Not always fair game
19 March 2019: Our Spalding office dealt with a recent enquiry involving a company director who had incurred the wrath of gaming fans following an unsuccessful event, held for players of virtual games to experience something more akin to ‘the real thing’.
The non-attendance of several staff members led to long queues for eager fans and their ire soon turned towards those who had organised the event, including threats to the personal safety of the director. Local press were notified and the story rather snowballed to the point that national press and various internet news sources were giving the event coverage. The old maxim turned out not to be true in this particular case in that not all publicity was good publicity. The negative press resulted in a complete collapse of the public’s trust in the company.
As though all of the above wasn’t enough, the company was also facing legal action from the makers of the game in respect of a copyright issue.
The director took very sensible steps to ensure that there was a cessation of trade as soon as it became clear that it was not viable for the company to continue and that a formal insolvency process was a real prospect. However, there are two cautionary tales to be told:
- Always be careful if using a name or brand if permission to do this has not been sought. Big brands are sensitive to their image and will be quick to act on their copyrights, if they think the brand has been misappropriated.
- A sensible precaution would be to use an agent’s address (such as your accountant’s address) as the registered office and service address for directors at Companies House, rather than a personal address. In this case, the registered office of the company was the director’s home address and this information was available to the public. The threats that were made to the director and his family were considered credible by police and were very disconcerting for the director,
If you or one of your clients are facing uncertain financial times ahead, contact our experienced management team who will be able to guide you through it, no matter how big, small or unusual the issue.