Thursday, October 25, 2012

Cosmetic Tattoo Business Snafu

photos by Ohmargieg
Dear Rich: I have gone into business with someone whereby we created a verbal contract which she confirmed by email. I approached the business woman with an idea of cosmetic tattoos (which obviously wasn't a new idea) we had meetings, we agreed that we would be 50/50 equal partners and would both be directors of the company. Later that week she decided to register the business with companies house without telling me and then on the phone said she would now only offer me a 30% share if I invest my money into the business. This is not what we agreed and she is continuing to set up the business without me. Is there anything I can do about this as we had already agreed upon a deal which is proved by her email comfirming this? This is a little far afield for the Dear Rich Staff. We don't think cosmetic tattoos (unlike their creative brethren) qualify as protectable intellectual property because they are basically a form of permanent makeup. On the other hand, it's a pretty slow mail day and we're looking for reasons not to deal with the iffy guitar interface hooked to our iMac (How many software engineers does it take to change a light bulb? None, it's a hardware problem!)
Right you had a question. You probably don't have any recourse against your supposed partner. You might have a better postion if (1) you made a financial investment or took some other action in reliance upon the agreement (2) you provided trade secret information about your business idea and the other party agreed to keep that information confidential, (3) you had a proprietary idea (one that could be protected under copyright, patent or trademark law) for a business and it was stolen or (4) you formally created a business entity such as an LLC or corporation which required state registration. We weren't sure what you meant by "register the business with companies house" until we Googled it and realized you were in the UK. Although we have similar legal systems, our answers are based on U.S. law.

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