Friday, 18 December 2015

2015 IPO update

Tips and trends for companies considering an IPO

2015 has been a good year for IPOs in Australia, with a number of sizeable listings, including the recent $2.3 billion listing of Link Group.  It has also seen a continuation in the trend of small and mid cap technology companies finding their place on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX). 

The technology, media and telecommunications (TMT) industry has had a strong run of listings in 2015, including the $2.1 billion listing of accounting software developer MYOB Group earlier this year.

We have also experienced a steady stream of IPO activity, including advising on 4 IPOs in the TMT space this year (for OtherLevels, Superloop, Over the Wire, and Megaport).  With our involvement on a number of floats, we have also continued to see strong appetite from institutions as well as retail investors, validated through an increase in broker-firm offer rounds which are steadily becoming a recognised feature of many offers.

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Welcome to the ideas boom

Top 10 initiatives from the Turnbull government’s $1b Innovation Statement

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science Christopher Pyne yesterday unveiled the Federal Government’s highly-anticipated Innovation Statement with the comment, “welcome to the ideas boom”.  

As the Turnbull government's first major policy document, it is expected to involve the investment of $1.1b over four years across a range of industries.  Mr Turnbull believes the plan will drive innovation in government, promote a culture of entrepreneurship and place innovation at the heart of everything we do in Australia.

Australian businesses, particularly start-up companies and those in the technology sector are set to benefit from the initiatives.  We have highlighted our top 10 opportunities below.

Monday, 19 October 2015

A not-so-safe harbour

It is impossible to avoid the frenzy that has been kicked up by the European Court of Justice’s (ECJ) decision of 6 October 2015 in Case C-362/14 Maximillian Schrems v Data Protection Commissioner.

What is/was the Safe Harbour?

Like Australia, the Member States of European Union (EU) are subject to strict data protection regulations. Generally speaking, personal data cannot be transferred out of a Member State unless the destination country has adequate protection for the data in question. Over a decade ago, the United States of America (US) and European Commission entered into the ‘Safe Harbour Agreement’ which meant that data could be shared where both companies comply with the Safe Habour Agreement.

All was well and good and many big businesses (including Amazon and Google) relied on the enforceability and protection of the Safe Harbour Agreement.

Apple facing damages bill for patent infringement

Apple Inc could be facing up to $US862 million in damages after a US Federal jury ruled on 13 October 2015 that it infringed a patent owned by the licensing arm of the University of Wisconsin.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

High Court ruling on the patentability of human genes

Today’s landmark decision by the High Court in D'Arcy v Myriad Genetics Inc & Anor [2015] HCA 35 (7 October 2015) essentially prohibits patent protection for human genetic material and genetic sequences.  The decision reverses the 15 February 2013 Full Federal Court ruling, which found that United States company Myriad Genetics Inc’s (Myriad) patent on the isolated BRCA1 gene, associated mutations and utilisation of the sequence for diagnostic purposes was valid.

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Protections for small businesses against unfair contract terms

Under the Australian Consumer Law, unfair terms in standard form contracts with consumers can be declared void, but small businesses (who are often subject to the same power imbalance when negotiating agreements with large suppliers) have to date had no protection under that regime.

On 18 August 2015, a Bill to extend protections against unfair contract terms to small businesses passed the House of Representatives. The Treasury Legislation Amendment (Small Business and Unfair Contract Terms) Bill 2015 (Cth) has already been referred to the Senate Economics Legislation Committee which is due to report on the legislation on 14 September 2015.

Monday, 15 June 2015

The globalisation of Australian brands and why you need to register your Chinese trade mark application now

With more and more Australian companies entering the lucrative Chinese marketplace, it’s important to register your trade mark in this jurisdiction as soon as possible or you may miss out and in the process dilute your future ability to promote your brand globally.

Unlike Australia, China has a ‘first-to-file’ approach to trade mark registration.  This means the first applicant for a trade mark will generally acquire rights in the mark, even though they may not be the first user of the brand in that country. 

Monday, 25 May 2015

Has the PPSA undone your asset protection strategies?

The Personal Property Securities Act 2009 (Cth) (PPSA) is widely regarded as the most significant change to the law in Australia since the introduction of the GST and has the potential to materially reduce the effectiveness of existing asset protection structures.  Corporate groups, advisers and accountants should consider the impact of the PPSA, particularly in a tough economic market and where clients seek to separate asset ownership from business risks.

What’s the big deal with the PPSA?

The intent behind the PPSA is to create a single register known as the Personal Property Securities Register (PPSR) where all forms of ‘security interests’ in respect of ‘personal property’ must be registered.  Failure to register a security interest on the PPSR may mean that the interest is lost through a subsequent transaction involving the ‘personal property’.

Under the PPSA there are two key concepts:
  • personal property which is defined as all property (including a licence) but excluding land, interests in land and certain other excluded assets, and
  • security interests which is broadly defined as an interest in personal property arising from a transaction that, in substance, secures payment of money or the performance of an obligation.

Critically, transactions that have not typically given rise to security interests such as rental, leasing and hire arrangements may constitute security interests that require registration on the PPSR to be enforceable against third parties (including receivers or other creditors).

Please refer to our recent alert for further details about the impact of the PPSA on asset protection structures, your obligations and the consequences of not registering a security interest.


Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Australian ISPs beware

Australia’s piracy laws could be anchoring some big ships with a new Copyright Bill introduced into the Australian Parliament.  The Bill gives power to the Federal Court to grant injunctions requiring internet service providers (ISPs) to take ‘reasonable steps’ to disable access to sites that infringe or facilitate the infringement of copyright. 

Monday, 20 April 2015

Treasurer proposes 'Netflix tax' on supply of intangible services into Australia

Non-resident suppliers to prepare for Australian GST to apply at source of payment

A planned change to apply Australian GST to the source of payment for intangible services, regardless of the location of the source of the service, would require non-resident suppliers to pay GST on supplies of digital content (e.g. music, films, games), licensed rights (e.g. software), services provided and other intangible rights sourced from outside Australia.

A change to the current $1,000 low value threshold before GST applies to imported goods is also planned in association with these changes for intangible services.

Accordingly non-resident suppliers of services or goods should commence preparation for Australian GST to apply to their supplies at source of payment in Australia - including reviewing their pricing and contracts to ensure they are able to recover the additional GST cost from their business and retail customers.

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Competitive Tension - Harper Review Final Report recommends some real change

The Commonwealth Government has been conducting a review of Australia’s competition laws to see if they are fit for purpose.  (Click here to see what we had to say about the draft recommendations last October).  The Minister for Small Business released the Final Report of the Competition Policy Review Panel on Tuesday (31 March 2015).  While a number of the draft recommendations have made it into the Final Report, there are also some significant new changes.  Some will fundamentally change the competition law landscape in Australia…if they eventually get into the legislation.

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Expanding overseas? Make sure your brand is protected

From mid 2016, amendments to Canadian trade mark laws will make it more difficult for foreign trade mark owners to register to protect their brand. 

Registered trade marks are the most important tool that a business can have to protect its brand in Australia and worldwide. They give you the exclusive monopoly to use the brand in connection with your business’ goods and services and give you the right to prevent others from using similar or identical brands for similar or closely related goods and services. Trade marks can be registered in perpetuity provided they remain in use in the countries in which they are registered and if renewal fees are paid every ten years.

Thursday, 19 February 2015

But first, let me take a selfie…No, check your patent first

Taking a selfie has never been so simple – thanks to the selfie stick.  With an estimated 100,000 sold worldwide during Christmas, the selfie stick has become a household essential and earned itself a spot on the Time’s 25 Best Inventions of 2014.  In reality, the alleged original inventor of this newfound gadget launched the product in 2006 after years of investment and prototypes and long before the selfie was recognised as a word or became a phenomenon.

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Taylor Swift to shake off trade mark controversy

Pop singer Taylor Swift may have very well accepted that haters gonna hate, however she probably did not expect several of her US trade mark applications to spark an online revolt.

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Clarity on crowdfunding in Australia expected soon

During stakeholder consultation on crowdfunding, Federal Minister for Small Business Bruce Billson has reportedly indicated crowdfunding legislation will be tabled during the spring session of Parliament.

Thursday, 29 January 2015

It's time to review your brands and trade marks!

When was the last time you reviewed your brand and trade mark portfolio in Australia and overseas? Are all of the brands used by your business protected by registered marks? Has your business expanded the goods and services it provides since your trade marks were registered? Have you tweaked your logo?

Now is the time to review your brand and trade mark portfolios. We have prepared a checklist to assist you to make sure your business is where it should be in respect of its brand and trade mark protection.