Predictions 2009: Information and Communication Technology - Part 2

This is Part 2 of our look at ICT developments in 2009 and beyond. The discussion is structured by the typical marketing lifecycle implemented by ICT vendors.

Part 1 discussed the use of hype and spin in ICT marketing. The terms were applied to the increasing importance of cloud computing in 2009 and beyond.

In this part our focus is on smartphones.

As IP and IT lawyers we'll be monitoring in 2009 the business and software ecosystems around smartphones. This is because we serve the legal needs of those porting their products and service on smartphones, eg software application developers, website ventures, and publishers and other offline and online content owners.

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Predictions 2009: Information and Communication Technology - Part 1

What appears ahead in 2009 and beyond in the information and communication technology (ICT) sector?

This is Part 1 of our review of ICT developments. The discussion is structured around the typical marketing lifecycle implemented by ICT vendors. This involves understanding the terms hype and spin and other terms we'll pick up in the conclusion in Parts 2 and 3.

Hype is where things often begin in ICT. It is ever-present in marketing and public relations in ICT markets. Hype is designed to capture attention, change views, and drive people into action, usually a purchasing decision. Most ICT hype gets hit by our delete buttons. 

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Are adaptations of copyright work legal?

In each case the question of whether there is a copyright infringement requires a review of the law and the facts of the case. We did this after a few minutes of enquiry last month triggered by a Google Alert informing us that one of our articles has been adapted.

Questions arose. Was the unauthorised adapation an infringement? Should prior permission have been sought from us? We'll discuss these in the context of copyright law applicable to adaptation of copyright material made without permission.

This post ends with a practical copyright infringement checklist.

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Predictions 2009: Intellectual Property Law

Intellectual property (IP) law protects future things and processes using copyright, trade mark, patent, design, confidential information and other IP laws. This is usually in combination with IP licences and contracts.

To excel in IP law, particularly the commercialisation of IP and IP contract drafting, it helps to be a good futurist. Decisions are needed for drafting IP contracts, eg for setting royalties and scoping the IP rights granted. If either is set too high, or too low, the inappropriate decision has very concrete consequences, winners and loser.

Wisdom helps improve IP decision making. Wisdom comes with experience and is the result of practical rather than theoretical learning. That's what sets wisdom apart from knowledge, information and data.

Plenty of wisdom for IP futurists can be drawn from Intelletual Property, a 2007 book by Prof. Paul Goldstein. Goldstein's positions discussed here are broadly confirmed by the literature on IP trends generally. Here are our six predictions on where IP law is heading, with evidence and arguments drawn from Goldstein's book.

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Two new publications on IP contracts and business sales

Exciting news. The 2009 edition of the book, Licensing Update, includes a substantive chapter I penned. My piece is titled Current Approaches for Drafting IP Licenses.

It has two audiences in mind. First, readers into licensing and IP law in Australia. Second, drafters who want to improve their methodology for preparing licensing agreements.  

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What do Australians love to wear the most?

Australians buy a lot of swimwear, underwear and shorts. They have a passion for them.

This came to mind in recent intellectual property and business development project work for a client with a swimwear brand with growing export potential.

What explains this Australian passion? Moreover, what explains Australia's success in the commercialisation of this type of apparel? The answer tells us a lot about the importance of national brand perceptions and national market size.

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What every business should know about IP ownership

The legal ownership of intellectual property ("IP") may be unclear if one party uses IP created by another but has no clear legally binding contract, preferably written. Stop reading if that point is understood with respect to employment and independent contractor agreements. What follows is detail.

Various types of contract can avoid numerous IP risks, issues and problems.

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Green technology lowers friction and attracts VC

Climate changes, humans respond. People jump on new opportunities. This pattern is as old as humanity. One theory on why 150,000 years ago early man moved out of Africa points to climate change in that continent.

Today the concern is that climate change seems to be speeding up. With rising valuations and evaluations entrepreneurs with green technology or anything green are jumping on the opportunity.

This post is about innovation, entrepreneurship and investment, all topics of interest for regular readers of this Lightbulb blog.

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Intellectual property rights defined

Here on one page are descriptions of intellectual property rights under law in Australia. It's part of our series defining key concepts relevant to IP and innovation (see further reading list).

Questions answerd include - What subject matter attracts the rights? How do you get the rights? How long do rights last?

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It's better to design your IP than IP your design

"Kid, don't steal the hubcaps, steal the whole car." Frank Sinatra speaks this line in the 1964 Rat Pack movie, Robin and the seven hoods. He plays Robbo, a 1920s Chicago gangster.

He recalls a mentor and says, "When I was a kid, he caught me stealin' hubcaps off his car, and he said, 'Kid, don't steal the hubcaps, steal the whole car.' "

This was wise guy advice in Chicago in the 1920s. Today in Australia, for car makers and others with intellectual property (IP) assets, we believe hubcap thieves are the most common and dangerous pests. As IP strategists we'll share tips on how to lock them out.

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7 topics for proposal writing or review

Good ideas need a proposal in support. Here's a checklist of seven key topics to help improve your proposals.

It is not written with any particular industry or type of product or service in mind. The further reading list contains more guidance, some of which relates to specific areas.

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How to visualise your brand

A fun and helpful website tool at can help visualise your business and its offerings. It can be used to visualise messages associated with your brand.

If you don't have clarity about your brand, it makes it harder to sell to others. I often say this to clients seeking trade mark registration or cultural or operational changes in their business.

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Linkedin helps recruiters and employees but what helps employers?

If an employee collects customer "friends" in Linkedin, can the employee do business with those "friends" after joining a new employer? Can that employee who collected the customer "friends" while at the former employer now use them with the new employer?

This question became topical due to an English employment law court case in early 2008.

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How to minimise risks under the Do Not Call Register Act

The A$147,400 fine paid by Dodo Australia Pty Ltd ("Dodo") highlights the legal risks of telemarketing under Australian law. It also shows the teeth of the Do Not Call Register Act 2006 (Cth) ("Act") for calls made to home landlines and personal mobile phones which are on the Do Not Call Register.

The first offence fine paid by Dodo underlines what we said in Telemarketers must comply with the Do Not Call Register Act: "Marketing is one of the most regulated business functions and is affected by well over 20 different laws in Australia."

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13 legal tasks for starting a business

When starting a business it is best to work with a fairly comprehensive list of prioritised things to do.

The list in this article reflects my 30 years of experience as a business lawyer. The list applies to most businesses, recognising however that there are industry by industry variables.

For example, some businesses require regulatory licences, eg for people in a trade or in a food preparation or sale business.

Additionally, some businesses should prioritise finalisation of written intellectual property licences or assignments, eg for acquisition of the rights to a business name, logo or business system.  

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