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…]

De-encryption laws to make tech giants cooperate with law enforcement

Updated 4 October 2018 – see De-encryption De-encryption Bill currently before Joint Committee

According to the ABC website, in the next few weeks Cyber Security Minister Angus Taylor is poised to present new legislation which once passed will require technology companies and multinationals to assist law enforcement to access encrypted data of “suspected criminals and terrorists”.  Currently, the bill is not yet before parliament but should appear on its website once officially announced.

In February, the government has indicated its plans to tackle criminal use of encryption with the Honourable Peter Dutton MP stating in an address to the National Press Club:

“Law enforcement access to encrypted communications should be on the same basis as telephone and other intercepts,
in which companies provide vital and willing assistance in response to court orders.”
[Read more…]

Introduction to intellectual property

Intellectual property (IP), in the Australian legal context, is much more than copyright and trade marks, it includes confidential information, registered designs, trade secrets, patents and plant breeder’s rights.  The protection of intellectual endeavours has been something which the law has recognised for centuries and something which the innovation agenda has embraced.  IP is becoming increasingly important as organisations strive for competitive advantage in the innovation age (click here or insert).  IP rights arise at both common law and statute and aim to protect a broad category of rights over the fruits of intellectual efforts. These rights fall into two (2) distinct categories, those that are registerable and those that are not.

[Read more…]

Restraining a former employee from using your client list

This article discusses the decision of the Federal Court of Australia in Prime Creative Media Pty Ltd v Vranjkovic [2009] FCA 1030 to grant an interlocutory injunction against a former employee (Vranjkovic), restraining her from using confidential client contact information obtained during the course of her employment.  While the parties agreed to settle the matter prior to the final hearing, this interlocutory proceeding provides an example of how a business should act quickly to restrain a former employee from using confidential information following termination of their employment. [Read more…]

Enforcing the terms of a confidentiality agreement

Legally enforceable obligations to maintain confidence may arise in contract or in equity.  Relief is available against a party who discloses confidential information without authorisation, and in some cases against third party recipients of such information.  In order to enforce a breach of confidence in contract or in equity, the presence of a number of elements must be established. [Read more…]

Is your confidential information really confidential?

The term confidential information is often bandied about in commercial transactions, however it is often inaccurately described.  Because of this, we are often asked to consider whether information that a party is considering disclosing as part of a commercial transaction is actually capable of being kept confidential. [Read more…]

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