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Intellectual Property Employer or Employee…who owns the rights?

Do you have employees that do not understand their obligations regarding work they create during the course of their employment? Are you unsure of what rights as an employer you have to work product?

The primary position is that any work created by an employee is owned by the employer, including any intellectual property rights within the work. There may be ways in which an employer or employee has contracted out of this position or altered ownership of the various rights. There is also the question of moral rights…but that is for another time. It is a common misconception by employees that any work product they create is their own and they are entitled to all rights to such work product upon leaving their employment. Former employees, as a result, can then conduct themselves in a manner which may infringe on rights held by the employer in copyright which subsists in a work they may have created whilst employed. [...]  READ MORE →

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Intellectual Property Rights

Metaverse vs Reality: Intellectual Property Rights

Despite the law often falling behind the fast-paced nature of the digital world, current legislative framework around intellectual property protection has been implemented to provide protection in the metaverse.

The metaverse is a virtual space that mimics reality, allowing access through technologies such as virtual reality, augmented reality and artificial intelligence. In contrast to the internet where browsers are considered an ‘observer’, the metaverse is a place where people can ‘live’ and be a part of a virtual space surrounding them. [...]  READ MORE →

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When is Trade Mark Infringing

There are many circumstances where the use of a logo, image, word, phrase or other form of mark may be infringing on a registered trade mark. However, it can sometimes be difficult to comprehend or identify when infringement occurs where it is not clear if the alleged infringing mark is actually being used as a trade mark.

Pursuant to s 120 of the Trade Marks Act 1995 (Cth) (“the Act”), a person can only infringe a registered trade mark. Therefore, if a person uses a trade mark but has never taken steps to register the trade mark with IP Australia (and obtain registration), they do not receive the protection and exclusive right provided by the Act to make a claim and/or prosecute infringement of their trade mark. [...]  READ MORE →

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COVID19 – IP Australia provides relief by way of extensions

We are in an unprecedented times; however, steps are being taken by the Government departments, such as IP Australia, to provide relief to their customers and relieve some of the burden and/or financial strain on applicants.

IP Australia, as of 22 April 2020, will be providing relief to applicants by granting free extensions of time, in respect of most applications and processes.

The extensions of time will provide up to an additional 3 months on any deadline required and the fee for such applications will be waived by IP Australia. IP Australia are even in the process of providing refunds to those who have been impacted by COVID-19 and have lodged extension applications without the fee waiver. [...]  READ MORE →

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Employment Law – Ex-Director Restrained by IP

Employment Law – Background

Climate Change Technology P/L (‘CCT’) has sought an interlocutory injunction to restrain a former director and inventor of a thermal energy battery.  The employment law decision raises the importance of documenting relationships.

Employment Law – Facts

In essence:

  • first of all, Dr Patrick Glynn was employed by CCT between 2011 and 2016. He was its principal research officer and director. In addition, Dr Glynn was appointed its chief executive towards the end of his tenure at CCT
  • he invented a thermal energy storage device and assigned a patent to it in 2011. Furthermore, he signed an intellectual property agreement
  • CCT submitted that they spent about $5 million over the last six years on researching and developing the device and associated technology
  • when Dr Glynn quit in 2016, he allegedly retained intellectual property and confidential information in relation to the device. Furthermore, he set up another research and development company and an umbrella company
  • in addition, CCT alleged that Dr Glynn and the companies had been negotiating with third parties he had first dealt with when he was employed at CCT
  • consequently, CCT was granted an interim injunction in March
  • as a result, CCT are seeking the return of intellectual property and confidential information to stop its ‘misuse and dissemination’
  • furthermore, CCT are seeking to prevent Dr Glynn and the companies from exploiting business opportunities which arose while he was director and representative

Employment Law – Decision

Justice Nicholson:

  • noted an intellectual property agreement appeared to be the ‘only express written agreement potentially relevant to the parties’ relationship’
  • noted there was ‘no written employment agreement, no deed of confidentiality or restraint of trade regulating the parties’ relationship or [Dr Glynn’s] post-employment obligations with respect to [CCT] is in evidence’
  • accepted direct supporting evidence Dr Glynn worked full-time as a chief scientist. In addition, he devoted thousands of hours to its project and possessed a significant amount of confidential information about its intellectual property
  • was satisfied there was support for potential findings that CCT was the owner of the intellectual property. Furthermore, such support indicates a large number of digital files were transferred following Dr Glynn’s resignation
  • said it was open to the court to discern from email correspondence that Dr Glynn and the companies had been negotiating with third parties
  • was satisfied that damages would not be an adequate remedy
  • concluded CCT is entitled to an interlocutory injunction. The injunction will restrain Dr Glynn and the two companies from using, exploiting, destroying or altering the ‘project intellectual property and confidential information’
  • the injunction also names entities and individuals whom they are restrained from any dealings relating to the device. Furthermore, it requires the recording of any transactions or dealings in relation to the device

Employment Law – Tips for Employers

Our Matthews Folbigg Workplace Solutions employment law team recommends employers:

  • review this employment law decision
  • seek the assistance of an employment lawyer to understand the impacts of this employment law decision
  • engage an employment lawyer to draft a written employment agreement with a suitable restraint of trade clause relevant to the position
  • engage an employment lawyer to draft a suitable deed of confidentiality
  • update employment contracts in response to this employment law decision
  • consult an employment lawyer if you suspect company confidential information or intellectual property has been misused

Employment Law – More Information

Please call the leading employment lawyers in Parramatta, the Matthews Folbigg Workplace Solutions employment law team on 9635-7966 to speak with one of our employment lawyers. [...]  READ MORE →

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Intellectual Property and the Personal Property Securities Register (PPSR)

If you have a security interest in intellectual property such as a mortgage over a patent or trade mark, you must register that interest on the PPS Register in order to protect and enforce it.

Security interests recorded on IP Australia’s registers are not being automatically transferred to the PPS Register. As the transitional period has now ended, it is important to register your interest as soon as possible.

If you would like more information about the PPSR or whether an interest in intellectual property is a PPS interest, contact the specialised legal team at Matthews Folbigg in Parramatta. [...]  READ MORE →