Contract Enforcement and Intellectual Property Protection

The late Johnny Burt and myself

The late Johnny Burt trained for decades in military unarmed combat and military self-defence in Todd/Baldock and Bolton systems. He had a huge heart knew the true meaning of loyalty with honour and had a love of the law.

Johnny would give you the shirt off his back but did not take kindly to fools or fraudsters that tried to take liberties.

Johnny was as strong as a bull and not fazed by aggression and through determination late in his life qualified as a lawyer.

He told me a fight’s a fight whether it is hands or in a court of law and you should use every tool at your disposal to right a wrong.

I spent many a late night with Johnny discussing the law and he was a firm believer in enforcing your legal rights.

I have a number of legal friends that I have the utmost respect for that have assisted me when their advice and expertise has been required ensuring positive outcomes.

Just like protecting yourself, you should protect what is rightfully yours when contracts are breached, and your intellectual property rights are infringed.

Most martial arts styles schools in New Zealand are not operated by the owner/developer of the style and as such the techniques that make up their style may not in fact be their intellectual property.

Many instructors of such schools could not lay claim to ownership of the official and often ancient style or techniques that have been legally protected.

The Todd Group are the legal owners of the Todd Systems of military CQC/MSD/CPP/DT.

Being the legal owner of the doctrine including the most current Todd Group developed tactics and skills that make up the training programs and packages comes with a great responsibility in protecting such material and information to ensure it responsibly released instructed and delivered. Todd Group HQ being the official source and owners of the Todd Systems skills tactics and programs as well as the inventors and manufacturers of Todd Group equipment puts it in a different category to the majority.

The Todd Group, formerly the Baldock Institute, established in 1927, has a long history of being innovators in the development of tactics, skills, equipment, weapons, and methods of training and put high emphasis on the protection of our intellectual property for commercial and professional responsible training provider’s reasons.

The Todd Group inherited lineage is directly from the official sources and the right to such trade craft expertise come at a considerable cost and through personal sacrifice.

I am only the second chief instructor in 91 years as a result of taking over the old Baldock institute now the Todd Group directly from the founding chief instructor Harry Baldock.

I was individually trained and qualified by the now late Harry Baldock and acquired the sole rights to the Baldock unarmed combat and self-defence systems as well as other trade craft practices.

This was an agreement that included the requirement to work as Harry’s assistant until the takeover as well as the purchase of the chattels.

Pursuit of the most current and proven knowledge required me to travel and train overseas extensively between the mid-80s and late 1990s.

Achieving instructor qualifications from some of the World War II senior and chief instructors and the next generation of military Master Instructors was a commitment to ensure I received the best possible training in the field of military armed and unarmed combat, military self-defence as well as police defensive tactics and specialist close personal protection.

This required a substantial personal and financial sacrifice, but was a commitment necessary to being the very best proponent and instructor I could be.

Being directly trained from expert military chief instructors not only provided training and testing challenges but also provided instruction in tactics and skills development as well as the development of training equipment and weapons.

Being trained in problem solving as well as tactics and skills development specifically for the battle field and military operational requirements is a must to ensure you can arm your understudies with the best means of threat neutralisation.

I was very fortunate to have the trust support and assistance of some of the very best military self-defence and military close quarter’s combat instructors.

Being a civilian selected to military elite forces hand to hand combat instructor test and qualify as well as achieve military elite forces Master instructor qualification required an uncompromising commitment.

It also required demonstrating the right character traits demeanour and attitude and a relentless commitment to the pursuit of CQC/MSD excellence.

Some of my former instructors were very successful in business, including in the design and manufacture of military close combat weapons.

Some learned the hard way training or associating with unscrupulous people with hidden agendas and a lack of integrity and through such experiences they were able to give me good advice on how to protect my intellectual property.

This included having an understanding of invention protection and the requirements of patent and Trade Mark applications as well as having contracts and official application/course joining forms written up.

Over my 40+ years I’ve had to deal with some civil lawsuits and fortunately through attention to detail before the fact and maintaining records of all contracts business dealings and undertakings the outcomes have been 100% positive.

It is very important that you protect your assets and intellectual property by getting good legal advice from the outset.

I have been very fortunate to not only have good legal business representation but also have some good long term legal friends that are very helpful to me.

I personally have had to hire lawyers that specialise in specific types of civil litigation to ensure I have had the best specific representation and it has paid off.

The Todd Group has member contracts to protect the integrity of the group and is teachings.

Serious consideration must be given to the nature of the training provision and the responsibilities that come with it to ensure it is only delivered by the official training organisation or by contractually approved current staff assigned by the official training organisation.

While we can’t determine what will happen in the future with individual members or former members we must do our best to ensure that our actions are responsible in relation to society and protecting the integrity of the official training organisation.

Anyone that breaches their conditions of their membership contracts or conduct themselves in breach of their code of conduct ending in their resignation or membership being revoked will lose all their rights and privileges.

In days gone by differences, disputes and disciplinary action may well have been sorted out in a different manner. However, today we are far more civilised and if you have conviction in your protection of your intellectual property and assets, then this requires legal contracts/agreements/declarations and if there are breaches or infringements, legal advice and representation.

There are wide reaching forms of protection including trade secret protection, where it may be a case of requiring licensing of trade secrets.

There are wide ranging civil litigation proceedings options at one’s disposal, including the Disputes Tribunal, District Court and High Court.

Breaches and infringements come in many forms, including the theft of digital information.

While many cases are settled out of court, some require the court to a make judgement and decide on damages claims.

While it is possible to get name suppression for civil court proceedings the court would have to decide if name suppression should be provided under the circumstances and if it would it be in the best interest of those involved including public interest.

While rare, there have been cases in which people have been formally criminally charged with copyright infringement offences and received prison sentences.

One of the courses of action that your lawyer may recommend is to name and release public disclaimers of the individual or organisation breaching the contract to absolve yourself and your organisation from liability as a result of a breach of contract as a result of your trade craft tactics and skills being delivered by an unauthorised unqualified individual or organisation.

We have had to enlist the services of lawyers in foreign countries where we have discovered possible infringements of our patented inventions.

While taking civil litigation against those that breach contracts or infringe patterns or copyrights may be an expensive undertaking, it is often the best means of protecting your intellectual property and ensuring the integrity of your inventions and services are maintained or restored and you are compensated by way of awarded damages.

Contracts that are clear and to the point are drawn up for good reason and signed dated and witnessed so all parties understand fully the meanings restraints and actions in relation to breaches or infringements.

Having all people privy to your intellectual property under strict contract agreements and maintaining accurate records of trade craft secrets including tactics and skills development and all staff/assistants/persons privy to your intellectual property is essential, should civil or criminal proceedings be required.

In a very specialist and unique trade craft such as a European military close quarters combat and military self-defence the likelihood of infringements and breaches remaining confidential is unlikely.

Whistle-blowers are common and the grape vine rapid through related connections and individuals of integrity that do not want to be involved with unscrupulous individuals and want to do the right thing. It is important that witnesses make statements to your lawyers as part of taking civil litigation action.

Serious committed selfless proponents and instructors respect the chain of command contractual agreements and the ownership of trade craft intellectual property.

Condemnation is the reality when unscrupulous individuals breach contracts, steal trade craft secrets or infringe on others’ intellectual property.

To me it is quite simplistic. If you don’t own it, did not earn or pay for the rights of ownership and you have agreed to a contract and signed a declaration then its black-and-white.

While civil litigation comes with expenses and can take time, it is a very valuable tool at your disposal to right a wrong and seek damages.

Those that breach or infringe may think they can get away with it but they overlook civil litigation which could cost them dearly not to mention the negative public exposure.

There are a range of options at your disposal and you may well require a lawyer that specialises in a specific field for your case in question.

I believe when someone takes a liberty, disrespects you, shows a lack of integrity, breaches contracts, or infringes intellectual property rights, then you get the best legal representation you can afford and fight it to the very end exhausting every option at your disposal.

Article written by Tank Todd

Special Operations CQB Master Chief Instructor. Over 30 years experience. The only instructor qualified descendent of Baldock, Nelson, and Applegate. Former instructors include Harry Baldock (unarmed combat instructor NZ Army WWII), Colonel Rex Applegate OSS WWII and Charles Nelson, US Marine Corps. Tank has passed his Special Forces combative instructor qualification course in Southeast Asia and is certified to instruct the Applegate, Baldock and Nelson systems. His school has been operating for over eighty years and he is currently an Army Special Operations Group CQB Master Chief Instructor. His lineage and qualifications from the evolutionary pioneers are equalled by no other military close combat instructor. His operation includes his New Zealand headquarters, and 30 depots worldwide as well as contracts to train the military elite, security forces, and close protection specialists. Annually he trains thousands of exponents and serious operators that travel down-under to learn from the direct descendant of the experts and pioneers of military close combat. Following in the footsteps of his former seniors, he has developed weapons, and training equipment exclusive to close combat and tactical applications. He has published military manuals and several civilian manuals and produced DVDs on urban self protection, tactical control and restraint, and close combat. He has racked up an impressive 100,000+ hours in close combat.