Branding Strategies

 We manage the intellectual property portfolios of most of our clients, including for some of the world’s best known names and brands, and are experienced in collating Australian and New Zealand diversified portfolios into a comprehensive database.

For clients in the initial stages of developing a brand, we help them to formulate their branding strategies, from contracts with the consultants and others who may be involved in devising the brand to the steps needed to properly secure the investment in the brand. We maintain and provide reports on our clients’ brands, and on competing brands where necessary, and help our clients ensure that they are using their brands consistently.

Our branding partners are Margaret Shearer and Simon Kneebone.

Confidential Information

 We assist our clients to protect their confidential information through drafting confidentiality agreements for a range of applications, including the exchange of commercially sensitive materials for research and development purposes and in the context of employment or joint venture arrangements, sales or acquisitions.

We are also experienced in litigation relating to breaches of confidential information, in particular the steps needed to apply for urgent injunctions in cases where the unauthorised release of valuable material may be threatened or the confidential information may otherwise be at risk.

Our principal partners in this area are Julie Robb and Peter Knight.

Corporate Advisory & Commercial

The firm’s commercial lawyers are experienced in co-operative and joint venture arrangements, start-ups, company and business acquisitions and sales, corporate structuring, effective business structures and the full suite of commercial transactions, including contracts for IT acquisition, licensing and implementation, outsourcing and the protection and commercial exploitation of IP rights.

In the corporate advisory area, our lawyers have acted on ASX and NSX listings and raisings, placements, acquisition and vendor due diligence, negotiation and advice, takeovers, buy-backs, reductions of capital, insolvency and voluntary administration reconstructions, private equity investments, debt to equity swaps, AFS licensing, floats and capital raisings, dispositions and restructures, head office activities, the establishment of investment funds and limited partnerships, significant investor visa products, shareholder and Board disputes, and working capital and project financing matters.

We also provide more general commercial and corporate advice, from establishment of business operations, through to corporate compliance issues, restrictive trade practices, business and supply contracts and equipment and premises leasing, to both domestic and foreign corporations.

Our partners in this practice area are Richard Fiora, Daren Armstrong, Jeanette Hoogstad and Peter Knight.

Disputes

We are experienced in conducting litigation and handling disputes at all levels of Australia’s court system and in a wide variety of proceedings. We have the resources to mount urgent applications to protect vulnerable assets and to conduct cases in State and Territory jurisdictions across Australia and at the Federal level. We are also experienced in conducting arbitrations and mediations of our clients’ commercial disputes.

Julie Robb is the partner responsible for this practice. Julie is an experienced intellectual property and commercial litigator in the Federal Court, the Federal Circuit Court and State courts and tribunals. Julie also represents the firm’s clients in court directed and privately organised mediations, working closely with other partners in the firm. Julie is an active member of the Law Society of New South Wales’s Litigation Law and Practice Committee and the Federal Court’s Users’ Group.

Finance

We act for borrowers and financed parties in various industries and market sectors, including our specialist areas. We have acted for syndicated world-wide financings of Australian-based multinationals, private equity debt and quasi-debt financing and acquisition, construction, property and development financing. We also have extensive experience in debt and equity work-outs, turnaround and restructures.

Our principal partner in this area is Daren Armstrong.

Information Technology

Our experience includes technology transfer arrangements, computer software and hardware development and testing agreements, development and integration agreements, distribution agreements, and internet website development and maintenance agreements.

Our principal partner is Peter Knight, one of Australia’s leading practitioners in this area. He has represented several large and small IT hardware and software suppliers, as well as having acted for acquirers of IT solutions in government, for financial institutions and for the wider corporate sector. Before re-entering private practice, Peter was Apple’s Asian-Pacific counsel.

Product Regulation

We provide our clients with comprehensive advice on all aspects of product regulation, including advice on the assessment and registration of therapeutic goods, food standards and labelling and FMCG, textile and industrial chemicals regulation. We have extensive experience working with the product development, operations, supply chain and marketing divisions of our clients, providing strategic and commercial advice on legal compliance and risks.

Our clients benefit from our capability to provide advice at all stages of the product lifecycle from concept to fund-raising through to introduction into the marketplace and advertising.

Our principal partner in this area is Jeanette Hoogstad.

Trade Marks, Patents & Designs

This includes trade mark search reports, filing and prosecution work, renewals, opposition and removal proceedings, assignments, watches, international registrations and enforcement litigation.

We have prosecuted a number of significant non-traditional trade mark applications, including for a single colour and for the entire shape of an object. These include Milo Green, the Nespresso capsule and the two and four finger Kit Kat shapes. We have also acted in opposition proceedings and litigation concerning these types of marks, including in relation to the Whiskas Purple and Cadbury Purple marks.

Our trade marks group also provides advice on transactions and dispute management in relation to all associated intellectual property, including misleading and deceptive conduct, passing off and advertising and other regulatory standards.

Our experience in patent litigation is across a range of inventions, including pharmaceutical compounds and dosage formulations, medical devices, electronic technologies and mechanical devices. We are also experienced in the transactional work associated with the commercialisation of patents: drafting patent assignments and licences and agreements for the research and development of technologies which may later be the subject of patents.

Our registered design services include filing and prosecution work, renewals, certifications, revocation proceedings and conducting search reports and watches. Our designs services also include preparing assignments and licences, other forms of commercialisation, advising clients on ownership and investment structures and providing corporate advice related to the development of design properties. We also provide design litigation services. We have experience in infringement proceedings in the Federal Court and in cases involving the overlap between copyright and design protection.

We offer the full range of these services in Australia and New Zealand. Our principal partners in these areas are Margaret Shearer and Simon Kneebone.

Competition & Consumer

Such issues commonly arise in conjunction with disputes concerning intellectual property, but also as a consequence of promotional activities. We have experience in State and Federal Court litigation concerning advertising campaigns and competitions and other forms of sales and marketing. We are also experienced in dealings with the ACCC, including notifications, applications for authorisation, industry codes and in related proceedings in the Australian Competition Tribunal.

We have successfully obtained and maintained authorisation for aspects of APRA’s collective licensing business since 2000, and obtained authorisations for collective bargaining on behalf of the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance. We represented Copyright Agency in its successful joint application for authorisation with Viscopy for the arrangements that have resulted in the management by Copyright Agency of the Viscopy business. We act for Costco generally, including in the establishment of its Australian operations.

Our principal partners in this area are Kate Haddock and Jeanette Hoogstad.

Copyright

We are experienced in all types of copyright protection, transactions and litigation. Our clients include Australian and foreign owners and users of copyright. We act for most of Australia’s significant copyright collecting societies, copyright industry bodies, Australia’s leading publishers and others that commercialise, license and manage copyright. We have an extensive practice in all courts and tribunals that deal with copyright issues, at both State and Federal levels. Our work extends to enforcement proceedings, ownership disputes and the setting of tariffs for copyright licence schemes. For example, we acted for Australia’s music copyright owners on the establishment of iTunes Radio.

Our partners in this group are Peter Banki and Kate Haddock.

Defamation & Media

Media law covers all aspects of content creation and regulation and the many ways in which content is delivered, from traditional to still-developing media.

Bruce Burke and Leanne Norman are our partners in this area. Together, they lead what is perhaps the strongest defamation practice in the country. Bruce has experience in publishing and broadcasting law in all Australian jurisdictions. His clients include radio stations, television networks and newspaper, magazine and book publishers.

Leanne has experience in defamation and media law, having acted for an extensive range of publishers and broadcasters over that period. Leanne’s clients include Fairfax Media, advising its metropolitan print, digital media and radio divisions.

Employment

We advise our clients on the wide range of issues that arise in the course of the employment cycle. From recruitment to post-termination, the employment relationship raises a myriad of complex issues. We advise on the proactive measures that employers can take to reduce exposure and expense as well as on the management of specific issues and disputes. We prepare executive and other employment agreements and advise on minimum entitlements and incentive structures. We have expertise in handling unfair dismissal, discrimination and bullying claims and a depth of experience handling disputes about confidential and proprietary information and restraints of trade.

Jeanette Hoogstad is our principal partner in this area.

Foreign Investment

With our extensive international network, we have developed a sought after expertise in foreign investment and business establishment in Australia. Whether you are setting up a local subsidiary, seeking registration of a foreign company so that it may directly carry on business in Australia, are looking to invest in an Australian business, acquire Australian property or handle the Australian aspects of a wider merger, we can assist you in all aspects of your transaction. We are also very familiar with Australia’s significant Investor visa and other business migration programmes, and can introduce you to some of Australia’s leading migration specialists and international tax practitioners. Daren Armstrong and Jeanette Hoogstad are our lead partners in this practice area.

Privacy & Data Protection

We have wide experience in drafting privacy policies, advising on the law affecting the storage, handling and disclosure within Australia and across borders of personal information, and implementing staff training. For a number of our clients, we have formulated privacy compliance programmes to ensure that they have the systems in place to comply with all relevant law. We have leading expertise in privacy issues that arise in the deployment of cloud computing solutions. With tougher privacy laws and sanctions having come into effect in early 2014, we advise clients on the changes to their privacy policies to comply with the new laws. We also review information handling practices compliance.

For our large base of media and social media clients, we provide advice on the privacy implications of use, publication and dissemination of personal information.

Jeanette Hoogstad is our principal partner in this area.

Sport

There are a range of legal issues that arise in the world of sport, which can affect the individual competitor, sporting organisations and third party rights holders.

Our lawyers are experienced in providing advice that is specific to our clients’ needs, including in relation to the exploitation of commercial rights, employment issues, intellectual property, licensing and broadcasting, event management, finance and acquisitions, drafting of rules and regulations, regulatory and disciplinary proceedings, including bringing and defending challenges to the decisions and actions of governing bodies, anti-doping issues and reputation and brand management.

Daren Armstrong is the principal partner acting in this area.