The Full Court of the Federal Court of Australia has reaffirmed that a registered trade mark can only be infringed by the primary user of a trade mark and there is no concept of authorisation of infringement recognised under Australian trade mark law.Read More
The Australian Federal Court recently handed down its first-instance judgement in Thaler v Commissioner of Patents  FCA 879 where the central issue considered was whether an artificial intelligence (AI) system could be an ‘inventor’ for the purposes of the Australian Patents Act 1990 (Act) and its corresponding regulations. The Court found that an AI system can be an inventor – where ‘inventor’ may be construed broadly to include a ‘person or thing that invents’1. This decision puts Australia in the spotlight as a favourable country to patent AI-created inventions – for now. Given the subject-matter and controversy generated by this decision, an appeal to the Full Federal Court is almost certain.Read More
Many companies and activists toe the line of trade mark and copyright infringement in the name of parody, satire and criticism. In Australia, the fair dealing copyright exception for the purpose of parody or satire had rarely been judicially considered. There have now been two recent cases considering the defence.Read More
The importance of ensuring trade mark registrations accurately reflect the marks in usage has been brought into sharp relief by the recent decision of a Delegate of the Registrar of Trade Marks in Planet Plumbing SW Works Pty Ltd v Green Planet Maintenance Pty Ltd  ATMO 32.
The Hearing Officer directed that registrations for two “Planet Plumbing” logos be removed from the Register after the owner, Planet Plumbing SW Works Pty Ltd (PP) failed to defend against a non-use application by Green Planet Plumbing Pty Ltd (GPP) under section 92 of the Trade Marks Act 1995 (Cth) (the Act).Read More
A clear cut case of copyright infringement involving Twisted Sister’s hit song “We’re Not Gonna Take It” (WNGTI) has demonstrated the Court’s willingness to award significant financial penalties where intellectual property rights have been “flagrantly” infringed.
In Universal Music Publishing Pty Ltd v Palmer (No 2)  FCA 434, Justice Katzmann of the Federal Court ordered Australian businessman and United Australia Party (UAP) founder Clive Palmer to pay AU$1.5 million in damages after finding that he had infringed copyright in WNGTI. Katzmann J notably awarded AU$1 million in additional damages, two-thirds of the total award, under section 115(4) of the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth) (Act).
The action was brought against Mr Palmer by joint applicants Universal Music Publishing Pty Ltd and Songs of Universal (collectively, Universal), which are the exclusive Australian licensee and copyright assignee respectively.Read More
In a technological age where most consumers are receiving their information digitally, brands need to find new ways to engage with consumers. With nine out of ten Australians owning a smart phone and spending on average three hours a day on their devices, consumer engagement by way of multimedia is growing, increasing the popularity of movement trade marks.
The first movement trade mark was registered in Australia in 2002. There are currently 99 registered movement trade marks in Australia.Read More
The Designs Amendment (Advisory Council on Intellectual Property Response) Bill 2020 (Bill), with important changes to designs law, is currently before Senate for consideration. It includes a much-anticipated change to implement a grace period that will allow designers to publish their designs before applying for design protection.Read More
The High Court of New Zealand in Energy Beverages LLC v Frucor Suntory NZ Limited  NZHC 3296 ruled that energy drink company Frucor Suntory NZ Ltd’s (Frucor) non-traditional green colour trade mark was valid. This decision is a rare example of a New Zealand based Court analysing non-traditional marks and highlighting the difference to Australia’s position. A full copy of the decision can be found here.Read More
In the recent judgment State of Escape Accessories Pty Limited v Schwartz  FCA 1606, Justice Davies of the Federal Court of Australia found a fashionable neoprene tote bag was not a “work of artistic craftsmanship” and therefore not an “artistic work” for the purposes of the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth) (the Act). Since the Court found that copyright did not subsist in the State of Escape bag (the Escape Bag), there was no finding of copyright infringement.Read More