Archives for September 2020

Categories of discovery – Federal Court

On 1 August 2011 the Federal Court of Australia (Federal Court) adopted the Federal Court Rules 2011 (Cth) (Rules) and its revised regime for discovery.  The Federal Court does not require parties to provide disclosure as a matter of course.  Instead, if a party wishes to receive documents from another party (or a third party), they must seek the Court’s permission.  This process in the Federal Court of Australia is known as discovery.  The Rules are to be read in conjunction with the relevant Federal Court practice notes, particularly Central Practice Note: National Court Framework and Case Management (CPN-1) and Intellectual Property Practice Note (IP-1).  In this article, we consider the process of seeking discovery of documents by categories in a matter before the Federal Court. [Read more…]

Shareholders’ agreements & deadlock clauses

One of the most important issues to be addressed by a Shareholders’ Agreement is what happens where the directors or shareholders cannot agree and a deadlock arises.  In cases where voting of Directors of a board is proportional to the shareholding represented by the appointed director, or there can be a deadlock caused by “one vote, one director” care needs to be taken to ensure that control can be exercised by addressing the deadlock issue.  Of course the deadlock can also be between shareholders. [Read more…]

My client poached my software developers – what can I do?

Imagine this – it’s taken you almost a decade, you’ve created a successful software development business with many happy long-term clients, a stable team and a great reputation.  More recently you’ve even created a funky new millennial style brand!  One day an employee resigns and the next week another one resigns.   The following week your biggest client breaks their long-term engagement with you and then another one of your team resigns!   You get suspicious, do some investigations and discover the former employees are working in-house for your ex-client!

It is not uncommon for clients (Clients) of professional service businesses (Service Provider) to poach the employees of the Service Provider.  The software development sector is a prime example where this occurs. [Read more…]

What are cooperative marketing funds?

Cooperative marketing funds allow franchisors to combine contributions from franchisees, to undertake advertising or promotional campaigns on behalf of the entire network.  This framework allows franchisors to implement marketing that would otherwise have been beyond reach financially.  However, it is important franchisors are aware of their obligations under the Competition and Consumer (Industry Codes – Franchising) Regulation 2014 (Franchising Code). [Read more…]

Emojis used online can be defamatory – watch out!

In the recent New South Wales case of Burrows v Houda [2020] NSWDC 485 , the Court was faced with the difficult question of whether an emoji is capable of having a defamatory meaning.  As the case was a first for Australia, the Court relied upon UK case law, as well as the ordinary definition of ‘emoji’, in considering the meaning behind the emoji used. [Read more…]

Preliminary discovery granted in patent proceedings

The Federal Court of Australia has allowed an application for preliminary discovery of documents related to the components of a ‘sealing composition’ and methods of using it to seal passages.  In the case of Sovereign Hydroseal Pty Ltd v Steynberg [2020] FCA 1084, the Federal Court considered whether preliminary discovery can be used by a patentee to inform its decision-making in relation to whether to commence a proceeding in respect of potential patent infringement. [Read more…]

Consolidating related proceedings in the Federal Court

In civil litigation it is surprisingly common for the parties to have more than one matter before the Court with overlapping fact matrices.  Rule 30.11 of the Federal Court Rules 2011 (Cth) (Rules) provides a mechanism by which the Federal Court, at the request of one or more of the parties to separate proceedings, can consolidate two or more separate but related proceedings. [Read more…]

Indirect patent infringement – lessons from Quaker Chemical

In the recent decision of Quaker Chemical (Australasia) Pty ltd v Fuchs Lubricants (Australasia) Pty Ltd (No 2) [2020] FCA 306 (Quaker Chemical) the Federal Court of Australia decided that a company had indirectly infringed two (2) patents by supplying its customers with a product, because its use by customers would have infringed the methods of the patents. [Read more…]

Aristocrat hits the jackpot in Federal Court ruling

In the recent decision in Aristocrat Technologies Australia Pty Limited v Commissioner of Patents [2020] FCA 778 (Aristocrat Case), the Federal Court had to consider whether a claim in four (4) innovation patents directed to an electronic gaming machine (EGM), having a combination of physical parts and computer software for gameplay, was a manner of manufacture.  The Federal Court ultimately found that the delegate of the Commissioner of Patents (Delegate) had erred in deciding that the claims were not a manner of manufacture. [Read more…]

Software patent allowed for tracking user action

In the recent case of Facebook, Inc. [2020] APO 19 (Facebook Inc.), the Patent’s office considered whether software that tracks the installation of applications on mobile devices following interactions with advertisements qualifies as a manner of manufacture and is therefore patentable subject matter. [Read more…]

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