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Successful partner visas overcome the 12 month rule

Partner visa applications take up about 25% of Australia's migration intake. There are two types. Firstly, Spouse Visas (for married or de-facto heterosexual couples). Secondly, Interdependency Visas (mainly for gay or lesbian couples).

To apply for a Spouse Visa for a married couple, the marriage has to be recognized under Australian law. It does not have to be conducted in Australia.

The rules for de-facto couples and gay or lesbian couples are very similar. Generally both require the couple to have lived together for 12 months. The 12 month rule and the exceptions to it are discussed in this article.

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15 Australian venture finance success stories

Start-up ventures typically attract investors in several finance rounds or liquidity events. To illustrate, the table in this article tracks 15 Australian companies that raised venture finance. They include Seek, JB Hifi, Austal, Vision Group and Mincom.

These companies received funding during 1999-2006, a period covered by a survey assessed by PriceWaterhouseCoopers and AVCAL in their 30 page report titled Economic Impact of Private Equity and Venture Capital in Australia 2006.

The table illustrates the use of business finance, equity investment, ASX floats and government grants to achieve in Australia and abroad.

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Domain hijacking

Safeguarding your domain name and related intellectual property should be a high priority for your business.

Unscrupulous opportunists troll the internet looking for businesses, both well known and not, checking for unregistered misspellings, similar domain names, or expired registrations. There are many scams.

One example that comes to mind is the Woolworths-owned Dick Smith Electronics. Its main website is dse.com.au. However it was discovered in 2007 that another version of their business name had not been registered by the company, and had been turned into a pornography portal.

To avoid such problems make timely decisions about domain names and IP protection.

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Six permanent residency rules for couples or partners

In the year ending June 2007, Australia granted permanent residency to 161,000 migration applicants. About 25% of them came in as partners of Australians. These include de-facto, gay and lesbian partners.

1.  At what time can a partner visa be lodged?

A partner can be either overseas or in Australia at the time of lodging a migration application with the Immigration Department.

The time an Australian partner visa application can be lodged varies. It depends on the nature of the partner relationship.

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Australia's first 11 in performance and valuation

Every day people examine news, sharemarket performance and other factors looking for signs and explanations for shifts in valuations for companies, businesses and assets.

Their search leads to mountains of books, articles and electronic data feeds. Only a few sources are insightful, reliable and free of bias. Even fewer focus on Australia.

One useful book on increasing company performance and valuations is The First XI. It is written by four Australian authors who have either an academic or consulting background or a combination of both. The lead author is Professor Graham Hubbard, currently Head of Adelaide Graduate School of Business. Hubbard.

Prof Hubbard and his co-authors apply rigour to answer this question: What is it that winning organisations do which gets them above-average performance over the long term?

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Medical conditions don't rule out visa applications

Did you know that gay and lesbian applicants can successfully obtain an interdependent (partner) migration visa even when they have a serious health condition? They can seek what is known as the health waiver.

This means that as long as health costs are not excessive, they can obtain the visa.  This benefits applicants who have a serious health condition, such as being HIV positive.

The standard health test applied by the Australian Department of Immigration does not leave much room for visa applicants with an illness or condition. It certainly rules out applicants who have HIV or any serious condition which might cost some A$26,500 over a five year period to treat.

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Want a work visa for Australia?

Clients often come into my office and make a simple request: "I want to apply for a work visa." The reality is that strictly speaking a substantial number of visas are not granted because of work reasons. Instead, they may have a right to work attached. What do I mean?

First, there are over 100 different visas types. The Department of Immigration has recently tried to reduce that number with changes relevant to skilled visas. Second, popular permanent visas include these two categories:

-   partner visas, this is a relationship-based visas; and
-   points tested skilled visas.

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Intellectual property defined

This post continues our series on terminology. The series so far has definitions of business model, commercialisation, and innovation.

"Intellectual property" is a legal term. Intellectual property law is a loose category, with variations country by country. It includes copyright, confidential information, registered trade marks and patents. A longer list for Australia is set out at the end of this post.

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"New England Australia" is now a geographic indicator for wine

"New England Australia" was registered in January 2008, joining about 60 other Australian wine regions recognised under law by Australia's Geographical Indications Committee.

The name is now protected under Australian wine law. The addition of the word "Australia" distinguishes the name, eg from the New England region in the United States.

There are several practical consequences for wine producers of New England. Here's our overview.

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"New England Australia" is now a geographic indicator for wine

"New England Australia" was registered in January 2008, joining about 60 other Australian wine regions recognised under law by Australia's Geographical Indications Committee.

The name is now protected under Australian wine law. The addition of the word "Australia" distinguishes the name, eg from the New England region in the United States.

There are several practical consequences for wine producers of New England. Here's our overview.

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Gay and lesbian visa applications for Australia

Did you know that gay or lesbian partners of Australian permanent residents or citizens can apply for permanent residence of Australia?

The visa to apply for is called an interdependency visa. The visa is similar to the spouse visa (de-facto grounds) applicable to heterosexual couples.

If successful an applicant will initially get a temporary two year visa, with full work and travel rights. A person can also obtain a Medicare card. Around two years after lodgement of the application, the Department of Immigration will assess for the grant of a permanent visa.

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Facts are critical for success in war and law

Gerard Chaliand, an international guerrilla warfare expert and friend, describes war as involving a combination of strategy, tactics and instinct. These ingredients are also necessary in legal work, especially for litigation and the resolution of disputes.

To develop a strategy or tactics it is best to find the most relevant and reliable facts. Otherwise you may rely purely on instincts.

Finding facts takes time, effort, energy and documentation. Facts are events, transactions or circumstances either seen, heard, experienced or documented. They are not opinion, suspicion, hearsay or rhetoric.

Here's an efficient way to group facts in disputes and litigation. Prepare a chronology of events. Create a table with three columns and lots of rows. In each row of the first column type the date for each event; if the date is uncertain indicate this. In the second column type a short form description of each event. In the third column, name or refer to the evidence for that event. It may be a conversation, an act, a failure to act, or a document (eg a letter, invoice, statement, or contract).

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Project management rules for IT proposals and contracts

Software development agreements vary a lot. Long gone are the days of software development agreements with a stable state range of clauses.

This conclusion arose after recent IT contract drafting work. It inspired a spring clean of our firm's 200 odd IT template contracts and related documents.

For an Australian contract lawyer, template updating is like a gum tree shedding dead bark, hence the accompanying Hans Heysen painting.

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Creative Commons licences are useful but oversold

Creative Commons is a popular movement feeding on a populist "anti-copyright molopolists" zeitgeist growing in recent decades, particularly among academics, hackers and the digerati.

The reception given to Creative Commons has been so positive  and widespread that it has obscured the fact that it is the right solution some of the time; it is not all of the solution for all people all of the time. It is useful for solving a range of needs of copyright creators, licensors, and users. It adds to and is supported by traditional copyright law and practices. It does not replace them. This article uses the word "traditional" to distinguish approaches to copyright licensing which pre-date Creative Commons.

This article is a critique in praise of Creative Commons. It is structured around three observations regarding limitations or limiting design features in Creative Commons licences. To maintain focus, examples are only drawn from the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Australia licence. Many comments also apply to the five other Creative Commons licences available in Australia.

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In 2008 I'll rejoice if...

  1. People (including our managing partner) realise the iPhone, though sexy, is not a new deity to be worshipped!
  2. Old world corporations and organisations finally move out of the dark ages and into the new media reality.
  3. Clients stop treating lawyers like the fire brigade – only calling when their house is on fire.
  4. Copyright owners show restraint, common sense and a little bit of PR nous when enforcing their rights.
  5. 80 odd percent of internet users finally realise there is a better internet browser out there.
  6. Complex documents, manuals and contracts prepared by us stop being treated as if written in Sanskrit.
  7. The fluoro-fashion comeback dies.
  8. Apple Computers and Apple Records “Come Together”, rather than the latter singing “Can't Buy Me Love”.
  9. We are hired to advise someone, anyone, in the C7 appeal.
  10. I actually have already won, as proclaimed by the countless spammers flooding my inbox.

But I’m not holding my breath!

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