Name-availability-search-istock

Search and register names at your own risk

A prospective client this week sought to register a name as a business name or company name. He did his own online name availability search... or so he thought.

On seeing an identical name on a business name register in another state he wondered if he should still proceed with the target name. It was still available as a domain name and trade mark... or so he thought.

I wrote on this topic in What trade mark professionals do. Today I had to be blunt. Here's what I wrote.

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Intellectual-property-people

People create intellectual property

Here's six questions designed to help your company or organisation create intellectual property. Based on your response, prioritise what to do next.

1. Do people love work at your place?
2. Do people at your place feel their careers and the business is developing?
3. Are they trained to take both to the next level?
4. Are the paths for that clear to all?
5. Do the employment contracts align with those paths?
6. Is there credible evidence for your answers to these questions?

These question are focused on people. My personal experience points to people as the top priority. As further evidence let's see what two great inventors working with teams have said.

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Apps-development

"Made for mobile device" opportunity

The window of opportunity is growing for ventures and developers if they have made for mobile device apps, content or services.

1. Market opportunity and niches

Mobility and mobile device screens (smartphones, tablets, e-readers) make possible new functionality and uses for devices.

For example it would be useful to know how readers of The Australian Financial Review use their iPads, about 30% of them have iPads! It's a niche, and there are others hiding in research data.

What's exciting about facts like that is that for developers and their investors mobile device app, content or services development provides a point of market entry.

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Apps-development

"Made for mobile device" opportunity

The window of opportunity is growing for ventures and developers if they have made for mobile device apps, content or services.

1. Market opportunity and niches

Mobility and mobile device screens (smartphones, tablets, e-readers) make possible new functionality and uses for devices.

For example it would be useful to know how readers of The Australian Financial Review use their iPads, about 30% of them have iPads! It's a niche, and there are others hiding in research data.

What's exciting about facts like that is that for developers and their investors mobile device app, content or services development provides a point of market entry.

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App-development-task-list

App development myths and legal tasks

Software development is a field with many myths.

Here's three, following by a myth busting extract from an application development tasks list.

There's the myth of a first mover advantage. Very few successful IT companies were first in their field. Not Google for search engines, not Microsoft for PC operating systems, not Apple for phones or digital music players, and the list goes on.

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Cloud-computing-business-model

Cloud contracts and business models

As our firm is currently working on many contracts for client cloud projects, I listened to this long video and recommend it: The Future of Cloud Computing.

It's a panel presentation held at The Commonwealth Club in California. Some very interesting points are made by the first two speakers.

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Business-start-up-tasks-1

10 legal tasks for an import or export business

Your training and experience shapes how you investigate and understand a business. Accountants look for numbers, geeks ask about IT systems, and journalists seek news. As a business lawyer I read contracts. I've reviewed over 5,000 contracts in my career.

This Friday I'm running a hypothetical at an exhibition for importers and exporters. The topic is Negotiating Your Supplier and Distributor Contracts.

In preparation, I created a handout listing 10 legal tasks for exporters and importers.

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Business-start-up-tasks-1

10 legal tasks for an import or export business

Your training and experience shapes how you investigate and understand a business. Accountants look for numbers, geeks ask about IT systems, and journalists seek news. As a business lawyer I read contracts. I've reviewed over 5,000 contracts in my career.

This Friday I'm running a hypothetical at an exhibition for importers and exporters. The topic is Negotiating Your Supplier and Distributor Contracts.

In preparation, I created a handout listing 10 legal tasks for exporters and importers.

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Trade-mark-self-filers

Letter of demand tips for names and trade marks

Can you file a trade mark application yourself in Australia, without a lawyer or trade mark attorney? Yes. Should you if you don't have substantive experience? No.

Do-it-yourself applications can be dangerous, inadequate, or full of holes for lawyers to drive trucks through.

Here's three reasons and hints on why you'll get value-for-money by outsourcing the job to professionals, at least until you gain experience.

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Apple_logo_silver

Intellectual property frenemies

For decades the Beatles and Apple Computer, Inc were frenemies.

Entities associated with The Beatles sued Apple Computer, Inc three times over almost three decades. They were big cases, they cost a lot to run. They cost Apple Computer even more to settle.

This mostly trade mark dispute story has been retold many times. For example see Wikipedia. It's the frenemy relationship notion that interest us here.

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Employment-contract

Employment contract repudiation as seen on Facebook

Can an employee's strongly worded status update on Facebook repudiate his or her employment contract?

Take two. Could the update be evidence of an employee's unwillingness to perform contractual obligations, so serious as to give the employer a right to terminate the employee? A fuller definition of repudiation appears in the endnote below.

Certainly, Facebook content is increasingly cited in court cases, including in divorce and employment disputes. Posts have been used as evidence to justify termination of employees.

But could a status update, post or comment repudiate a contract, not just put it at risk?

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Book-proposal-checklist

Book proposal checklist

I've been a publishing lawyer for 28 years. In the last year I've been asked by three different friends how to gather thoughts to make a proposal to a book publisher for a non-fiction title.

Here's my most recent advice, stripping it back to a checklist of seven tasks.

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Import-contract-negotiation

Contract negotiation for imports and exports

Few people know that usually more can be gained in a pre-contract negotiation than in negotiations after a written contract is supplied.

It's about the importance of process over documentation, preparation over punctuation, deal making over contract drafting.

To teach this, since the mid-1990s I've run three hypotheticals on the art of contract negotiation.

The hypothetical are both entertaining and informative. I prepare a script and characterisation for the players. The script allows for a great deal of improvisation. The characters are a panel of "actors" (real people in business playing their real life roles, eg businessperson, lawyer, consultant). The plot involves them talking through a deal in direct negotiations on stage. After many issues arise, this live deal making usually ends in a written contract.

The first and probably best hypothetical I ran was in 1995 for developers of multimedia or IT products at the first national conference of AIMIA. The script had a developer with digital media rights to the book, A History of Australia. The person playing the developer role engaged in negotiations with a panel comprising the book author, book publisher and a CD-ROM distributor. They negotiated together on stage bringing the print book to life on a CD-ROM. DVDs and the internet were not technically or commercially feasible back then.

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Copyright-fair-dealing

Copyright exception - fair dealing in news

A recent episode of the ABC's Media Watch highlighted the expanded use of watermarking in TV news video footage and news photos.

It highlighted ticker tape style watermarks on news video footage and multiple watermark labels on news photos.

News source logos have long appeared as watermarks in reports. The following Channel Nine video demonstrates the expanded use of watermarks as well as use of YouTube for public relations to shame Channel Seven.

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Ip-register-istock

IP valuation, tax and 5 benefits of IP Registers

No accountant, business lawyer or executive in business can afford to be clueless about intellectual property ("IP") law. Every business has some IP, eg its name. Yet few know the many benefits of intellectual property registers, or even what they are. Here's an introduction.

For real property there are central registers storing information useful for legal work. They are used for real estate transfers, leasing and other transactions.

For IP there is no one central register for all IP owned by a business or other organisation.

Yes, there are central government registers for patents, designs, plant varieties, and some trade marks. There are also registers for business names and domain names.

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