IP, Tech and Media Newsletter – April 2020

30 April 2020

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

Whilst our newsletter is focused on these specific areas of practice, we thought that in the current environment it may be useful to include a link to the firm’s COVID-19 page which has links to a number of relevant articles on key topics written by our specialty teams that may be relevant to your business: https://hwlebsworth.com.au/covid-19/

Global pandemics and snake oil salesmen in a digital world: the Australian regulatory response

Published 30 April 2020

Times of pandemic are ripe for fraudsters to prey on people’s vulnerabilities and anxieties. During the 1918-19 Spanish influenza pandemic, an anxious population turned to ‘snake oil salesmen’ and other quack medicine and hoaxes.

The outbreak of the COVID-19 global pandemic a century later in 2020 has been no different in providing a context for human anxiety and weaknesses to be exploited. But the key difference this time around is the use of technology as a platform for harm, particularly when the population is relying on technology even more than usual for remote working and schooling, social contact, online shopping, other services and entertainment. The significant economic downturn caused by COVID-19 has also made people more financially vulnerable.

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Whose mark is it anyway?

Published 30 April 2020

A decision handed down last week by the Full Court of the Federal Court affirms a line of reasoning that has a number of implications for trade mark owners. The potential to forfeit valuable branding rights as a result emphasises the importance of obtaining appropriate legal advice before filing trade mark applications, engaging in transactions where trade marks are a key asset or seeking to enforce trade mark rights.

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Trade mark housekeeping – no better time to audit your trade mark portfolio

Published 29 April 2020

There is no better time to audit your trade mark portfolio than now. During an economic downturn whether caused by a global pandemic or other economic factors brand owners are typically faced with more limited marketing and legal budgets. On the plus side, brand owners have more time for trade mark housekeeping, such as conducting a trade mark audit. A trade mark audit will assist with managing limited resources in difficult times as the benefits include cost savings, protection of core brands for relevant goods and services, dispensation with applications for weak marks, and non-renewal of registrations for trade marks that are no longer in use.

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The long, hard road to beat the copycats

Published 29 April 2020

Treasury Wine Estates has fended off copycats to secure rights in the local version of its PENFOLDS brand after trading in China for 25 years.

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COVID-19: Contracts in the Live Performance Industry Force Majeure and Frustration of Contract

Published 8 April 2020

With Government bans and restrictions on large gatherings, the live performance industry has effectively been closed down, so what happens to contracts that can no longer be performed?

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Intellectual Property and Information Technology in divestments and acquisitions

Published 6 April 2020

Economic uncertainty of the kind the world is currently facing in light of the emergence and spread of COVID-19 often presents the opportunity – or need – for corporate restructuring. Transactions in this type of environment are often done under considerable pressure and time constraints.

Intellectual Property (IP) and Information Technology (IT) assets are an increasingly key aspect of many businesses. Yet they can also easily be overlooked, as demonstrated in several high-stakes disputes.

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The impact of Brexit on intellectual property rights

Published 2 April 2020

Following years of negotiations, the UK formally withdrew from the EU on 31 January 2020. However, there is now a transition period set to last until 31 December 2020 before many of the practical implications take effect. In this bulletin, we take a look at how intellectual property (IP) rights will be affected.

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Smart buildings and the legal risks associated with new technologies

Published 27 March 2020

‘Smart buildings’ is a term increasingly used within property circles. Projections show that the smart building market is likely to reach US$105.8 billion by 2024. Smart buildings are accordingly big business, and the development of these buildings presents enormous opportunities for property developers.

Smart buildings are developments which invest in and incorporate technology to improve their environment and operations. They are the microcosm of ‘smart cities’ which are predominantly developed and driven by local government authorities. However, there is a growing consensus that smart city developments require partnership between local government and private sector businesses, such as smart technology vendors, financiers and even property developers.

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This is your private life: Facebook faces privacy law enforcement proceedings

Published 16 March 2020

On 9 March 2020, the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) commenced Federal Court proceedings against Facebook Inc and Facebook Ireland Limited (Facebook), alleging serious or repeated contraventions of the Privacy Act 1988 (Act). This is an unprecedented step in the enforcement of Australian privacy laws.

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