Has my software been copied? – the legal test

There is an urban myth that something can be copied and changed by 20% or so and then there is no copyright infringement.  Rightly or wrongly this is simply untrue.  In the case of IPC Global Pty Ltd v Pavetest Pty Ltd (No 3) [2017] FCA 82 (IPC Global), a former employee of the applicant copied source code and passed it to a developer.  It was subsequently alleged that in doing so, the respondent had breached a contractual obligation of confidence and had also breached the applicant’s copyright. [Read more…]

Termination for incomplete construction work

The recent decision in Hopper & Anor v Queensland Building and Construction Commission & Anor (No 2) [2019] 212 illustrates that parties to residential construction contracts need to be very careful when purporting to terminate a residential building work contract because of incomplete works. [Read more…]

Workplace Bullying by a Body Corporate

Section 789FA of the Fair Work Act 2009 (the FWA) enables a worker who has been bullied at work to apply to the Fair Work Commission (FWC) for an order to stop the bullying.  For the purposes of the FWA, reasonable management action taken in a reasonable way will not constitute workplace bullying.

A body corporate rarely directly employs workers.  Usually, an onsite care-taking service contractor is engaged (typically a company) to perform on-site duties such as grounds maintenance and the like, those duties normally being discharged by the company’s directors or employees engaged by the company. [Read more…]

Notice requirements under a commercial lease

Commercial leases often contain an option for a further term and normally have strict notice requirements about how to exercise the option.  What could go wrong if a lessee fails to comply with the option notice requirements? [Read more…]

De-encryption Bill currently before Joint Committee

The much awaited Telecommunications and other Legislation Amendment (Assistance And Access) De-encryption Bill 2018 (De-encryption Bill) has been referred to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (Joint Committee).  The Joint Committee has allowed three (3) weeks for submissions.  It is a very short time-frame for submissions considering the controversial nature of the Bill.  Submissions close on 12 October 2018 and a hearing will then be held by the Joint Committee one (1) week later.  The De-encryption De-encryption Bill (if passed) amends the Telecommunications Act 1997(Cth) (and various other acts) and has the stated aim of “establishing frameworks for voluntary and mandatory industry assistance to law enforcement and intelligence agencies in relation to encryption technologies via the issuance of technical assistance requests, technical assistance notices and technical capability notices….” [Read more…]

Restraint of trade clauses in commercial contracts

A restraint of trade occurs where one party (Covenantor) agrees with another party (Covenantee) to restrict their liberty in the future to carry on trade with other persons who are not parties to the contract see: Petrofina (Gt Britain) Ltd v Martin [1966] Ch 146 at 180.

Restraints of trade clauses are prima facie void, however, the presumption can be rebutted if the restraint is justified because it is reasonable in the circumstances.    Note that there is a significant divide between restraints in commercial contracts and those in employment contract with the latter being widely accepted as only being enforceable for a far shorter period of time. [Read more…]

The legal relationship of agency

The importance of establishing whether a legal relationship of agency exists, and if so, to what extent, can be critical when ascertaining whether a person had authority to enter into an agreement on behalf of another person or entity.  The precise legal nature of the relationship may be important to the parties if either are attempting to enforce their rights under an agreement between them. [Read more…]

What is a Franchise Agreement?

A franchise agreement (Franchise Agreement) is defined in clause 5(1) of the Franchising Code of Conduct (Code), located in Schedule 1 of the Competition and Consumer (Industry Codes–Franchising) Regulation 2014 – as:

  • a written, oral or implied agreement;
  • in which a person (Franchisor) grants to another person (Franchisee) the right to carry on the business of offering, supplying or distributing goods or services in Australia under a system or marketing plan substantially determined, controlled or suggested by the Franchisor; and
  • under which the business will be substantially or materially associated with a trade mark, advertising or a commercial symbol that is owned, used, licensed or specified by the Franchisor or an associate of the franchisor; and
  • under which, before starting or continuing the business, the Franchisee must pay or agree to pay to the Franchisor or their associate an amount; for example, an initial capital investment fee or a payment for goods or services.

[Read more…]

Convertible Notes

While convertible notes (Convertible Notes) may in a lot of cases provide considerable benefits for the issuer they may also create a significant burdens.  This article attempts to explain what can be a complex financial instrument by examining some of the key features of Convertible Notes and some of the more common legal issues associated with their use. [Read more…]

Criminal liability shifts away from company officers

The Personal Liability for Corporate Fault Reform Act 2012 (PLCFRA), assented to on 10 December 2012, was implemented in an effort to ensure that personal criminal liability for corporate fault is imposed in accordance with the principles of good corporate governance.

Prior to the PLCFRA, company secretaries and directors were made criminally liable for the acts of the corporation in which they served.

[Read more…]

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Tel: 07 3221 0013

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