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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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Wine_barrel

"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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Hense_oz

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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In 2008 I'll groan each time...

  1. A conference organiser uses "2.0" after a one word conference title.
  2. Writers spring to their keyboards after every news blip from Google, Microsoft or Facebook.
  3. People and governments don't realise how much the world has changed in recent years.
  4. Yet more calls are made for legislation to pour out of parliaments (which nobody has the time to read).
  5. I have to read a judge's decison which is unnecessarily long and lacking in structure.
  6. I let myself or a client down by failing to do something faster, cheaper, or better.
  7. I receive email attachments from a client with next to zero explanations or background.
  8. A meeting is requested with neither a clear agenda or any background documents.
  9. People tout their virtues and fain disinterest in power, fame or fortune.
  10. After I provide detailed advice, a potential client says "My gut feeling is a small law firm can't do this job."
  11. I receive a business enewsletter as engaging as spam.

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Jurisdiction clauses, legal rules and rulers

AAP reports that this week a Magna Carta manuscript was sold at a Sotheby's auction for A$24.8 million to an anonymous telephone bidder.

Ross Perot's foundation has owned it since 1984. Previously it was held by the Brudenell family of Northamptonshire, England since the late 14th or early 15th centuries.

Apparently 17 Magna Carta manuscripts  have survived, with only two held outside Britain.

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Business model defined

Intellectual property does not make money on its own. It needs a suitable business model.

To illustrate that truism, flash back to the 1970s and the ever-fascinating PARC riddle. The riddle is: Why was so much invented and created at PARC, yet so little gained in financial terms by the owner of PARC?

The owner of PARC was Xerox. PARC stands for the Palo Alto Research Centre, founded in 1970. In all senses, Palo Alto is in the center of Silicon Valley. At PARC the Xerox photocopier fortune helped establish and feed extraordinary creativity and invention.

 

The PARC team created the core of much of what we consider to be basic IT today.

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Is your know-how under-valued?

All businesses derive revenues from know-how. No business could get anything done without know-how. Yet very few apply knowledge and time to treat their know-how in a structured way to protect it effectively and build more value.

Fewer still evaluate or formally value their know-how. They are not helped by accountants, lawyers and advisers who respond with generic textbook approaches.

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Luis Vuitton mashups & fashion law

What do Britney Spears and a dog toy manufacturer called Haute Diggity Dog have in common? Answer: both were recent defendants in legal actions in France and the US by luxury goods maker Louis Vuitton.

Both were engaged in new-media-style mashups that could be described as brand guerrilla warfare. Louis Vuitton elected to fire back with traditional litigation.

Their tales are titillating examples of creative mashups causing legal bashups.

These recent court decisions also illustrate important lessons in differences in the treatment of parody, satire and other forms of brand guerrilla warfare in France, the United States and Australia.

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Hense_oz

Securing fairness for Australian visa applicants

I was having a debate with a neighbour last week, and the conversation went from politics to whether Australia is a racist country.

My neighbour took the view that Australia is no worse than any other country in the world, and a lot better than most. I took the view that Australia still has a way to go to eliminate racism. Common public statements by our leaders are that Australia is an egalitarian and fair country, the land of the "fair go". This is not always the case.

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Californification of titles without trade marks

Showtime Network, a pay TV channel picked Californication to title its TV series. The Red Hot Chilli Peppers had already used it to title a song and album.

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