Regulations framework for e-commerce pharmaceuticals

What is the law in Australia for selling Viagra or Cialis online? Many internet sites now offer customers the opportunity to purchase these and other pharmaceuticals online - usually at a considerable discount compared to prices quoted by off-line retail pharmacies in shopping strips and shopping malls.

E-commerce businesses offering pharmaceuticals from online shopping sites with Australian domain names or that operate within Australia, and who are not pharmacies themselves, need to be mindful of the complex and somewhat grey law governing the online marketing, advertising and sale of pharmaceuticals in Australia.

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Open source software as a business strategy

This article is a background story to a common mantra today about how giving something away for free on the internet can be a very effective business model. This is a technology commercialisation case study worth knowing. It has inspired millions of technologists and us as open source software law specialists.

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Entrepreneurship defined in a Q&A

Entrepreneurship is serious business. Failure can have major consequences.

Just like survivors of civil wars and family divorces, survivors of failed entrepreneurial ventures or collaborations rarely forget the past, and in the worst cases, are permanently scarred.

The risk of failure can be avoided or at least minimised. This article sets out 10 questions and answers to light the way.

1. What is entrepreneurship?

We define entrepreneurship as:

"a process which treats the factors of production (land, labour, capital and knowledge) to produce new businesses, goods and services".

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Business law versus business process and competency

One of the key contemporary challenges for entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial ventures remains this: that without proper businesss processes and business competencies, opportunities disappear.

Informed commentators often note that the level of competition in markets has led to an emphasis, especially in recent decades, on competition at a deeper level than just products and services.

The deeper level is competition created by innovation in business process and business competency. It's part of improving productivity by working smarter, not harder.

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6 practical IP principles

Here are 6  principles you won't find discussed in any academic book on intellectual property (IP law). Legal culture tends not to promote practical IP advice in Australia. For Lightbulb that's an inspiration and an opportunity.

This IP law blog has always been on a mission to discover and promote know-how rather than theory about IP. Our mission is to distill know-how from what we read and learn as IP lawyers and consultants in projects for clients.

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Heads of agreement simplified

With this post I'm taking the risk of being accused of using child labour. I plead guilty.

I am a great believer in simplification. A way to simplify is to give the job to a junior. I did that this month with a high school work experience student in my law firm. She watched me draft a heads of agreement.

My job was to draft a contract. Two financial services industry companies wished to collaborate more closely. They were cross-referring clients and projects and sharing commissions.

Her job was to simplify. Here is the student's list of key points she learned, with only light editing by me. She simplified complexity, something we aspire to in our law firm.

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App Store downloads - can't catch me sings Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs is probably singing in his shower at the escalating success of the iPhone App Store. See the extract below from Apple's press release today (US time), 14 July 2009. In less than three months Apple has gone from 1 billion App Store downloads to now 1.5 billion! In less than 12 months it's gone from zero downloads to 1.5 billion.

Lightbulb has the lyrics and melody to fit! Cue music - Chuck Berry's wonderful 1956 hit, You Can't Catch Me. Berry is as thrilled with his new automobile as people are today with mobile phones.

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Debt recovery dos and don'ts

Debt recovery becomes a priority especially during an economic downturn so here's an updated practical article on the subject.

Bad debts can drive a business into insolvency, expose proprietors to personal liability and lead to far worse. Late payments can do the same.

Aiming for best practice, here's a short list of debt recovery dos and don'ts helpful for creditors.

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The joy of IP strategy - 10 questions

All businesses have some intellectual property (IP), and most can do with a better IP strategy. For a better IP strategy it helps to ask the right questions.

Here are 10 practical questions for a business or idea based on IP. They come from tracking hundreds of client matters in our firm. The questions are especially useful for an IP strategic planning exercise.

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Strategy makes domain name gold

Domain name sales continue to attract occasional remarkable prices. That's great news for a few, but for millions of other domain name holders a reminder is needed that there's no such thing as a free lunch.

As new domain spaces have opened up they've been gold fields for registration services. This is because companies and individuals have rushed to pay and secure valuable names or names perceived to be valuable at some time.

What's missed in the rush is an articulated strategy for name protection and registration. It is this strategy which for most can turn a name into gold.

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Business performance and metrics for SLAs

I have a favourite question in conversations with start-ups and new clients. I ask it very early in a first client interview.

It's a question which leads to discussions about the client's business or commercial situation. I ask the same question of clients who seek SLAs (so-called service level agreements).

It's a question designed to shed light on the client's business model. It also helps identify the business performance metrics or measures which help prepare a good contract to achieve an effective legal solution.

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Legal costs and barrister fees

In June 2009 the Australian Bureau of Statistics published Legal Services, its latest round of statistics on the legal sector. It contained the graphic on the left charting barrister fees and work areas. You'll see intellectual property is about 5% of barrister fees, AKA barrister litigation legal costs.

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Commercialisation defined

This article seeks to define commercialisation, and the related concepts of entrepreneurship and innovation. It does this in the context of many disciplines, including law.

Our interest is particularly on the affect of innovation, entrepreneurship and commercialisation on intellectual assets.

Definitions are important because without them discussions can turn to mud. Preparing definitions can be very hard work. It involves putting a great weight on one's shoulders, like Atlas in the accompanying photo taken in New York's Rockefeller Center in the early 1980s.

A complication for developing useful definitions is that different disciplines use different terms. When referring to intellectual assets lawyers tend to use "intellectual property", management consultants use "intellectual capital",  scientists and engineers might use "technology" and accountants use "intangible assets".

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Business survival checklist

Lightbulb is a law blog on intellectual property and its commercialisation. They might be regarded as esoteric or technical subjects. They are, and they aren't. For example, their broader context is business law and business needs generally.

Prominent in those contexts is the topic of business survival.

Here is a tool to help our readers to conduct a business audit for business survival. What are the signals your business must respond to for survival?

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Internet video business models

Our law firm is now geared for more regular production of online video. The latest videos are linked below. In technology terms we've achieved that competency in collaboration with Michael Ney at Sensory Image and Jason Kemp at Dialog.

Michael and Jason would happy to have a dialogue with you if video online suits your marketing or other needs. Contact them directly or email me.

For our firm the business model for internet video is very clear.

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