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…]

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…]

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…]

Changes to ACL – suppliers of services to use compulsory wording

On 9 June 2019, amendments to Schedule 2 of the Competition and Consumer Amendment (Australian Consumer Law Review) Regulations 2018 (Cth) (Amendments) came into effect.  The Amendments require suppliers of goods and services to use a mandatory wording if they provide a “warranty against defects”.  Mandatory wording of such warranties were previously required only for the supply of goods.  However, these changes extend the prescribed warranties to situations where there is a supply of services or a supply of both goods and services. [Read more…]

Implications of performing unlicensed building work

Unlawful building work performed by an unlicensed person has significant implications for the person who performs the unlicensed building work.   In Queensland, building work is governed by the Queensland Building and Construction Commission Act 1991 (Act).  Under Schedule 1 of the Queensland Building and Construction Commission Regulation 2018 (Regulation), subject to some qualifications (i.e. design work, plumbing, gas fitting etc), work is not building work (as that term is defined in Schedule 2 to the Act) if it is valued at less than $3,300.00.  Pursuant to section 42(1) of the Act, a person can only carry out or undertake to carry out building work if the person holds a contractor’s licence for the appropriate class under the QBCC Act and the Regulation. [Read more…]

Confusing marks – Sensis v Senses

In the recent case of Sensis Pty Ltd v Senses Direct Mail and Fulfillment Pty Ltd [2019] FCA 719 (24 May 2019) (Sensis v Senses) the moral of the story might be that if your brand name is so similar to another company that your customers could confuse or are confusing their name with yours… you might be in trouble.  This was the case in Sensis v Senses where Senses Direct Mail and Fulfillment Pty Ltd (Respondent) was held to have infringed the registered marks of Sensis Pty Ltd (Applicant) owner of well-known directory brands, including the Yellow Pages and White Pages. [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…]

Security for legal costs in cross-claims for patent invalidity

The usual position in relation to security for costs in disputes before the Federal Court of Australia is that a respondent (including a cross-respondent) may make an application for security for its legal costs to insulate itself if it is successful in defending the allegations made by an applicant against it.  What is the situation regarding security for costs where a respondent ‘cross-claims’ for revocation of a patent because it alleges that it is invalid and should never have been granted in the first place? [Read more…]

Is your patent being infringed?

A patent grants the owner (Patentee) exclusive rights to exploit the patented invention (as defined in the Patents Act 1990 (Cth) (Patents Act)) within Australia.  If another party uses the patent without the authorisation of the Patentee, they will infringe.  In this article we consider the high level issues to consider when attempting to determine whether a patent has been infringed. [Read more…]

Patent revocation for lack of novelty

One of the often cited requirements for a patent to be granted, is that the invention as claimed must be ‘novel’ in light of the information of the day (referred to as the prior art and the common general knowledge) (section 18(1)(b)(i) of the Patents Act 1990 (Cth)(Patents Act)).  Put simply, if its been done before, chances are that it may lack novelty.   Therefore, if a patent, when viewed against the prior art and common general knowledge does not disclose an invention that is novel, it cannot be said to contain the required feature of novelty. [Read more…]

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