Lawyers suitable for cosmetics business

I am about to sign a few work contracts with some people and I require a lawyer. I feel overwhelmed since it is just me vs a large team of people. 

Forgive me if this is an ignorant question but what kind of lawyer is required  for the personal care and cosmetics business ? Terms like exclusivity, NDA, patents are being thrown around. 

Thanks

Comments

  • MarkBroussardMarkBroussard Member, Professional Chemist
    @Cafe33

    You need a general business attorney with experience in contract law and have her/him put together for you a basic set of contracts.  Of course, you may modify those contracts on occassion.  My experience is that I rarely get requests for contract modifications, so if your base contracts are thorough and fair you should be able to use them for virtually all of your clients.

    I'll note that when I have a potential client request contract modifications, it always tells me the client may be difficult to work with and/or their legal counsel does not understand why certain clauses are in the contract.  If the potential client is difficult in the contract negotiations, it won't get any better once you start formulating.   
    Chemist/Microbiologist formulating in the Organic & Naturals & Clean Beauty arena under ECOCert/Natural Products Assn/Whole Foods/National Organic Program/Clean At Sephora/Credo Clean guidelines focused skincare & haircare products. 

    See website for details www.desertinbloomcosmeticslab.com
  • Thanks Mark. The main client is a very wealthy man in Mexico city and is only used to hearing Si Senor. I already had to go up against his lawyers saying that they want all of the formulas patented. I managed to convince him that it is a waste of money and time. Some members of his team are not happy about that since I think they wanted to cash in. An interesting set of dynamics I have to say, I feel like I am in a movie. 
  • MarkBroussardMarkBroussard Member, Professional Chemist
    Patents ... on cosmetic products? ... Unless you can come up with something patentable, that's extraordinarily difficult is cosmetics.
    Chemist/Microbiologist formulating in the Organic & Naturals & Clean Beauty arena under ECOCert/Natural Products Assn/Whole Foods/National Organic Program/Clean At Sephora/Credo Clean guidelines focused skincare & haircare products. 

    See website for details www.desertinbloomcosmeticslab.com
  • If they have money and time to waste, maybe let them have their way with design patent or stupid new ingredient patent.

    Sounds like you're caught up in money laundring thriller. B) B) B)
  • Well it has been a surreal experience so far. I suspect that the lawyer suggesting patents is misleading his client. I was told that the client has many hang-arounds who are trying to extract $ from him. This will be my first large order after nearly 3 years of working in this field and living on my savings. I have had to adapt to some of the eccentric behavior. From his wife spreading fresh avocado on her hands and face during dinner to a 6 hour price negotiation, screaming that he wants ginger in his shampoo while wearing a taekwondo gi the entire time. 
  • SylSyl Member
    My heart goes out to you. I have 30 years of experience in sales in the US biotech industry. I have dealt with many difficult customers and situations, but nothing close to what you are describing.
  • Congrats on the job and my heart goes out to you.

    It's just the way rich people live lol.
    I had to go and stay in our costumer's house ( I wouldn't call it a house tho, it's more like 3 villas in the same fence ) for 3 days and he took me golfing, fishing, dinning, parties, blabla without a single word of business but at the end he payed easily. It's cultural thing we marketer/sale-rep have to learn over time.
    It's better than rich(?) people who talk big but don't actually have the $.

    Good luck. Cheers!!!
  • MarkBroussardMarkBroussard Member, Professional Chemist
    @Cafe33

    There's a couple of things you will learn about wealthy individuals as clients.  They can be difficult to deal with, on occassion, because they have grown accustomed to people catering to them because they are wealthy or because they have the money to do whatever they want to. 

    Most importantly, they did not get wealthy by throwing away money and can be quite tight with it.  You simply have to tolerate any eccentricities, to an extent, and treat them like you do every other client.  They will always respect you if you stick to making good, logical business decisions with sound reasoning as opposed to pandering to their whims.

    Focus on the products ... if he wants Ginger in the shampoo, do it ... it doesn't matter what he's wearing, just keep your attention focused on the products.

    I once got trapped for a week by a potential client in his private compound at the top of a mountain overlooking the ocean above Malibu. I walked away from the business opportunity because it was not worth the headache of dealing with someone so wealthy, yet very cheap, and eccentric.  At the end of the day, every client's money is green, so don't get seduced by the fact that someone has a lot of it because they will pay you for your work at market rate, but certainly not any more than market rate.       
    Chemist/Microbiologist formulating in the Organic & Naturals & Clean Beauty arena under ECOCert/Natural Products Assn/Whole Foods/National Organic Program/Clean At Sephora/Credo Clean guidelines focused skincare & haircare products. 

    See website for details www.desertinbloomcosmeticslab.com
  • Everyone's support and input is deeply appreciated.

    The challenge has been to neutralize the entourage of vultures around him. If I thought something was a bad idea, I told him. I guided him the best way I can. At one dinner meeting, I took him aside and explained the absurdity of unenforceable patents on 18 different product types. Some people in the entourage did not like that one bit but he is the client and the bottom line. I think that trust has been built. 
  • MarkBroussardMarkBroussard Member, Professional Chemist
    The question is:  What exactly is it that you are developing the they think is patentable?  You are not granted a patent just because you apply for one ... you must have something unique.  Perhaps best to just let them consult with a patent attorney and let him advise on the patentability of your formulas.
    Chemist/Microbiologist formulating in the Organic & Naturals & Clean Beauty arena under ECOCert/Natural Products Assn/Whole Foods/National Organic Program/Clean At Sephora/Credo Clean guidelines focused skincare & haircare products. 

    See website for details www.desertinbloomcosmeticslab.com
  • Cafe33Cafe33 Member
    edited October 2021
    They are not patentable. Out of 18 product types, one could arguably be investigated. A lawyer got into the ear of the clients wife and this is how the seed was planted. They did not pay for the formula, my quote was for private label service.

    Mexico does not have a bar system. Lawyers can join a private bar however it is not mandatory. Professional licenses are issued by the Dirección General de Profesiones once a 4 year course is completed after high school. Once the 4 year program is complete, no matter how good or bad, they are granted a license. 

    To complicate things further, there is no distinction between the types of law degrees and specializations. A lawyer is a lawyer. That means that a lawyer with zero patent experience can easily pretend that he is competent in whatever is being talked about. Abuse and misrepresentation is rampant. 
  • MarkBroussardMarkBroussard Member, Professional Chemist
    edited October 2021
    @Cafe:

    Well, the simple issue is:  How are they going to patent intellecutal property that they do not own?  You would have to consent, but, if you are already selling these product to other consumers, then the products/composition is already in the public domain and is therefore not patentable.

    Another thing you are learning about wealthy individuals as clients:  You don't necessarily have to be terribly intelligent to become very wealthy.  
    Chemist/Microbiologist formulating in the Organic & Naturals & Clean Beauty arena under ECOCert/Natural Products Assn/Whole Foods/National Organic Program/Clean At Sephora/Credo Clean guidelines focused skincare & haircare products. 

    See website for details www.desertinbloomcosmeticslab.com
  • Cafe33Cafe33 Member
    edited October 2021
    So to give a an update on this discussion, I ended up being added to a whatsapp group for the girlfriends branding and marketing team without my approval. Then they all pushed for a Zoom meeting which I did not attend. 

    I imagined MarkBroussard and others on this thread coaching me and I addressed the group and said that a new contract has to be negotiated and this is not part of the services I quoted. I left the group and msged her privately saying that I do not work for free and that payment has to be made for me to continue. She replied with ..we are a team, helping each other... So I repeated the word payment I dont know how many times. I accepted the idea of walking away and yesterday the payment was made.  Part of me wishes it never happened since I have a feeling it will be quite a pain in the you know what. It might be okay because I established that I am willing to walk away and wont be pushed around.
  • MarkBroussardMarkBroussard Member, Professional Chemist
    @Cafe33

    Another word of advice.  Do not, under any circumstances, turn over the full formula to this client prior to being paid in full, in advance of releasing the formula. When you receive the final payment, you release the formula.  One other thing about wealthy individuals ... sometimes they don't like to pay their bills.
    Chemist/Microbiologist formulating in the Organic & Naturals & Clean Beauty arena under ECOCert/Natural Products Assn/Whole Foods/National Organic Program/Clean At Sephora/Credo Clean guidelines focused skincare & haircare products. 

    See website for details www.desertinbloomcosmeticslab.com
  • Thank you Mark. This particular client did not pay for any formulas. They paid for customized private label products. I have another potential client, a salon owner with 4 different locations. She is much more reasonable and easier to deal with. She wants 5 different formulations and wants to own the formulas. 

    Do you ask for half the payment first or do you collect the entire payment before starting the work ? I understand that the formulas are not to be released until full payment is made. 
  • PhilGeisPhilGeis Member, Professional formulator
    To the contracts and NDA's - do not be afraid to push back - even lining out offending sections with initials and dates.  I often find clients have little idea what is actually in the documents have me sign and explaining the change is usually no issue.  One common boiler plate issue is indemnification and "don't worry, we'd never do that" is not acceptable.
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