Australian intellectual property (“IP”) law is a very large canvas. So is the concept of “lawyer”. Without explanation, telling someone I’m an IP lawyer sends a vague message in my case. No, I don’t go to court all the time. And no I don’t get paid just for legal advice.
Certainly in most cases I have some focus on specific technical areas of IP law (eg copyright, confidential information or trade marks) or areas in the vast field known as “business law”.
Yet what’s often needed is also general or in-depth non-legal knowledge.
It may be knowledge or know-how from a particular industry sector (eg digital content publishing, wine, software), product (eg handbags, books, music), service (eg outsourcing, distribution), system (eg project management, risk management, document management), or technology (eg chemicals, Web, machines).
In all this there is a constant. What clients are really willing to pay for is not knowledge of law. Nor is it the simple sports analogy of winning or losing. In law a “win” can be a loss once you factor in legal costs!
What clients in fact want to pay for is application of law in ways that save time and money, avoid hassles, and create quality results for their product, services and cases.
This is what guarantees satisfaction in non-litigation matters. And this is where management and business model knowledge is very useful.
Despite being an intellectual property and business lawyer in Australia, I regard management as more important than law, and industry economics and business models as more important than management. I believe this line of thinking will grow in years to come. Straight law is dated and challenged in many ways that need reinvention.
Simplicity is paramount for client satisfaction. For me Twitter has a role here. I use it to discover important hints, signals, and truths from others I follow on Twitter. I also use it to harvest the same by me, triggered by news events, my daily reading schedule, and insights from 27 years as an IP lawyer.
So for people in businesses using or affected by IP, here’s 64 of my posts on Twitter in 2010. A common theme is perspectives useful for entrepreneurs involved in digital media content licensing. The deeper structure indicates the combination at work of law, management and business model knowledge which creates the values for which clients are really happy to pay.
Contract Negotiation and Valuation Hints
- If for a business contract the parties don’t agree on a total valuation, try breaking up work into stages, and separately value each stage.
- Business contract drafting can break into stages: 1 business model development, 2 working draft, and 3 release draft 1, 2, 3, etc.
- For valuation of an architect’s work, break drafting work into stages: 1 schematics, 2 preliminary, 3 working & 4 release drafts 1, 2, etc.
- Live action film script development also has settled stages: 1 Concept, 2 Treatment, 3 Script, 4 Script Revisions, and 5 Shooting Script.
- Contract drafters are like engineers. They build things. The results are better when they architect, craft and customise the contracts.
- Nielsen SoundScan: 97,751 albums released in 2009, 12 albums sold 1 million plus units. It was 22 albums in 2008, 27 albums in 2007 & 35 albums in 2006
- Go figure # 1. Barnes & Noble book chain for sale. Compare market cap. – B&N is $US950m, while Amazon is $US55b
- Go figure # 2. In 2001, the market capitalisation of Barnes & Noble was $US2.2 billion and Amazon $US3.6 billion.
- Go figure # 3. Barnes & Noble was in trouble 2006-08. Even with its online presence, sales & profit became tough.
- Two “branded content” news blips. Television / Masterchef ripple + #Magazine/Venue
Advertising and Social Media
- Advertising statistic 1: Year to 30 June 2010, $A2 billion spent in Australia on internet banner & classifieds Source: Interactive Advertising Bureau this week.
- Advertising statistic 2: In 2010 $US1.68 billion will be spent in U.S. on social networking sites. 50% to FB. Global $US3.3 b.
- Advertising revenue growth mechanisms abound for Google in data mining & matching. Must read in WSJ, great graphics.
- “PR’s Use of Digital Media” – PR blogger confesses to 4 stages of maturity in use of social media. Source: @dialogCRM
IP – Copyright
- Australian copyright law in 2009 & 2010 reverted to its origins requiring originality & authorship.
- Skype’s 2 founders were paid $US344 m (by eBay?) to settle copyright & contract claims for Joltid P2P technology.
- For IP protection, use practical and legal means. Examples here apply to China as much as Australia.
- ISP found liable to pay $US21.6 million to Louis Vuitton for indirect liability for counterfeit goods.
- U.S. court tells Autodesk a .dwg file extension is not eligible as a trademark.
- Trade mark monopoly: in Canada, Colgate now has a trade mark application accepted for three coloured stripes that squeeze out of a toothpaste tube.
- Why talk about “intellectual property legal modelling”? A model simplifies. It’s a tool to attack IP law complexity, obfuscation and costs.
IP – Geographic Indicators
- “Port” listed as geographic indicator Australia cannot use. Meanwhile, EU wine exports to Oz were £56m in 2009.
- All organisations need a legally appropriate business structure. #WikiLeaks has a complex need. Source: The Australian
Venture Finance and Capital
- In 2010 a new generation of finance flowered in Silicon Valley in place of stagnant traditional venture capital markets.
- Skype’s revenue: $US406m Jan-June 2010. Net operating income: $US1.4m, leaving aside $US11m in interest income.
- Skype’s IPO notes risks. There’s Apple & Google. Also, 125 million average monthly users, 8.1 million pay (up 23% on 2009).
- Lean internet start-up strategy – Dave McClure’s latest slideshow checklist and braindump is here (worth a scan!).
- Investment strategy – first mover advantage is greatly over-rated. Facebook & Google are among the examples discussed here.
Dispute Resolution and Litigation
- Good records, well presented, win court cases. Case study: 2010 Federal Court, Design Act 2003 case. Our article.
- Sydney vs Melbourne: Which city’s legal/court culture favours mediation more for IP law cases? Today an informed source told me Melbourne.
- Google’s CFO says its legal fees were $US100m in Viacom v Google. This for a summary decision on copyright, no trial.
- “We invested $US100 million to win this [copyright] case.” said Google’s CFO Patrick Pichette. Viacom sought $US1 billion, Google spent 10% in defence.
Legal Risk Management
- RT @HackettInHouse: Top-notch 2-part article by Steve Barrett on legal project management – very resource intensive.
- Using “Product of Australia” as a label? Primo SmallGoods fined $437,575 for Danish and Canadian bacon products.
- Something new. Am drafting an Information Law Compliance Manual, integrates content to cover spam, privacy, confidentiality & related law.
- “Information Security: Managing the Legal Risks” 2009 CCH book by Nick Gifford. Covers well risk management and information policies and security.
Digital Media Strategic Planning
- Steve Jobs believes great user interfaces win customers. The same is true for contract design.
- A web venture’s API strategy is critical to build new functionality. Facebook sets a standard, LinkedIn falls way behind – #gigaom_s0t
- Losing digital media ventures lack a compelling vision. CEO of Netflix has clear vision. View his slideshow here.
Product Launch Strategy and Innovation
- The failure of Google Wave was in its launch. Put it in Google Docs. PG Siegler writes in TechCrunch. Persuasive.
- “25 Definitions of Innovation“: Blogger’s map & his linked post are better than any of 25 so-called definitions.
- With each World Cup, comes innovation in the ball used. Law academic, Mike Madison tells this illustrated story.
- Forrester Research said 500,000 devices linked to internet in March 2003. Now 5 billion, 10 fold increase!
- The Economist: “The end of Wintel“. Good article, great graphic at the end.
- Is ARM’s semiconductor chips strategy positioned to shrink Intel? Has Intel misjudged mobile & iPad market rise?
- Explorer is 15 years of age this week. Younger than Firefox but older than Chrome or Safari. How dependant we’ve become on teenage browsers.
- Becoming irrelevant – reason home phones are dead. Article overplays by going beyond this reality; but still inspires.
- 5 billion devices link to the internet: 1 b computers, 4 b mobiles, printers, TVs, cars etc. Source: IMS Research
- “The smartest people in tech” – Fortune magazine’s 50 slides. Remarkably eclectic list, big picture perspectives.
- Remaining relevant with cloud computing & virtualisation – reason for HP & Dell bidding for 3PAR. Source: TechCrunch
- Mobile wallet technology in operation: a transaction processing dream from PayPal’s Matthew Russell.
- Robert Scoble video interviews 9 IT ventures in enterprise social media / virtual offices / SharePoint disrupters.
- Information management is political. “Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act” U.S. Vice President speaks in video.
- Information management is political. In the U.S. Russia’s President Medvedev met CEOs of Apple, Google & Twitter.
- Information management is political. ABC journo tells how the ABC was used in the Rudd out, Gillard in, game.
- About 25% of newly elected House of Representatives are former lawyers: 19 in ALP, Liberal 12, Greens 1.
- Lawyers are over-represented in parliaments. Chris Gilbey says apply quotas. Federal parliament’s #lawyers list.
About the Author
- Completed an expert report this week on meaning of “innovation”. Applied my definition and tools as an IP & commercialization specialist.
- Media says I act for two of Australia’s top 10 e-commerce websites. Gartner says social media influences 74% of consumers.
- AGREE? A good legal email or letter states facts, applies law, is structured, maybe with headings & numbering, is clear and takes positions.
- “It’s The Economists, Stupid” a debate here that should also be applied to law teaching & practise. #newmatilda
- Met with social media expert, @deswalsh. His views fed into my article “How to write a social media policy“
- Met 6 solicitors around a table. I said 80% of my business litigation matters are due to bad management, not law. All laughed in recognition.
- AGREE? Maybe 10% of business is about legal issues, 15% accounting issues, leaving 75% “commercial, management and technological” issues.