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Law Articles - October 2009

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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

Financial planners and professional services marketing

I answered a Linkedin question today about the lack of marketing use of social media by financial planners.

The question and the answer are relevant to other professionals. Our insights emerge from dealings with public relations firms, financial planners, and from establishing this Lightbulb lawyers blog and maintaining it since mid-2006. We've also learned from Michael Perkins, a lawyer and author who works closely with financial planners.

Here's the question as posed by Des Walsh, a collaborator with our firm and one of Australia's foremost social media coaches. He is a pioneer in the field in Australia and inspired the establishment of Lightbulb.

"What do you believe are the key obstacles or disincentives for financial planners/advisors for incorporating social media in their marketing strategy? Preparing a short (50 min) workshop style presentation for a group of financial planners in Australia."

Murdoch on internet advertising, pay walls and competition

Mr Rupert Murdoch was interviewed over 37 minutes this week by David Spears of SkyNews on his views on a broad range of subjects. We'll focus here on his perception of the challenge from Google and other search engines for the traditional core of News Corp's power, its newspapers and their advertising-supported business model.

You can watch the video at, and go on to read their take on it.

Apple and Google financial numbers compared

The market cap for both Google and Apple are currently tied at about US$170 billion after Friday's market close. ... Google closed at a share price of US$536.12, while Apple's closed at US$188.5 but with nearly three times as many shares outstanding. Microsoft's market cap is currently approximately US$246 billion, while IBM's is US$158 billion and Yahoo's closed last week at US$22 billion."

Source: Robin Wauters, Google Equals Apple In Value. And Vice Versa! TechCrunch, 2 November 2009. More data flowed out of the comments to that article:

* Revenue per employee per year of Apple is US$992,853.26 and for Google is US$1.101 million
* Price to earnings ratio of Apple is 29 and Google is 40
* Profit margin of Apple is 15.61% and Google is 21.73%
* Operating margin of Apple is 20.96% and Google is 33.92%
* Profit sources for Apple are spread across many hardware and software products and services, whilst

Google's are mostly in advertising.

Entertainment law contract cancer

Just as concrete cancer plays havoc with structures, so does what I'll call "contract cancer".

In the early hours of last night I finalised email advice for an entertainment industry client. My advice was on a licence agreement for my client's sound recordings. The contract was prepared by a multinational company seeking to distribute my client's content.

The contract was littered with little signs of weaknesses. These were gaps or errors in - grammar, clause numbering, and the choice of words. Two clauses were repeated, each time with different wording.

Business law legal risk management framework

In the thick of contract negotiations the process required to get to end game can be messy, convoluted and frustrating.

The negotiation positions of managers and lawyers must be considered. Their required new clauses put in, old clauses taken out or changed. Track changes and comments in Word can help, sometimes.

It helps even more to have a big picture perspective of the process. This article sets out our business law framework for legal risk management.

The topic is not taught in law school. It's taught in very rare legal seminars. It's what you pay a lawyer to do, though it can be set out as we've done here.

On completing IT contract negotiations for a client this week, I was reminded of our framework of six approaches as set out below.

100 tweets by Sydney IP & IT lawyer

One hundred tweets is a personal milestone. In 54 Twitter lawyer grooves from noricd I indicated I found my Twitter mojo. I kept dancing and have now arrived at 100. What's my style and why am I writing?

The tweets I've personally valued the most are Lightbulb-style microblogging aphorisms. For these I've found my muse from a successful, challenging or frustrating day of work.

Those tweets almost write themselves. With the 140 character limit for each tweet I've found it easier being in combination a researcher, writer, editor, proof reader and publisher. Clarity hopefully follows from brevity.

Social media, communication not marketing

Today I had one of those callers. Their opening lines are the give away. If they ask "How are you today?" my usual reply is "Depends on what you are about to say in your next sentence."

Today's caller asked "Can I speak to the partner responsible for intellectual property matters."

I got the whiff of her probable pitch within a few sentences. I said please don't continue if you're asking me to speak at a conference and pay to do so. I asked for a statement in a sentence as to what she wanted me to do. She had no reply, she hung up.

Her employer should watch the following video on YouTube, or continue to waste dollars and resources on cold calls made without even checking the target's website before calling. The outcome is pushy marketing, not communication.

The video captures social media facts as at October 2009. It documents reasons why I'd vote to expand the Do Not Call Register to ban spam marketing calls to businesses.

Call Sydney 02 9269 0229 for a referral to senior, tested, affordable and expert social media consultants. They transform push marketers into social media communication powerhouses.

Software patents and IP risk management
For software deverlopers, evidence arrived this week that the long term shift continues for more legal protection using patent law as well as copyright law.

World-wide, for software protection, there is more and more reliance on patent law. Lightbulb has covered this trend in many articles (see the further reading list).

Morgan Stanley Internet Trends Oct 2009

There are many insights in the 68 page slide show used this week by Mary Meeker of Morgan Stanley. It's her latest annual prognosis on where IT is heading. Among the noteworthy pages are 39 and 46.

Meeker is a well known Wall Street IT analyst. You can read her short profile on CrunchBase. Her Wikipedia profile ends with this sentence: "As of October 2009, Meeker is a managing director at Morgan Stanley, serving as leader of the investment bank's global technology research team."

Innovation reality in UK, US & Australia

UK SMEs are in a similar boat in many respects to those in Australia as regards difficulties with innovation. Think about unhelpful tax policies, misguided investment of public funds in research at universities, and the low levels of government attention to SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises).

These are key messages I read into a recent press release by the SME Innovation Alliance ("SMEIA"), a new UK business organisation formed in September 2009.

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