Intellectual Property, Technology and Media Newsletter – March 2019

14 March 2019

Welcome to our Newsletter, bringing you the latest in Intellectual Property, Technology and Media Law news.

HWL Ebsworth has seen a number of recent additions to its IP/IT/Media team nationally.

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China’s e-commerce shake-up: Effects of new e-commerce law on online businesses

On 31 August 2018, China’s top legislative body passed a new e-commerce law known as the Electronic Commerce Law of the People’s Republic of China (中华人民共和国电子商务法) imposing stricter regulations on e-commerce businesses operating within the territory of China. Citing the need to protect “rights and interests of parties to e-commerce” and “maintain market order”, the new law demonstrates China’s renewed efforts to crack down on the Wild West that is currently its online marketplace.

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Strong reputation irrelevant to trade mark infringement

A recent finding of trade mark infringement has been overturned by the Full Court of the Federal Court of Australia in Australian Meat Group Pty Ltd v JBS Australia Pty Limited [2018] FCAFC 207.

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Blockchain: Potential technology shake-up for the Australian property market

For the past few years, blockchain has been touted as the potentially revolutionising technology within the financial sector. Now, there is growing interest in using the technology in various other industries – including the Australian property sector – to address glaring gaps in those markets.

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Emerging technologies legal update: CRISPR – The genetic gold rush

The CRISPR-Cas9 system is a powerful and versatile gene editing technique which is used to alter, substitute and disrupt selected genes, for example those genes which cause disease to be passed on or are otherwise undesirable. It originated from a natural genome editing system from bacteria and was subsequently adapted by scientists to facilitate numerous scientific breakthroughs.

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Copyright licensing and your business – are you entitled to play that music in your waiting room? 

A recent decision of the Federal Circuit Court serves as a timely reminder to all businesses – not just businesses such as those in the hospitality or fitness industries which play music as an integral part of their business – of the obligation to obtain appropriate copyright licences for any uses of commercial music (or video) recordings/broadcasts as part of the business. This includes, for example, radios played at employee workstations, music played over phone hold systems and background music or television broadcasts at reception/waiting areas, as well as live performances and other uses including soundtracks to internally produced training videos and marketing materials. As a practical matter, there are very few businesses that will not be required to hold some form of copyright licence.

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The Dempsey Group v Spotlight [2018] FCA 2016:  What does it take to be an “innocent” copyright infringer?

A recent Federal Court decision, The Dempsey Group Pty Ltd v Spotlight Pty Ltd [2018] FCA 2016 has provided a rare example of a case where a party found to have infringed copyright was able to successfully argue that the infringement was committed innocently, and that they were accordingly not liable for damages in respect of that conduct.

Both parties had engaged the services of the same manufacturer who supplied products featuring the copyright protected work, as well as the infringing articles. This relationship was an influential factor in the Court’s decision to uphold the innocent infringement defence.

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Real life Fortnite battle

Rapper Terrence Ferguson, otherwise known as ‘2 Milly’, is not happy with popular video game Fortnite for stealing his dance move. This issue is not one that can be resolved on the battlefield – 2 Milly has filed a Californian lawsuit against developer Epic Games for infringing his copyright in the ‘Milly Rock’ dance move. Others, including Alfonso Ribeiro (the actor who portrayed Carlton in the 90s TV show ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’) and the ‘Backpack Kid’ (an Instagram sensation amongst the youth, they tell us) have followed Ferguson and filed their own lawsuits against Epic Games.

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Rokt clarifies manner of manufacture test

The Federal Court judgment in Rokt Pty Ltd v Commissioner of Patents [2018] FCA 1988 (Rokt) has clarified that computer implemented business methods, which solve a technical problem with a technical solution, are patentable subject matter in Australia.

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