Archives for: ‘Patrick Gunning’
The owners of one of Australia’s most iconic and “most photographed pub in the world” (self-professed), the “Ettamogah Pub”, have been embroiled in a dispute in the New South Wales Supreme Court with claims, among others, that it is has not paid royalties owed under its exclusive license to use intellectual property from the cartoon series “The Ettamogah Pub Mob”.
There is certainly a lot of commentary, and legal ink, spilled on the subject of software patents (including on the IP Whiteboard!). And when we negotiate technology agreements, the IP infringement clause is often highly contentious because neither side wants to bear the almost-impossible-to-quantify-in-advance risk of a third party patent infringement claim.
The Commonwealth Attorney-General gave a keynote speech last Friday at the biennial Copyright Law & Practice Symposium. The text of the speech is available online, and as you would expect the A-G took the opportunity to make some copyright-related announcements. The two key “new” announcements in the speech were:
It is an often stated, and indeed axiomatic, principle that copyright law protects expression and not ideas. So the reproduction of a copyright work without the permission of the author is an infringement of the author’s exclusive statutory rights. Simple enough, right? Well, not really, especially in the context of works that are not merely words on a page, where reproduction cannot be determined by simply asking the question of whether or not the author’s work (or a decent chunk of it) appears in the allegedly infringing work.
The NSW Ombudsman has lost a claim for immunity from liability for copyright infringements alleged by a software company: see MicroFocus v NSW  FCA 787. Whilst interesting, the decision is unlikely to have widespread application because the court did not need to consider the broader question of whether the federal Copyright Act was inconsistent with the state legislation conferring immunity on a statutory officeholder.
The US Administration has recently released “The Administration’s White Paper on Intellectual Property Enforcement Legislative Reforms”. This White Paper contains 20 recommendations on IP enforcement, and the implication is that the recommendations will form part of legislative amendments that are presented to Congress during the term of the administration.
The key recommendations set out in the White Paper are:
If you want to stop your ex-employees starting up a competitor business, Blackmagic won’t get you there!
In Blackmagic Design Pty Ltd v Overliese the Full Court of the Federal Court was recently asked to consider the legal remedies available to an employer in the event that his or her employee appropriates confidential information for the purposes of establishing a competitor business.