Standard trade mark licence?

A standard trade mark licence does not exist. If what you seek is a short and basic trade mark licence agreement of say two pages length, then yes, we can assist. So can many other IP lawyers and probably even general business lawyers. And it could be prepared for a low fee.

Would you be comfortable with a short and basic trade mark licence agreement? A missing feature can hurt in some eventualities, especially if you are the trade mark owner.

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Patent and trade marks acts to be strengthened

The Intellectual Property Laws Amendment (Raising the Bar) Bill 2011 proposes a wide range of amendments to patent and trade mark law. This article overviews some of them.

Patents Act Amendment

For patents, the aims of the Bill include to raise the quality of patents granted, require greater disclosure of details of the usefulness of inventions, and expand exemptions for non-commercial research of patented inventions.

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Copyright, ISPs and P2P

This is a short note on the Full Federal Court's February 2011 decision in Roadshow Films Pty Limited v iiNet Limited [2011] FCAFC 23.

In this important decision comprising 807 paragraphs with three counsel on each side, the Full Federal Court upheld the first instance decision of February 2010 (Roadshow Films Pty Ltd v iiNet Limited (No. 3) [2010] FCA 24).

In both decisions iiNet, an internet service provider ("ISP"), was held to be not liable for any copyright infringing activities of its customers who used BitTorrent, a peer to peer software for sharing digital files.

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Risky business proposals

In business negotiations poorly negotiated deal points are like ill-fitting cogs in a machine. They don't work together well, or at all. As ill-fitting parts are stressed, parts warp and system-wide issues proliferate.

I've had decades of experience in business negotiations and documenting results in contracts. It seems more and more new clients come to us only after taking the risk of agreeing to business deals that can't be documented later in a contract, either easily or at all.

Many trends and business management gaps are causing this risk to grow. We'll focus here on proposal writing as a practical way to minimise or avoid the risk.

Some business deal ideas simply can't be made to work, either commercially or legally.

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Intellectual property commercialisation simplified

To get an intellectual property monopoly you need more than legal knowledge. You and your advisers must understand and apply know-how relating to commercialisation, which American cousins spell commercialization. Here's what we do for clients.

To test client product or service ideas, innovations and inventions my firm uses a lot of different questionnaires, checklists and other template-based document types. We supply them via email. For us and for clients these documents save time and hence money and generally help get better results, faster. For clients it's a convenience to not have to come into our office for a long meeting.

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How to begin and end emails

In the year 2000 I noticed people in business taking significant legal risks in preparing emails in a rush. I wrote a detailed article with practical hints titled Email Abuse, search that expression on this site and you'll find the article PDF or go here.

Today poorly written emails are causing business and legal issues in epidemic proportions. (As evidence I'm guided by my firm's experience in new client matters.) These low quality emails feed into risky business proposals, unnecessarily stretch out transactions, and cause higher legal costs.

My purpose here is to reduce these issues with two practical suggestions.

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What trade mark professionals do

Anyone can apply to register a trade mark. To obtain the strongest protection usually requires working with lawyers and other professionals with up-to-date knowledge, resources and experience.

The hurdles and risks of do-it-yourself trade mark filing are many. If minimising costs is your aim then you can do it yourself. If the aim is to build higher quality monopoly legal rights, held by an appropriate owner, and growing as a long-term investment then engage professionals.

Here's seven ways these benefits arise in working with experienced professionals.

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Mobile phone apps lawyers

Which smartphone operating systems ("OS") are currently in play, how do they rate, and what Android OS market share statistics are there?

Helping to frame this question, Choice, the Australian consumer magazine and online service, has published its latest mobile phone analysis titled Touchscreen mobile phones review (registration required).

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Not just trade mark registration

Brand creation and legal protection of of a name requires more than just trade mark registration.

What you register as a trade mark should fit within what we call your overall brand architecture.

Brand architecture is a systematic way of organising the identity of the different products, services, messages, or elements of an organisation so that people both within and outside the organisation understand its brands.

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Music lawyer on business online

When I started building a home media centre last year I discovered something unexpected. My focus was on building a living room hifi system. I wanted it for lossless computer-stored music (I use a Mac and iTunes), not MP3s, iPods, vinyl or CDs.

Being a music lawyer I'm into advice. I asked a audiophile friend for advice, he suggested certain brands and product types and recommended an experienced local hifi shop owner.

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Unfair contracts or terms are unenforceable

From January 2011, as part of the new Australian Consumer Law, a national unfair contracts legal regime affects contracts with consumers.

Section 23 of the new Competition and Consumer Act 2010 makes a term in a consumer contract void if the term is unfair and the contract is a standard form contract.

Let's examine those prerequisites from a consumer's perspective.

1. Am I a consumer?

You are a consumer if you acquire goods or services to an amount that does not exceed $40,000. Goods or services costing more than $40,000 are covered if they are of a kind ordinarily acquired for personal, domestic or household use or consumption.

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How to improve contract drafting legal services

The responsibility for producing faster, better and more economical legal work falls on lawyers, as well as clients.

Consider the client side of costs for contract drafting.

Fees will be higher if key business, commercial or technical considerations (collectively "management needs") are not dealt with before going to a contract drafting lawyer for "legal services".

It has to cost more to have the lawyer provide legal services as well as deal with or resolve management needs.

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5 key contracts for an online business

An online business website typically requires five key legally binding contracts. They form the foundation for building an online business.

No online business can live without them.

If they are not in place, or they are poorly prepared or assessed, any one of them can at any stage weaken or ruin a business.

So what are the five key contracts for an online business?  

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Contract Drafting Tips Series: Recitals

In 2004 the Winklevoss brothers sued Facebook saying they were robbed. Under a deal resulting from mediation they got a reported $US65 million (in a combination of shares and cash). In return Facebook bought, and subsequently closed, their competing social network, ConnectU. The deal was consummated in a February 2008 "Terms Sheet and Settlement Agreement".

In April 2010 the Winklevoss brothers commenced appeal proceedings seeking to unravel that Agreement. Why?

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Simplicity defined

The search for simplicity in life and work heightens after a good holiday break and at the beginning of each new year. Free of clutter, our minds thirst for what is important.

Complexity is not the enemy. It often has a reason for being. The very best cheeses (French) and wines (Australian) I had during my holiday break were complex!

Popular magazine articles on simplicity get it wrong year after year. Their "to do" lists fail to give due recognition to the justification for complexity. I like the 80-20 rule as explained in the Richard Koch book on the subject. Doing the important 20% is not about simply throwing out the other 80%.

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