technology law

Top 11 legal tips when selling a technology business

Selling a technology business can be an exciting time for shareholders and directors who have worked hard towards an exit.  Because of this, it’s important for the exit to be as smooth as possible.   Below we set out our top 11 tips for selling a technology business which, if followed, will ensure greater protection for sellers and reduce their risk. [Read more…]

Can meta tags constitute trade mark infringement?

Search engines use a variety of algorithms and methods to determine the relevancy and ranking of websites on the search results page, based on keywords.  Importantly, search engines can refer to a websites ‘meta tags’ to find relevant words to match with search results.  As a result, meta tags have become increasingly important for businesses and their online presence.  However, the case of Accor Australia & New Zealand Hospitality Pty Ltd v Liv Pty Ltd [2015] FCA 554 (Accor Case) highlights the difficulties of meta tags with respect to trade mark infringement. [Read more…]

$750k damages for fake online reviews

The recent case of Cheng v Lok [2020] SASC 14  (Cheng v Lok) should serve as a warning about the potential severe consequences of posting fake reviews out of spite or to harm a competitor.   This was clear in the recent case of Cheng v Lok [2020] SASC 14 where the Supreme Court of South Australia awarded $A750,000 in damages to a lawyer whose business was defamed through fake and negative online. [Read more…]

e-Signatures – legally binding on companies?

The rise of e-signing software such as docuSign (e-signature) has become commonplace for the execution of contracts electronically.  Each state of Australia and the Commonwealth has its own equivalent to the Electronic Transactions Act 2001 (Qld) (ETA).  The use of E-signatures has streamlined the contract execution process, however a recent case in the Supreme Court of South Australia has highlighted their vulnerability.  The decision of Stanley J in Bendigo and Adelaide Bank Limited v Kenneth Ross Pickard [2019] SASC 123 (Adelaide Bank) is illustrative of this. [Read more…]

Proposed standards for online safety

In December 2019, the Australian Government released a discussion paper on a proposed “Online Safety Act” (Proposal) for consultation.  The Proposal is intended to combine and coordinate the existing framework into a single piece of legislation, and provide an update in accordance with the changes in the digital landscape.  The Proposal will encourage businesses trading online to take more responsibility for material on their platforms. [Read more…]

Software litigation – how much evidence is enough?

Litigation involving software commonly involves allegations of copyright infringement and breaches of contractual obligations of confidence.  However, without an “anton pillar” style order, it can be challenging to substantiate the extent of any alleged breach due to the technological nuances involved with properly analysing available evidence.   This make it difficult for the plaintiff to decide whether or not to initiate legal proceedings against an infringing party.  In circumstances where a prospective applicant does not have complete access to the source code, it may be desirable to make an application for discovery prior to the start of proceedings pursuant to Rule 7.23 of the Federal Court Rules 2011 (Cth) (Rules). [Read more…]

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…]

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…]

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…]

EU General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) – How to comply

If you are an Australian entity and want to inquire about compliance with the GDPR click here.

Similar to the Australian Privacy Principles (APP) as set out in the Australian Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) (Privacy Act), the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) ‘lays down rules relating to the protection of natural persons and the processing of their personal data.’  The GDPR came into force on 24 May 2016 and became binding on all European Union (EU) member states on 25 May 2018. [Read more…]

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