What key information should you include on your website?
Written By Jo Eales Solicitor
Various company, commercial and data protection laws dictate website information requirements. They also vary considerably depending on the structure of a business, whether goods or services are sold, and the complexity of an online platform.
Although not strictly an “intellectual property” issue, it is essential to check whether your website contains the basic information required by law for your activity on an ongoing basis.
Key Company Information
As a minimum, registered companies should include the following:
- registered company name;
- company registration number;
- the part of the UK where the company is registered (e.g., “registered in England and Wales”);
- the registered office address;
- trading address (e.g., postal address);
- email address and phone number;
- VAT registration number (where relevant);
- any regulatory, trade or professional body the company is subject to.
The following requirements also apply if a company hits any of the following criteria:
- it is exempt from the obligation to use the word “limited”, then you need to disclose that the company is a limited company;
- in the case of non-public CIC’s, the fact that it is a “limited” company;
- in the case of investment companies, the fact that it is such a company;
- where a company has a share capital, disclosure as to the amount of share capital.
Even if your company is not registered, a website should still include the business/individual’s name, trading address, contact details (phone and/or email), and VAT registration number (where relevant).
Compliance with UK GDPR and other data protection laws is now business critical.
Intellectual property notices – such as ™ or ® for trade marks and © for copyright are not mandatory.
However, they are essential, as they flag that the company owns certain intellectual property rights. Therefore, using notices on a website is a simple way to alert users of your proprietary rights – which in turn can assist in deterring infringement.
It is common to include a general copyright and trade mark notice at the footer of a website, such as the following:
© Stratagem IPM Limited 2023. All rights reserved.
Stratagem ® is as registered trade mark of Stratagem Intellectual Property Management Limited.
Remember, it is a criminal offence under the Trade Marks Act 1994 to use the ® symbol on an unregistered trade mark. Thus, the word “registered” or ® symbol should only be used against registered marks.
It is sensible to have a set of website terms and conditions. These often repeat the basic company information noted above but also set the parameters of what a user can/cannot reasonably do with information on your website, including concerning any intellectual property-protected works. Website T&Cs can also set out the extent of your general liability (if any) to website users and act as a disclaimer.
Supplying goods and/or services
If you are supplying goods or services from your website directly, other general information requirements apply as a result of the Electronic Commerce (EC Directive) Regulations 2002 and the Provision of Services Regulations 2009.
Again, many of the information requirements repeat some of the company information requirements listed above. However, an email address is legally required to ensure that communication relating to the service provision can be done “effectively” and “rapidly”. Any pricing information must also be indicated clearly and unambiguously.
Additionally, you will need some terms and conditions of sale. B2C transactions, in particular, have enhanced and detailed information requirements that must be followed before contracts are concluded with consumers; these must be considered carefully to comply with consumer protection laws.
“Commercial organisations” with a larger turnover (£36m+ annually) are required by the Modern Slavery Act 2015 to disclose a modern slavery statement on their website each year and place a link in a prominent place on the homepage. The statement must essentially set out the steps taken to prevent modern slavery in the company and within any of its supply chains.
For further information regarding your website or IP requirements, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Don't be afraid to talk to us
It costs nothing for you to contact us.