Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Scammers hit ASIC customers

Small businesses are a ready target for scammers, with the latest scam targeting innocent companies trying to do the right thing.

‘ASIC’ email scam
ASIC announced today that scammers pretending to be from ASIC have been contacting Registry customers by email, requesting that they pay fees and provide personal information to renew their business or company name (click here to view an example of a scam email).  It has also been reported that these phishing emails may contain malware and links to invoices with false payment details.

ASIC has advised that emails are most likely to be a scam if they ask you to:
  • make a payment over the phone
  • make a payment to receive a refund, or
  • provide your credit card or bank details directly by email or phone. 
If you think you have received a scam email, ASIC has requested recipients to immediately forward the entire email to ReportASICEmailFraud@asic.gov.au or contact ASIC on 1300 300 630.

Trade mark scam
Similar phishing emails are often sent to trade mark registrants asking them to provide personal information and pay fees associated with trade marks or domain names.  Further information is contained in our previous article on this scam (please click here to read).

Small business
The ACCC Scamwatch website contains useful information on common scams and steps you can take to protect your small business.

For enquiries, please contact:

Monday, 17 July 2017

Plant breeder's rights now apply in Norfolk Island

As of 1 July 2017, the Plant Breeder’s Rights Act 1994 (Cth) (PBR Act) now applies in Norfolk Island.  The PBR Act provides a system of registration and exclusive commercial rights for new plant varieties.

Norfolk Island is a small island off the coast of Australia, located approximately 1,600km northeast of Sydney between Australia, New Zealand and New Caledonia.  The island is part of the Australian Commonwealth and has many unique historical relics and native flora and fauna species.

Norfolk Island previously had no system for protecting new plant varieties; however Australia’s other intellectual property systems applied there.

The change is part of the Australian Government’s reforms in Norfolk Island and aims to provide residents with the same rights as those in other parts of Australia.  The application of the PBR Act will assist with fostering plant breeding and innovation on the island.

For enquiries please contact:
Belinda Breakspear
Alex Hutchens
John Kettle
Paul McLachlan



Tuesday, 4 July 2017

EU data protection laws overhauled - does this affect my business in Australia?

If you have an establishment in the European Union (EU), offer goods and services in the EU, or monitor the behaviour of individuals in the EU, then the answer is probably yes, and you should certainly read on.

The new EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into effect on 25 May 2018, and for many businesses all around the world, is driving a focus on understanding and updating their data handling practices to ensure they are ready to comply.  This is because not only can the GDPR apply to businesses outside of the EU, but there are also significant penalties for non-compliance (up to €20 million or 4% of global annual turnover for the preceding financial year in certain circumstances).

So, with a little over 10 months to go before the new regime applies, we recommend that Australian businesses think about whether they are caught, and if so, start planning for the legal and operational changes that are required to comply with GDPR.

Monday, 8 May 2017

Australia to become a destination of choice for clinical trials

The National Health and Medical Research Council has established the Clinical Trials Ready initiative in an effort to make Australia a destination of choice for conducting clinical trials.  Clinical trials offer significant contributions to the economy, providing incentive for making the Australian industry more competitive internationally.

The initiative aims to identify potential sites that are ready, willing and able to conduct clinical trials in a safe and transparent environment.  It is hoped that this will improve overall transparency and make the approval process more efficient.

A draft proposal of how the initiative may look is currently in the hands of members of the advisory group and jurisdictional representatives.  It is expected more progress will be made in the coming months with a second meeting of the advisory group.

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Equity crowd funding finally past the post - but is it a dodo?

It is good to see that the equity crowd funding laws have finally been cleared for Australia, with the Senate having passed the Bill on Monday. This was following finalisation of the debate on proposed cooling off rights for retail investors (which was ultimately extended from 48 hours to five days). The laws allow unlisted public companies with less than $25 million in assets and turnover to raise up to $5 million in funds in this way.

As per our earlier blogs, a key potential chink in the armour of the new laws is its limited application to public companies and not proprietary (private) companies, which represent 99% of small businesses.

This has been recognised by various stakeholders, including Labor, with Opposition digital economy spokesman Ed Husic suggesting that amendments will be required in the near term and suggesting that “any future changes will make today's new dodo of a system extinct within the year, as smaller business opt for a better alternative.

Friday, 17 March 2017

A $1.5 million price tag for unlawfully exploiting Aboriginal intangible heritage

Nine out of 10 Australians agree that Aboriginal art is an important part of Australian culture.1 This recognition, however, is not always reflected in laws that would ordinarily be expected to protect Australian cultural heritage. The significant value of Aboriginal art and tradition, both financially and culturally, makes it a target for exploitation within the Australian and overseas markets, and not always lawfully.

While works by individual artists are generally protected by copyright, there are limited statutory rights for the broader protection of what is characterised as ‘intangible’ cultural heritage.  Whilst this remains the position in every Australian jurisdiction, the State of Victoria has now broken ranks.

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Privacy law update - data breaches must now be notified

It is time to review your cyber security posture


In brief
Australia’s federal privacy laws are set for their most significant amendment since the introduction of the Australian Privacy Principles in 2012.  

On Monday, Parliament passed the Privacy Amendments (Notifiable Data Breaches) Bill 2016 (the Bill), which will make it mandatory for entities regulated by the Privacy Act to notify of any data breach that is likely to result in serious harm.

These amendments have been a long time coming.  They were originally recommended as part of the Australian Law Reform Committee’s 2008 report on Australia’s privacy laws, and then were proposed as part of the legislative package of changes in 2015 that required telecommunications providers to store metadata.