For many years, frame manufacturer Hoei Denmark drafted its own business contracts, but as the range of products and the group of business partners expanded, the company needed to establish clearer lines.
“We’ve produced frames for a century and for four generations, and we’ve generally drafted our own business contracts. However, as our business and indeed the world gradually became more complex, we needed to secure our own and our suppliers’ rights in terms of, for instance, exclusive rights, prices and licences,” Christian Høi explains.
Christian, who was named after his great-grandfather, is the CEO and owner of the company. Over the years, the company has supplied Ikea, to name but one, with more than half a million copies each of Monet’s Blue Water Lilies and Van Gogh’s Café Terrace at Night.
Expert advice at a reasonable price
Securing rights is essential, not least for the artists who produce works which are subsequently digitised and copied by Hoei Denmark to be used for posters or pictures printed on canvas, etc., which is why the manufacturer asked Patrade for advice on the drafting of a royalty agreement.
“We needed to ensure that we had the right to reprint the artists’ original works, and we needed to establish a mutually satisfactory framework for paying our suppliers. It’s crucial for us to treat our business partners decently while at the same time providing assurance to our customers at the other end. BoConcept and Salling Group are among our customers who need assurance that we have the rights to the products we sell them,” says Christian.
He had anticipated that it would be very costly to seek legal assistance but was pleasantly surprised – both with respect to the price and the collaboration generally.
“It actually didn’t cost an arm and a leg to obtain exceptionally thorough and valuable advice. Moreover, it’s been a positive experience to meet an adviser who went above and beyond to understand our business, acted swiftly, followed up and made sure to involve other people with the right skills at Patrade, so that I’ve had a single point of contact throughout the process,” Christian explains.
Everything in one place
He also sought Patrade’s advice in a domain case, in which another business had used the Hoei name for a number of years. Patrade reviewed the dispute and later assisted in bringing the case before the Danish Complaints Board for Domain Names, which eventually found in favour of Hoei. Finally, Patrade also assisted Hoei in a matter where Hoei wished to ensure that the artist would not infringe any third-party rights by using quotes from a famous song in one of the planned artworks.
“Someone else could have dealt with the domain case, but we see tremendous value in being able to bring all our issues to a single adviser, so we can devote our time and efforts to running our business and stay on track with what we’re good at. At the same time, Patrade has equipped us to enter into better partnerships with our suppliers by advising us on far more potential solutions than were included in the final contract. Our artists are ordinary people who might feel intimidated by a very bombastic legal contract. Patrade identified the essence of our needs and understood that it’s no good alienating them with swanky legal jargon. Instead, it’s important to strike a good balance in the agreements we offer our partners,” says Christian.
He feels that the collaboration with Patrade has given the company know-how, peace of mind and value for money, and he emphasises particularly the value of a good working relationship combined with professional advice.
“We’ve now got a contractual framework that strengthens our business and makes us a safer and more attractive business partner. Needless to say, being assured that we don’t infringe others’ rights and that others do not infringe our rights, and that we can confidently put our products on the market, is immensely important,” concludes Christian.