17 Apr 2012

On 20 March 2012 the Australian Parliament passed the Intellectual Property Laws Amendment (Raising the Bar) Bill 2012. This Bill makes a number of amendments to intellectual property laws, but most importantly increases the level of inventiveness required to justify the patent, and increases the standard of description required in the patent itself.

The key amendments are that:

15 Apr 2012

In a twitter over trade marks

Submitted by Troy Rollo

Twitter has recently won trade mark oppositions against two very different businesses who sought to use trade marks including the "twitter" name.

There can be only one

Late last year, in Twitter, Inc v HOL Holdings Pty Ltd [ 2011] ATMO 129, the applicant sought registration of the following trade mark:

(twitter REAL ESTATE logo)

As the logo suggests, the trademark was to be for real estate advisory services - which has very little to do with the business of Twitter, Inc.

15 Apr 2012

In Clarke v Nationwide News Pty Ltd [‬2012‭] ‬FCA‭ ‬307‭, the publisher of a newspaper web site that allowed reader comments was found liable for comments that breached the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (Cth).

Nationwide News admitted to publishing the comments, but denied they breached the Act, arguing:

24 Oct 2010

You could be forgiven for thinking that everybody was familiar at least with the ethical issues surrounding spam by now. The issues have hardly been hidden under a rock. But occasionally you see an example of a spam from somebody who really should know better. One example of this is the following spam sent by a ignorant and incompetent spammers for hire on behalf of ignorant and incompetent publishers of legal information.

26 Mar 2009

In its defence to the copyright action by an angry horde of movie producers, iiNet has argued that because BitTorrent files are broken up into small chunks and the small chunks transferred separately, customers do not transfer "substantial portions" of the files and so they do not breach copyright.

15 Mar 2009

The ACMA last week took action against the popular Whirlpool discussion site for posting a link to a web page on the ACMA's list of banned web sites. The banned web site was, apparently, an anti-abortion web site. An edited version of the offending post shows that in the context the post (and the use of the link) clearly amounts to political expression. Furthermore, the link was apparently to a web site containing political expression. It is very likely that the ACMA action breaches the implied right to freedom of political expression in the Constitution.

11 Mar 2009

A number of commentators have suggested that In Re Bilski is fatal to the Microsoft suit against TomTom. Each of the three patents applying to Linux is drafted so as to tie them to use in a computer. On page 24 of the lead judgement from In Re Bilski is the following passage:

... issues specific to the machine implementation part of the test are not before us today. We leave to future cases the elaboration of the precise contours of machine implementation, as well as answers to particular questions, such as whether or when recitation of a computer suffices to tie a process claim to a particular machine.

5 Mar 2009

The Microsoft patent suit against TomTom has attracted some attention in the linux development community because the last three of the 8 patents being used by Microsoft involve features implemented in Linux. Two of those patents are the infamous FAT patents on long file names in a FAT file system. The third is a patent on a file system layer designed for use on flash memory.

The first thing to note is that Microsoft does not appear to have obtained patents for these features in Australia at all, so businesses operating only in Australia are unlikely to face problems with these patents


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