Character licensing and merchandising has a relatively recent market in Australia with industry participants and a clear legal framework.
In commercial terms it involves exploiting assets that have a history of working abroad or locally by licensing their use for toys, clothing and other products.
Prominent among these assets are well-known names, logos, images and brands. They are protected by trade mark registrations, typically connected with a character, personality, musical group or highly engaging and promoted new entrant.
Reading Killing Fairfax by Fairfax journalist Pamela Williams is a breeze. This is because of its focus on personalities and use of the conventions of fiction writing.
It nails the coffin for Fairfax newspapers dependent on classified advertising and killed by ad-supported online businesses.
Killing Fairfax revisits a personal recent past. I was rarely surprised by the book’s tale, revelations, personalities or their behaviours. What stood out was the stark economics.
This is the story of the loss of wealth and power resulting from the repeated failure of the Fairfax company to react appropriately to trends obvious since at least the late 1990s.
Williams begins, structures and ends her book around these economic facts. Here they are.
What do you need to know if you are thinking about registering a trade mark? There's a lot more than you could ever learn from one article or even days of coaching.
To help you make decisions about registration let's break the subject down to 10 simple points worth knowing. The 10 points below were prepared by two high school students who had a week's work experience in our firm. Check your knowledge.
Registering a domain name can be exciting. Scammers feel it too. They feed off it.
True scammers align themselves with fake or real domain name registration bodies.
Even when they are being very legit, real domain name registration bodies apply the logic of Keens mustard, ie more is taken onto plates than used. They are businesses relying on selling what most of the time buyers will never use or benefit from.
Intellectual property lawyers are all to familiar with the phone call from a new client ambushed with the news that a business domain name can no longer be used.
This unhappy client has invested thousands, tens of thousands or more on brand development. Included in this is time, energy and money spent on a business name, a domain name, logo and brand design, labelling and packaging.
This is a very common area of intellectual property legal work. It is commonplace for people to seek registration of a domain name unaided, and as a first step for a business start-up or expansion. This deceptively simple DYI task is assumed to provide protection or legal title to a name.
In 1997 a paragraph in an Australian business magazine jumped off the page. As I recall it stated: "At a time when intellectual property is rapidly rising in value, in business it is remarkable how the greatest value is being derived by those who give it away."
This seemed a paradox. It was two years after Netscape's August 1995 Initial Public Offering and Navigator, Netscape's free web browser software.
During lunch with a technology client I reminded him that a commercialisation lawyer should have knowledge broader than silo legal knowledge. Let me illustrate with a case study about headphones.
Assume that back in 2008 a start-up wanted to lauch into the headphone business.
That client has a vision. It sees significant growth of mobile music devices leading to more people wanting to buy headphones and use the instead of low quality standard earphones.
The client's plan is to manufacture and sell designer headphones tweaked to be bass heavy for listeners of contemporary hip hop and related music genres.
Purchase orders can be an excellent and secure way to buy products and services. There are many considerations for drafting them well.
A purchase order is a type of buy-sell contract between a buyer and seller for products or services.
The key words here are “buyer”, “seller”, and “buy-sell”.
Over many years our firm has assisted an increasing number of new online distributors, traders and retailers.
We’ve developed standardised procedures and documents to make legal services economical and efficient.
This article provides a framework for Australian-based entrepreneurs seeking to buy, sell and conduct commerce securely to build valuable online businesses.
The Guardian has an article on famous buildings and monuments, both old and new, copied in China: Seeing double: what China's copycat culture means for architecture.
My experience with architecture and copyright in China runs opposite to The Guardian story. It provides some balance for stories about Chinese copies.
A friend and distinguished architect years ago created an inspired yacht club design and associated apartment development in Australia. It caught the eye of people in south China who sought to establish a similar coastal facility.