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Business Law Articles - December 2008

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The following articles were gratefully supplied by Dilanchian Lawyers and Consultants - Intellectual Property and Innovation Professionals.


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IP Law What do Australians love to wear the most?
Australians buy a lot of swimwear, underwear and shorts. They have a passion for them. This came to mind in recent intellectual property and business development project work for a client with a swimwear brand with growing export potential. What explains this Australian passion? Moreover, what explains Australia's success in the commercialisation of this type of apparel? The answer tells us a lot about the importance of national brand perceptions and national market size.

What every business should know about IP ownership
The legal ownership of intellectual property ("IP") may be unclear if one party uses IP created by another but has no clear legally binding contract, preferably written. Stop reading if that point is understood with respect to employment and independent contractor agreements. What follows is detail. Various types of contract can avoid numerous IP risks, issues and problems.

Green technology lowers friction and attracts VC
Climate changes, humans respond. People jump on new opportunities. This pattern is as old as humanity. One theory on why 150,000 years ago early man moved out of Africa points to climate change in that continent. Today the concern is that climate change seems to be speeding up. With rising valuations and evaluations entrepreneurs with green technology or anything green are jumping on the opportunity. This post is about innovation, entrepreneurship and investment, all topics of interest for regular readers of this Lightbulb blog.

Intellectual property rights defined
Here on one page are descriptions of intellectual property rights under law in Australia. It's part of our series defining key concepts relevant to IP and innovation (see further reading list). Questions answered include - What subject matter attracts the rights? How do you get the rights? How long do rights last?

It's better to design your IP than IP your design
"Kid, don't steal the hubcaps, steal the whole car." Frank Sinatra speaks this line in the 1964 Rat Pack movie, Robin and the seven hoods. He plays Robbo, a 1920s Chicago gangster. He recalls a mentor and says, "When I was a kid, he caught me stealin' hubcaps off his car, and he said, 'Kid, don't steal the hubcaps, steal the whole car.' " This was wise guy advice for 1920s Chicago. Today in Australia, for car makers and others with intellectual property (IP) assets, we believe hubcap thieves are the most common and dangerous pests. As IP strategists we'll share tips on how to lock them out.

7 topics for proposal writing or review
Good ideas need a proposal in support. Here's a checklist of seven key topics to help improve your proposals. It is not written with any particular industry or type of product or service in mind. The further reading list contains more guidance, some of which relates to specific areas.

How to visualise your brand
A fun and helpful website tool at wordle.net can help visualise your business and its offerings. It can be used to visualise messages associated with your brand. If you don't have clarity about your brand, it makes it harder to sell to others. I often say this to clients seeking trade mark registration or cultural or operational changes in their business.

Economic conditions for Australians, November 2008
Here at Lightbulb we are no friend of churnalism. It misleads, rots brains, produces stupidity. So instead of regurgitating writing by others (ie churnalism), our preference is to include links to good writing while providing analysis or commentary. After all, Lightbulb is a magazine or journal style of publication, not a daily. This preference flew out the door this morning. It took flight on reading a very timely, succinct and nicely illustrated piece by Jim Belshaw on the economic conditions for Australians today. Belshaw provides a snapshot on a paper delivered by Ric Battellino, the Deputy Governor of Australia's Reserve Bank.

Key Australian stockmarket downturn statistics

"One year ago, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index sailed to a record 6828.70 points. Amid the euphoria of a seemingly unassailable resources boom, even the most sober analysts thought a break above 7000 points was inevitable. Fast forward 12 months and the market is barely clinging to 4000 points. Despite a strong rally yesterday, shares have shed 41% since peaking last November 1 [2007], as the crippling credit crisis and threat of global recession turns the world on its head." "A year and $650bn later - Nightmare anniversary for investors" by George Liondis in The Australian Financial Review, 31 October 2008, p. 27. Further reading: Special Collection: Business Valuation, Sale or Purchase.

Linkedin helps recruiters and employees but what helps employers?
If an employee collects customer "friends" in Linkedin, can the employee do business with those "friends" after joining a new employer? Can that employee who collected the customer "friends" while at the former employer now use them with the new employer? This question became topical due to an English employment law court case in early 2008.

How to minimise risks under the Do Not Call Register Act
The A$147,400 fine paid by Dodo Australia Pty Ltd ("Dodo") highlights the legal risks of telemarketing under Australian law. It also shows the teeth of the Do Not Call Register Act 2006 (Cth) ("Act") for calls made to home landlines and personal mobile phones which are on the Do Not Call Register. The first offence fine paid by Dodo underlines what we said in Telemarketers must comply with the Do Not Call Register Act: "Marketing is one of the most regulated business functions and is affected by well over 20 different laws in Australia."

13 tasks for starting a business
Yesterday I received an email from India asking for advice on how to start an IT consultancy business. I'll share my answer. Most of it applies to all types of businesses. The email from India asked: "How do I start my company, which persons do I contact, and what resources should I acquire."

7 intellectual property principles build value
A few years ago I wrote a personal vision of what it takes for a client to benefit from innovation. At the time I was seeking to integrate several models or typologies for the commercialisation of intellectual property. I titled my statement "RAPS Conversion Model". It was like a manifesto. This post ends with a list of the 7 principles discussed in the RAPS statement. I made up the RAPS acronym from Requirements, Assets, Perspectives and Systems. My focus was on how to convert intellectual property into value, hence the terms "Conversion Model". While I was not thinking of it at the time, RAPS harked back to the time of Leonardo da Vinci. You could be a painter and arty at the same time as gain respect as a scientist and technologist. All areas continue to be fueled by imagination and creativity. Maybe we are returning to that age. I'll return to this theme later.

How to select a suitable business model, deal or contract
Is your business seeking to collaborate with others but is unsure how to go about it? Are you unsure of the options, legal jargon and financial terms of engagement? Here's the classic process to unblocking this log jam. Business relationships involve deals, deal making, business models and contracts. How do these concepts differ? How do you select the best option for a particular situation? This post illustrates our specialisation in helping clients define their business relationships. It's part of doing business and more broadly, business structuring and enterprise structuring.

Report lists top six ICT trends
A new report by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) highlights six trends in the Information Communications Technology (ICT) sector. The report suffers from a fixation on technology. Its comfort zone is bits, bytes and gizmos. Equal space should have been given to use made of IT and communications by business and consumers and the wide-ranging implications of changing patterns of use. The 18 page report is titled Top six trends in communications and media technologies, applications and services: possible implications (PDF file).

Robert Mondavi and the commercialisation of Leeuwin Estate
"Naked ladies dancing on the tongue." This is how I responded on first tasting Art Series Chardonnay at the cellar door of Leeuwin Estate in 2004. Hearing my uncensored appreciation, the man serving me at the cellar door, Mr D. Moore, told me a story. He told me about the wine's background. It is arguably Australia's greatest Chardonnay. It's almost A$100 a bottle.

Speed pays in IP commercialisation
Speed pays. You already know that customers pay more if you can deliver fast with no reduction in quality. Speed wins. Speed is a critical pre-requisite to be competitive in markets. Speed in innovation pays and wins. In a commercialisation venture it is helpful to measure speed. Get a measure of the speed of change of intellectual property and the agility of the management team, business processes, methodologies and technology.

Structured networks and the next internet wave
With brilliant imagination, in its opening ceremony the Sydney Olympics presented Nikki Webster in the Australian experience of going swimming. (*). More than water skills will be needed beyond the Beijing Olympics for Australian online businesses to survive and thrive against the next internet wave. From 1995 the web encouraged water sports. Today the internet has moved beyond surfing. The question here is how should Australian online businesses compete in the years ahead to serve local, international or global markets.

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