, just and reasonable costs.
You agree to give us clear instructions, preferably in writing, for certainty.
We are generally in a position to offer services in English and Afrikaans. However, considering language limitations at various Registries, some documentation may only be available and supplied in English. If you are Afrikaans speaking, and require certain English documentation supplied to be explained in Afrikaans, you are always welcome to contact us by email or telephone for a free Afrikaans explanation. In the event that a trade mark is an English word, we would generally supply English correspondence to avoid mixing languages in formal correspondence. All patent specifications are drafted in English only, as per the law in South Africa.
We will always attempt to advise of fixed costs upfront for approval before proceeding with new formal instructions. Costs quoted will include our professional fees, payment of official fees, office disbursements and payments of possible third parties such as foreign agents and advocates. Although we prefer to work on fixed costs for certainty on costs, and will generally not apply time billing, we advise that the hourly rate of Emmie de Kock is R1800 (excl VAT), Karel Bredenkamp’s hourly rate is R800 (excl VAT), Yolandi Wolmarans’s hourly rate is R1000 (excl VAT), and Thalia le Roy’s hourly rate is R1000 (excl VAT). We will supply you with our Schedule of Charges on request.
Our firm is a VAT vendor and VAT will be added to the costs quoted.
6. Deposits policy:
6.1 We require payment of a full deposit of the quoted amount, inclusive of VAT, for the proposed instruction, before commencing formal instructions. We are happy to provide pro forma invoices, on request.
6.2 We may be prepared to make indulgences on our strict deposit requirement, upon receipt of a formal written request to do so, before commencing formal instructions. In this regard, we may agree to split the payments and only require a 50% deposit payment before proceeding with formal instructions. The balance of the costs in such instance would then be payable immediately and on presentation of our invoice delivered. Such requests will generally not be considered for instructions which will cost less than R10 000 (excl VAT), or which involve third party payments or in respect of our patent attorney’s fees.
6.3 Any other payment arrangements, or indulgences, must be expressly agreed to in writing by our firm.
7. Trust Account:
Deposits are payable into our Trust Account. The details of our Trust Account will be forwarded as soon as we receive formal instructions or issue a pro forma invoice.
8. No instructions:
In the event that urgency prevents us from first confirming costs, indicating or obtaining a deposit before proceeding with formal services, we may take action to protect your rights and you undertake to pay an invoice for such services rendered immediately on presentation of our invoice. This relates in particular to instances where we are awaiting your instructions and obtain extensions of terms in registration or litigation processes to reserve your rights.
9. Unpaid invoices:
If invoices are not paid promptly, we reserve the right to immediately cease rendering services, cease incurring costs on your matters, withdraw as attorneys of record at any time, and take legal action against you to recover such payments. If legal steps are taken for recovery of any amount, you agree to pay the costs of such court proceedings on a scale of attorney and client costs.
If your matter is subject to a deadline, you have to inform us in writing of such deadline by which you require completion of your matter or instruction. We will always put in our best efforts to comply with requested deadlines and advise if we are not able to do so.
11. Turnaround times:
In the course of registration processes, please note that we are dependent on the efficiency of the relevant Registry and communications of foreign agents. We commit to the best turnaround times possible, but cannot guarantee turnaround times where we are dependent on input or facilities of various Registries, which may be unavailable or back-logged from time to time.
We have a very good track record with litigation matters. However, we confirm that litigation may be unpredictable and that positive results cannot be guaranteed. Litigation may be a business strategy. The outcome may depend on the view of the relevant presiding officer.
13. Intellectual Property:
Please note that copyright subsist in our correspondence and documentation. We retain all copyright and other intellectual property rights in all documents we develop or deliver in course of providing the services and grant you a non-exclusive license to use these documents solely for the purposes of your instructions, and not otherwise. If you do not pay us in full for our services in relation to drafting documents, we may revoke our copyright license.
14. Plain language:
We will always attempt to communicate in plain language. If we have furnished you with a written opinion or document, you are always welcome to contact our office for a free discussion in plain language, if the language of the document is not completely clear or understandable.
15. Personal data:
We respect your privacy and confirm that your personal information will be kept confidential, and will not be disclosed, or sold to third parties, unless required by law. We will make our best efforts to secure your personal information on our systems.
In addition to completing our New Client Form, you agree to furnish us promptly with additional details to comply with all relevant FICA requirements when called upon to do so.
You agree that you would like to receive information from our firm relating to services of our firm which may improve your rights, or relate to your business, or relevant legal developments. In the event of electronic newsletters, you will have the option to unsubscribe at any time.
We aim to provide a personal service and build trust. In the unlikely event that we have a misunderstanding, or you are unsatisfied with our services on any level, please contact our Managing Principal, Mrs Emmie de Kock directly, before considering laying a formal complaint at any different forum. Emmie’s cell phone number is 082 704 1774.
19. Professional liability:
We are in possession of a valid Fidelity Fund Certificate and are very well qualified to offer services relating to intellectual property law. The qualifications and extensive work experiences of our firm’s members are reflected on our firm’s profile published on our website at www.dekock.co.za. From time to time, it may become necessary to involve additional legal experts to offer a more comprehensive range of services. In the event that we instruct a legal professional to provide expert services to our clients on a consultancy basis, for instance, for foreign legal services, drafting of complex patent specifications, advocate services, or related legal services outside the scope of our core legal services, our professional liability will be limited and not cover the liability relating to possible complaints against such third parties for possible gross negligence relating to professional services rendered. Professional experts, such as advocates, consulted on this basis will bear professional liabilities for their own services rendered in this regard. We will only involve legal professionals who are very well qualified and experts in their specific fields.
20. Contact details:
The registration process of trade marks, in particular in South Africa, is a fairly long process and it is important that we keep contact throughout that process, also for sake of possible trade mark and patent renewals. You agree that the details provided above are correct and accurate. You agree to inform us of any changes of the above contact details within a reasonable time of such changes. In the event that your contact details have changed, and we have taken reasonable steps on our own costs to locate your new contact details, and have failed to locate your new contact details within 6 months, we are entitled to cease providing services and withdraw as address for services. “Reasonable steps” will include registered post, telephone, fax and email contacts, and searches on the internet and Company Register.
The terms of this document constitute the basis of our engagement and the signed document is a valid agreement between our firm and the instructor indicated. The signatory hereof, confirm that he/she is duly authorised to bind the instructor indicated above to these terms and agreement. Changes to this agreement must be reduced to writing.