Technology Law

Can artificial intelligence be the inventor of a patent?

The advent of artificial intelligence (AI) has raised some interesting legal issues.   One such issue is whether the AI itself can be the ‘inventor’ of a patented invention in Australia.   The recent decision of the Commissioner of Patents of Stephen L. Thaler [2021] APO 5 (Thaler) explores what it means to be an inventor.   This was done to determine whether a “Device for the Autonomous Bootstrapping of Unified Sentience” (DABUS) – an artificial intelligence machine developed from what is known as “Creativity Machine” technology can be named as an inventor for the purpose of an Australian patent application. [Read more…]

Circuit layout rights and how to protect them

Circuit layouts are two-dimensional layout designs or plans (topographies) of three-dimensional integrated circuits used in computers and equipment that relies on computers (such as modern cars, televisions, washing machines, and medical devices).  Circuit layouts are sometimes referred to as computer chip or semi-conductor chip designs. [Read more…]

Novation versus assignment in commercial contracts

Novation and assignment of contracts are processes that on first glance appear to have similar outcomes.  However, from a legal perspective, the two are strikingly different, and the wrong choice is capable of having dire legal consequences when things go awry.  Therefore, for those wishing to transfer contractual rights and obligations to third parties, it is critical to understand each legal mechanism’s significant distinctions. [Read more…]

Explaining the Media Bargaining Code

On 18 February 2021, social media company Facebook made the decision to prohibit the publishing and sharing of links (Links) from Australian media companies (News Companies) on the site.  This ban came into effect almost immediately after the Treasury Laws Amendment (News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code) Bill 2021 (Cth) (Media Bargaining Code) passed the House of Representatives.  The ban has roadblocked News Companies from 9 News to the Bureau of Meteorology and even the beloved satirical news provider, The Betoota Advocate.  This article analyses the proposals of the Media Bargaining Code and what the legal effect of non-compliance may be. [Read more…]

Kogan fined $310k after breaching Spam Act

On 10 December 2020, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) issued an infringement notice (Infringement Notice) to Kogan Australia Pty Ltd ACN 152 570 351 (Kogan) (a subsidiary of ASX listed Kogan.com Ltd ACN 612 447 293) stating that the electronics and appliances brand had contravened section 18(1) of the Spam Act 2003 (Cth) (Spam Act).  [Read more…]

New auDA domain name licensing rules incoming

A new set of rules by the .au Domain Administration Limited (auDA) governing the use of the .au country code top-level domain (.au ccTLD) will come into effect on 12 April 2021.  The new rules will apply to all domain names in the .au ccTLD registered, transferred, or renewed on or after this date. [Read more…]

My client poached my software developers – what can I do?

Imagine this – it’s taken you almost a decade, you’ve created a successful software development business with many happy long-term clients, a stable team and a great reputation.  More recently you’ve even created a funky new millennial style brand!  One day an employee resigns and the next week another one resigns.   The following week your biggest client breaks their long-term engagement with you and then another one of your team resigns!   You get suspicious, do some investigations and discover the former employees are working in-house for your ex-client!

It is not uncommon for clients (Clients) of professional service businesses (Service Provider) to poach the employees of the Service Provider.  The software development sector is a prime example where this occurs. [Read more…]

Emojis used online can be defamatory – watch out!

In the recent New South Wales case of Burrows v Houda [2020] NSWDC 485 , the Court was faced with the difficult question of whether an emoji is capable of having a defamatory meaning.  As the case was a first for Australia, the Court relied upon UK case law, as well as the ordinary definition of ‘emoji’, in considering the meaning behind the emoji used. [Read more…]

Software patent allowed for tracking user action

In the recent case of Facebook, Inc. [2020] APO 19 (Facebook Inc.), the Patent’s office considered whether software that tracks the installation of applications on mobile devices following interactions with advertisements qualifies as a manner of manufacture and is therefore patentable subject matter. [Read more…]

The use of IRUs in a telecommunications capacity

Indefeasible rights of use agreements (IRU’s) are commonly used in telecommunications agreements for the supply of cable system capacity services.  IRU’s have specific tax treatment under section 995.1 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 (Cth) and are treated as capital expenditure for suppliers and customers.  Tax considerations play a central role in structuring IRU’s. Below, we set out the key areas an IRU must cover to be tax compliant. [Read more…]

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