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…]

The use of IRUs in a telecommunications capacity

Indefeasible rights of use agreements (IRU’s) are commonly used in telecommunications agreements for the supply of cable system capacity services.  IRU’s have specific tax treatment under section 995.1 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 (Cth) and are treated as capital expenditure for suppliers and customers.  Tax considerations play a central role in structuring IRU’s. Below, we set out the key areas an IRU must cover to be tax compliant. [Read more…]

Force majeure in a major pandemic

To say the world has been turned upside down is all but literally true in many respects.  Where there is the slightest sneeze of Covid-19, governments have made shut down decisions that that have impacted the ability of businesses to operate and perform their contractual obligations.

A feverous question is whether COVID-19 an event of force majeure and does it relieve the affected party from its obligations?  Below we set out the issues. [Read more…]

Marketplace terms and conditions – legal issues

A marketplace platform is great for doing online business and connecting service providers and customers. Notable marketplaces are Airtasker, eBay and Amazon, however marketplaces can be used by businesses looking to facilitate human connections between people, such as LinkedIn.

Whatever the purpose of the marketplace, platform operators need to have a set of terms and conditions in place which ringfence the platform operator from certain liabilities and seek to ensure that most issues between users are matters between them, and not the platform operator.  Below we outline some of the essential terms that a marketplace terms and conditions should consider. [Read more…]

Interactive Gambling Act 2001 (Cth)

In Australia the Interactive Gambling Act 2001 (Cth) (Act) sets the rules for companies that offer or advertise gambling services.  It applies to all online gambling, whether through a website, app or social media platform.  Under the Act, the provision of internet gambling services in Australia is generally prohibited, subject to some exceptions.  The Act empowers the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) to investigate complaints, write investigation reports and undertake enforcement and compliance monitoring activities. [Read more…]

Standard form IT procurement contracts – legal issues

Standard form IT procurement agreements are commonly used by businesses which have an established procurement department to standardise the commercial and legal procurement process.  Below we address key terms in standard form IT procurement agreements which suppliers should look out for when presented with one. [Read more…]

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