Adaptions, computer code and copyright

An adaption in copyright is the exclusive right of the owner of the work in question.  Section 10 of the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth) (Act) defines adaption as it relates to literary works in dramatic and non-dramatic forms, in a computer program and in relation to a musical work.   The rights that apply to adaptions in different separate classes of literary works differ according to the respective category in question. [Read more…]

Aussie Court orders Google to unmask reviewer

Online reviews are crucial to most business’ online presence.  While some reviewers openly share their identity along with their comments, many choose to remain anonymous.  In the case of false, misleading or defamatory online reviews, this can create a host of issues for businesses seeking to remove the review or commence legal proceedings against a reviewer.  This was evident in the recent case of Kabbabe v Google LLC [2020] FCA 126. [Read more…]

Innocent infringement of copyright

Under the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth) (Act), copyright infringement occurs regardless of whether it is intentional or not.  Artistic works are particularly susceptible to copyright infringement, because it is possible for two individuals to separately come up with the same idea, reproduce it in a material form, publish it and communicate it to the public.

The result is that an infringer may think they are absolutely entitled to exploit what they consider to be there IP, despite allegations to the contrary.  To deal with this situation, section 115(3) of the Act provides the special defence of “innocent infringement”. [Read more…]

Know-how versus confidential information

In an article entitled “is your confidential information really confidential” we discussed what is and isn’t confidential information and how this term is nearly always misused.  This article discusses a category of confidential information known as “know-how” and what rights employers have over it. [Read more…]

Copyright, code libraries and ownership

In Australia, copyright automatically vests in certain types of literary works, including computer programs and artistic works, upon their creation.  The general rule is that the owner of copyright in a literary or artistic work is the author of that work.[1]  An exception to this rule arises if the work is made by an employee pursuant to the terms of their employment.  In this case, the employer owns the copyright subsisting in the employee-generated work.  However, the distinction of whether an employee has created the work pursuant to the terms of employment, is not always clear.  This issue was considered in the case of Redrock Holdings Pty Ltd and Hotline Communications Ltd v Hinkley [2001] VSC 91 (Redrock). [Read more…]

Tort of conspiracy & confidential information

The tort of conspiracy has been well established in Australia by the High Court, however it is a fairly uncommon cause of action.  The High Court has endorsed some early UK decisions with respect to damage, including the cases of Mogul Steamship Co v McGregor Gow & Co [1892] and Sorrel v Smith [1925] AC 700.  [Read more…]

Injunctions for breach of confidence

The recent Federal Court case of Howden Australia Pty Ltd v Minetek Pty Ltd [2019] FCA 981 highlights some of the challenges faced by applicants when attempting to establish that a breach of confidential information has taken place, and the steps required to obtain an interim injunction prior to the ultimate determination of a matter. [Read more…]

Computer-implemented inventions and patentability

The question of patentability of so called “computer-implemented” inventions has been the subject of legal debate in Australia for a number of years.  The September 2018 of the Full Court of the Federal Court in  Encompass Corporation Pty Ltd v Infotrack Pty Ltd [2019] FCAFC 161 was long anticipated by intellectual property lawyers and patent attorneys alike, who were eager to see a more substantial analysis about the patentability of computer-implemented inventions.  However, the expanded five-judge bench of the Full Federal Court expressly declined to provide this guidance because they did not believe the case raised any significant question of principle in this regard, and focussed  on ‘manner of manufacture’ as a ground for revocation. [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…]

Not so swole – removal of trade marks for non-use

In the recent case of Swole Gym Wear Group Pty Ltd v Swole O’Clock Ltd [2019] FCA 685, Swole Gym Wear Group (Applicant) applied for an extension of time to file a notice of appeal for the removal of their trade mark 1702160, which was registered for the word “SWOLE” in class 14, from the Register of Trade Marks pursuant to s92(4)(a) of the Trade Marks Act 1995 (Cth)(Act). [Read more…]

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