Use of a competitor’s confidential information

Many businesses try to increase market share by employing a competitor’s member of staff who may bring with them relationships and information acquired over the years.  Employees owe fiduciary duties to their employers meaning, among other things, that an employee cannot make a personal gain by using confidential information acquired in the course of their employment.  If an employee makes a personal gain by using their employer’s confidential information, the employer may be entitled to an account of profits, meaning the employee must pay the employer the amount of profit made as a result of the breach. [Read more…]

Copyright protection time limits change

On the 22 of June 2017, the Australian Government passed the Copyright Amendment (Disability Access and Other Measures) Act 2017 (Act), which introduced major changes to the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth) that aim to simplify how long materials can be protected by copyright laws.  From 1 January 2019, changes to the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth) will apply to all literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works (Works), sound recordings and films that are not made public before 1 January 2019, or that are created or made public on or after 1 January 2019.  [Read more…]

Patents and the thresholds for registration

A patent provides exclusive rights during its term to exploit the patented invention.  In Australia the Patents Act 1990 (Cth) (Patents Act) protects intellectual effort by granting exclusive rights, during the term of the patent, to exploit an invention and to authorise other persons to exploit it.  The owner is entitled to defend the patent against infringement from third parties in the patent area – which in the case of Australia is the Commonwealth of Australia – during the term of the patent. [Read more…]

Introduction to patent revocation

In legal proceedings involving the alleged infringement of a patent, it’s common for the respondent to go on the offensive and attempt to convince the Court that the said patent is invalid.  If proven, it necessarily follows there can be no infringement.  There is no one section of the Patents Act 1990 (Cth) (Patents Act) that specifically deals with invalidity.  In effect invalidity is established by proving that the requirements of validity set out in section 18 of the Patents Act are not made out on the patent in question, or that there are other grounds (such as sections 40 and 138) which the patent does not comply with. [Read more…]

Interlocutory injunctions in patent disputes

An injunction is a Court order directing a person or entity to do a specific thing or refrain from doing something.  Whilst an injunction in itself can amount to final relief in litigious matters, it can also be sought on an interlocutory or temporary basis (Interlocutory Injunction).  This applies where a temporary remedy is sought to maintain the status quo until the larger legal issues can be heard at trial.

In matters relating to the infringement of a patent, an injunction may be sought by the patent owner (Applicant) to stop a defendant (Respondent) from doing the acts the patent owner alleges infringe the patent, until the Court has had the opportunity to determine whether or not the patent has been infringed.  In this article we consider Interlocutory Injunctions in patent matters and how the tests differ from non-patent matters. [Read more…]

Artificial intelligence – introductory thoughts on the legal issues

Whenever there is a wave of innovation, in the absence of statute, the Courts necessarily apply old world legal principles to the new technology.  This was certainly the case when social media and online business became mainstream.  Similarly the law in Australia that applies to bitcoin and the blockchain has left the promoters of initial coin offerings (ICO’s) struggling to understand their legal position – see our article titled:  “What is an initial coin offering”.  The advent of artificial intelligence (Artificial Intelligence or AI) however creates somewhat more challenging legal issues to be considered by technology lawyers whose client’s seek to develop applications with embedded AI. [Read more…]

Disputing ownership of a patent – joint inventors

The Patents Act 1990 (Cth) (Act) provides the framework for patent registration and regulation in Australia. [Read more…]

What is an injunction?

An injunction in its simplest form is a Court order directing a person or entity to do a specific thing (Mandatory Injunction) or, more commonly, to not do a specific thing (Prohibitory Injunction).  Whilst an injunction in itself can amount to final relief in a matter, they are generally sought on an interlocutory basis (Interlocutory Injunction) which is a temporary remedy is sought to maintain the status quo until the larger legal issues can be heard by the Court.  If a temporary order is granted it will generally become permanent if the applicant is successful in the larger claim. [Read more…]

Can you infringe a trade mark by exporting a product?

A trade mark is a sign used to distinguish goods or services from other similar goods or services, generally to associate that good or service with a brand.  Trade mark signs are a valuable form of intellectual property as they allow consumer to quickly and easily associate products with their favourite brands.  In Australia, the Trade Marks Act 1995 (Cth) (Trade Marks Act) provides protection for the owners of registered trade marks.  In this article, we consider whether a person infringes a trade mark by manufacturing a good to sell overseas rather than in Australia – does the Trade Marks Act protect the Australian trade mark owner? [Read more…]

Is the use of a trade mark in AdWords an infringement?

The concept of ‘Googling’ has become a part of everyday life.  But does anyone ever stop to think how Google results are collated?  In the case of Veda Advantage Limited v Malouf Group Enterprises Pty Limited [2016] FCA 255 (Veda Advantage case) one company did just that, and they were not happy with the answer.  The case concerned the use of registered trade marks as keywords and in the title tags and descriptions of sponsored link advertising in the Google AdWords program. [Read more…]

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