Australia: Intellectual Property News

Last Updated: 7 October 2007



UK and US synchronise patent prosecution process

Patent offices in the UK and the US have agreed to recognise each other's patent examination reports under a new scheme which is being trialled in both countries. The scheme aims to streamline the process of obtaining a patent in the countries by allowing a patent holder in one country to receive accelerated treatment from the patent office in the other country. The so-called 'Patent Prosecution Highway' will help to 'efficiently and effectively safeguard inventors' intellectual property and help to stimulate innovation on a national and international scale' according to Lord Triesman, the UK parliamentary under secretary of state for intellectual property. The trial is set to run for a year to assess the agreement's effectiveness.

Further information can be accessed at:



Labor promises royalty help for indigenous art

A controversial resale royalties initiative forms part of the pre-election policy for the arts released by the Australian Labor Party. Under the initiative visual artists would receive royalties each time their work is sold, even if the artist is not the copyright owner. Mr Peter Garrett, Labor's arts spokesman, stated that the royalties scheme would support indigenous artists whose works have increased in value in the arts market. The policy also aims to support developing artists through a series of welfare and educational initiatives, tax concessions and financial assistance.

The policy and additional information can be accessed at:

Copyright continued

Damages awarded for copyright infringement and personal hurt

Mr Travis Goodall, a father of five children killed by their mother in a murder suicide, has succeeded in a copyright infringement claim against Nationwide News Pty Ltd in the Federal Magistrates Court. The claim related to unauthorised publication by Nationwide of photographs of the children taken by Mr Goodall. Mr Goodall had given permission to New Idea magazine, under a one-off limited licence, for a single publication of the photographs. Without Mr Goodall's permission, the photographs were published again in the Sunday News in Perth. Despite a complaint by Mr Goodall to the journalist concerned, the photographs were later published a third time. The Court found that following Mr Goodall's complaint, Nationwide was notice that its reprinting of the photographs could infringe copyright. The Court awarded damages of $1250 for copyright infringement and additional damages of $7500 for personal hurt. The Court described the attitude of Nationwide News as uncaring, and stated that there was a need to deter similar infringements. The Court dismissed Mr Goodall's additional claims in defamation and misleading or deceptive conduct.

The case can be accessed at:

AG's department seeks public comment on the administration of the copyright infringement notice scheme

Almost nine months after the introduction of a three-tiered system of criminal penalties for copyright infringement (part of the Copyright Amendment Act 2006), the Attorney- General's department has published draft guidelines for the administration of the copyright infringement notice scheme. The department is seeking public comment on the draft guidelines by 5 October 2007.

The guidelines and further information can be accessed at:


Universal Music sues Veoh Network for copyright infringement

Universal Music, the world's largest music company, has filed a copyright infringement suit in a US federal court against Veoh Network, a file-sharing site. Veoh combines online uploading of video-files with the ability to download files and share clips via peerto- peer software. Universal alleges that Veoh is 'supplying the public with an integrated combination of services and tools that make infringement free, easy and profitable for Veoh', and this deprives Universal and its artists of royalties. Veoh claims it is not breaching any laws and is protected by the 'safe harbour' provisions under the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The case follows previous similar disputes involving YouTube, Napster, Kazaa and Torrestspy.

The article can be accessed at:

Trade marks


Google avoids AdWords jury trial American Blinds and Wallpaper Factory (ABWF) has agreed to withdraw its long running action against Google which challenged the trade mark of its keyword advertising system, on which we have previously reported. If the matter proceeded to court, this would have marked the first time the controversial AdWords system came before a jury. The AdWords system allows companies to buy the right to display their advert when certain terms are searched. Google did not pay ABWF any money to settle the matter, nor has it changed its policies. Another company, American Airlines, sued Google last month over its AdWords system, and is also seeking a jury trial.

Further information can be accessed at:



US Justice Department opposes 'net neutrality' regulation

The US Justice Department has opposed the introduction of net neutrality provisions in its report to the US Federal Communications Commission on the grounds that it could harm innovation and investment in the internet. Net neutrality is the principal that all Internet sites should be equally accessible by any internet user. The issue arose after Internet service providers in the US wanted to charge some large bandwidth users more money for uploading certain content or Web sites faster than others. The Justice Department supported the service providers, stating that the introduction of net neutrality provisions could hamper development of the Internet and prevent service providers from upgrading or expanding their networks. The Justice Department noted that whether different levels of service are provided should depend on market demand and should not be determined by regulatory intervention. Supporters of net neutrality regulation argue that internet service providers could discriminate against certain Web sites and services if the provisions were not enacted.

Further information can be accessed at:

Internet continued

Google urges international privacy laws and policies

Google has called on governments of the world to implement an international unified set of privacy laws to protect personal data online. A Google spokesperson stated 'Google believes we need to work together to create minimum global standards partly by law and partly by self-regulation'. Google believes that all countries should adopt the Asia- Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) privacy framework, which comprises nine principles including: preventing harm, notice, collection limitations, restrictions on use of personal information, choice, integrity of personal information, security safeguards, access and correction, and accountability. Google has already discussed the plan with national privacy regulators in Europe, and the plan has received approval from Spanish and French regulators.

Further information can be accessed at:

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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