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  On 13 September 2019 section 51(3) of the CCA was been repealed removing the exception which applied to the licensing and assignment of IP.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…]

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…]

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…]

Implied contracts formed post term

It is not uncommon, where good business relationships exist, for the parties to continue to work together after the expiry of a fixed term contract (Expired Contract).  This typically occurs where there is a fixed term for the agreement and that termination date comes and passes.  While it is great to form such good business relationships, contracts are there for a purpose and there are no guarantees that good business relationships will persist.

So what is the nature of the contractual relationship between the parties in such circumstances?

[Read more…]

A bet or a game? The Lottoland case

On 16 August 2019, the Supreme Court of New South Wales (Supreme Court) ruled in favour of the plaintiff, Lottoland Australia Pty Ltd ACN 602 590 429 (Lottoland), in its action against the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) for their investigative findings against them stating their online products were in contravention of the relevant legislation: Lottoland Australia Pty Ltd v Australian Communications and Media Authority [2019] NSWSC 1041. [Read more…]

Unfair preferences and the set-off defence

Under section 588FA of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) (Act) an unfair preference is defined as a transaction, such as payment of an outstanding debt, between a company and an unsecured creditor which results in that unsecured creditor receiving more than it would have received if it had to prove in the winding up of the debtor company.  It is unfair because the payment results in the net value of the assets of the debtor company being reduced, to the detriment of the body of unsecured creditors as a whole.  One of the rarer defences is the Set-Off to an unfair preference claim. [Read more…]

Technology startups – top 5 legal considerations

The allure of generating income from a subscription base, operating a marketplace or your own e-commerce venture is strong and for good reason.   The success stories of tech startups and the unicorns in this space are many, but so are the failures.  If this is the path you are considering taking, these are our top 5 legal considerations. [Read more…]

Need a reseller agreement?

A reseller agreement (Reseller Agreement) is a contract that entitles one party (Reseller) to sell, market, distribute, or lease a product or service of another (Supplier).  Resellers Agreements are also known as distribution, supply or distributor agreements. Often the Supplier is also the manufacturer of the goods but they may be the importer, a developer of the service or a licensee of software or training programs. [Read more…]

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