Risks of making financial forecasts

When a business is seeking to raise capital or advertise as being for sale financial forecasts are often made in a way so as to appeal to the target audience – investors or potential buyers.  In some cases however, the forecasts made do not translate into reality giving rise to potential legal consequences.  As forecasts are indicators often relied used by investors to make decisions on whether or not to invest, statements that are incorrect may amount to misleading and deceptive conduct under the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) (being Schedule 2 to the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth)) and have potentially serious legal consequences. [Read more…]

The end of the innovation patent in Australia

The innovation patent system was originally introduced in 2001 to provide a cheaper, more efficient way for small to medium businesses to protect innovations through the introduction of the ‘innovative step’ test.  Innovation patents provide protection for inventions that do not meet the inventive step threshold required for standard patents.  However, the recent Intellectual Property Laws Amendment (Productivity Commission Response Part 2 and Other Measures) Bill 2019 (Bill) will see the complete abolition of the innovation patent system in Australia. [Read more…]

IP contracts now subject to restrictive trade practice provisions

Agreements providing for the conditional licensing or assignment of intellectual property (IP) rights are now subject to the restrictive trade practice provisions of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth) (CCA).  On 13 September 2019 section 51(3) of the CCA was been repealed removing the exception which applied to the licensing and assignment of IP.   This means commercial transactions involving the assignment of IP rights will be subject to the anti-competitive prohibitions, as are other transactions involving property. [Read more…]

QBBC Home Warranty Insurance – part 1

Part 5 of the Queensland Building and Construction Commission Act 1991 (Act) establishes a statutory insurance scheme, the purpose of which is in certain situations to provide assistance to consumers of residential construction work.   As part of the building process, the builder pays a premium to the QBCC to insure the construction work, the amount of the premium being included as part of the contract price and paid to the QBCC before the residential construction work commences. [Read more…]

Litigation – offers to settle and the rules

Civil litigation is a costly and technical process which requires careful compliance with the legislative and rules of the respective Court.   In contrast it also is akin to a game of chess as each party to the proceedings does now know the others strategy.  In Queensland, the predominant legislation which governs how litigation is to be conducted is contained in the Uniform Civil Procedure Rules 1999(Qld)(UCPR).  There are of course various practice notes and rules prescribed by the respective Court and case law which needs to be complied with depending on the circumstances and the Court. [Read more…]

Software litigation – how much evidence is enough?

Litigation involving software commonly involves allegations of copyright infringement and breaches of contractual obligations of confidence.  However, without an “anton pillar” style order, it can be challenging to substantiate the extent of any alleged breach due to the technological nuances involved with properly analysing available evidence.   This make it difficult for the plaintiff to decide whether or not to initiate legal proceedings against an infringing party.  In circumstances where a prospective applicant does not have complete access to the source code, it may be desirable to make an application for discovery prior to the start of proceedings pursuant to Rule 7.23 of the Federal Court Rules 2011 (Cth) (Rules). [Read more…]

Has my software been copied? – the legal test

There is an urban myth that something can be copied and changed by 20% or so and then there is no copyright infringement.   Rightly or wrongly this is simply untrue.  In the case of IPC Global Pty Ltd v Pavetest Pty Ltd (No 3) [2017] FCA 82 (IPC Global), a former employee of the applicant copied source code and passed it to a developer.  It was subsequently alleged that in doing so, the respondent had breached a contractual obligation of confidence and had also breached the applicant’s copyright. [Read more…]

Termination for incomplete construction work

The recent decision in Hopper & Anor v Queensland Building and Construction Commission & Anor (No 2) [2019] 212 illustrates that parties to residential construction contracts need to be very careful when purporting to terminate a residential building work contract because of incomplete works. [Read more…]

Company money is for company purposes

In order to properly discharge their obligations to a company which they are appointed, directors must be satisfied that they are using company money for ‘proper purposes’.  By treating the company interests as their own interests they may be in breach of their fiduciary duties and engaging in conduct that would be oppressive to the rights of shareholders.  This article will explore the principles that underpin when it is appropriate for company funds to be used.  In short, company money must only be used for company purposes. [Read more…]

What is a risk management framework?

A risk management framework is a key component of an overall governance framework.   As the name suggests it focuses on risks faced by the business.  Typically, a governance framework will document the approach an organisation takes to managing risks and include details of:

  • Risk appetite – being a measure of the level of risk an organisation is willing to assume;
  • Risk tolerance – being a measure of the amount of risk an organisation is capable of absorbing; and
  • Risks – being details of the types of risk which the organisation faces and seeks to avoid, mitigate or accept.

In developing a risk management framework an organisation should refer to AS ISO 31000:2018 Risk Management Guidelines which sets out the process principles and framework for risk management.

[Read more…]

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