Technology Law

Australian Court: AI can’t be an “inventor” an Australian patent

The Full Court of the Federal Court of Australia (the Federal Courts appellate court) has overruled an earlier decision relating to artificial intelligence (AI) and ‘inventor’s’ of patentable works.  In accordance with the decision in Commissioner of Patents v Thaler [2022] FCAFC 62 (Thaler), an AI can no longer be considered as an ‘inventor’ for the purposes of the Patents Act 1990 (Cth) (Act).    For a summary of the earlier decision which was the subject of this appeal, including a brief outline of the facts of the case, see our article here. [Read more…]

Registration of .au domain names – what does this mean for businesses?

From 24 March 2022, any persons with a verified connection to Australia will be able to apply for a domain name ending in .au, also known as a direct name or second level name (Direct Name).  Any business can apply for a Direct Name as long as they meet the eligibility criteria under the .au Licensing Rules (Licensing Rules). [Read more…]

Cryptocurrency and hacking offences introduced to Parliament

The Crimes Legislation Amendment (Ransomware Action Plan) Bill 2022 (Bill) seeks to amend the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Criminal Code), the Crimes Act 1914 and the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 to bring historical legislation into the modern state of play as it relates to threats of ransomware.  The new powers under this Bill complement existing search and seize powers which we’ve previously considered here. [Read more…]

Registration of .au domain names – what does this mean for businesses?

From 24 March 2022, any persons with a verified connection to Australia will be able to apply for a domain name ending in .au, also known as a direct name or second level name (Direct Name).  Any business can apply for a Direct Name as long as they meet the eligibility criteria under the .au Licensing Rules (Licensing Rules). [Read more…]

Hermès sues artist over NFTs of Birkin bags

Luxury French brand icon Hermès has commenced legal proceedings in the United States District Court of New York against an American artist over virtual artworks depicting their world-renowned “Birkin bags”.  Luxury brands are some of the most vigilant protectors of their brand so this action by Hermès is not unexpected.  In this case Mason Rothschild created digital artwork, which is sold as non-fungible tokens, known as NFTs.  The recent explosion of NFTs has left many wondering, what are they, and what is the point of owning one?  This article explains what an NFT is and how they work, as well as some intellectual property considerations. [Read more…]

Social Media (Anti-Trolling) Bill 2021 released

The Australian Government has released the Social Media (Anti-Trolling) Bill 2021 (Bill) in an effort to protect Australians who maintain social media pages (Page Owners).  The need for such legislation is obvious in light of the High Court’s decision in the case of Fairfax Media Publications v Voller [2021] HCA 27 (Fairfax) which determined that Page Owners may be exposed to defamation liability as a result of defamatory comments left on the page by third parties.  Such liability would arise even where the owner was unaware of the defamatory comment upon their page. [Read more…]

7-Eleven customer survey: do privacy policy terms equal consent?

In 2020 the 7-Eleven Stores Pty Ltd ACN 005 299 427 (7-Eleven) chain launched a customer feedback mechanism nationwide which prompted customers to complete a voluntary survey about their experience in store on a tablet device.  When a customer completed the survey, a digital image was taken of the customer which was shared with two (2) Application Programming Interfaces (API) to assess and record certain information about the customer.

On 29 September 2021 the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) recently declared that 7-Eleven breached Australian Privacy Principles with these actions.[1]

[Read more…]

Swiss company provides its users’ personal information

Protonmail, an end-to-end encrypted secure email provider based in Switzerland, was recently obligated by a Swiss Court order to provide a certain class of user’s IP addresses to French police via the transnational Europol law enforcement agency.  This article considers the Australian statutory perspective on obtaining access to ‘encrypted’ data where such information may be contained within end-to-end encrypted communications. [Read more…]

Business promotion online – liability for comments by others

The recent High Court case of Australian New Channel Pty Ltd v Voller [2021] HCA 27 (Fairfax) found a business which published ‘posts’ on their Facebook page was liable for defamatory comments made by third parties to that post.  Liability may be found irrespective of the publisher’s intent and the relevance of the comment to the original post. [Read more…]

Government surveillance bill passed by Parliament

On 25 August 2021 Federal Parliament passed the Surveillance Legislation Amendment (Identify and Disrupt) Bill 2021 (Bill).  The Bill modifies various acts, including the Surveillance Devices Act 2004 (Cth) (SDA) and the Crimes Act 1914 (Cth) (CA), to enhance the law enforcement powers of the Australian Federal Police and the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission in respect of serious online crime.[1]  The Bill introduces three (3) new warrants:

  • data disruption warrants;
  • network activity warrants; and
  • account takeover warrants.

[Read more…]

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