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Software Applications Hard to Patent in Australia

The decision today of the Full Court in Commissioner of Patents v Rokt  further clarifies the position in relation to whether a computer implemented method can be patentable in Australia.  

The decision follows a series of decisions considering similar issues, which each focus on whether particular software can be the subject of a patent.  In summary, the Full Court finds that the software in question in this case, which related to a method of presenting targeted advertising to a consumer, was not a patentable invention, as it was merely a method for using the well known and understood functions of a computer.

The decision reinforces the fact that a method which gets a computer to do something it has not done before is not patentable – to be patentable the method would have to enable the computer to do something which it was previously unable to do. 

The law of patentable subject matter in Australia is illogical and discriminates against inventors who implement their inventions in software.

Electronic Signing of Agreements and Deeds for Companies in Australia

This article highlights the changes to the law in Australia regarding electronic signing of documents by companies.  COVID-19 brought about these changes, that will stay in place once the Covid is gone.

https://www.kwm.com/en/au/knowledge/insights/signing-contracts-electronically-just-got-easier-for-companies-20200506

UK Financial Regulator Publishes Insights from the Cyber Coordination Groups

A UK financial regulator has published a report regarding cybersecurity risks.

"CCG members also noted the development of cloud security as an emerging risk area, and that data held in cloud environments should be encrypted and protected by appropriate intrusion detection/prevention controls. In some cases, it may be advisable to include “kill switch” technology, which allows for immediate disconnection to manage the risk of a cyber attack having a more widespread impact."

See
https://www.ropesgray.com/en/newsroom/alerts/2020/03/UK-Financial-Conduct-Authority-Publishes-Insights-from-the-Cyber-Coordination-Groups

May The Fourth Be With Disney

When Disney asked “Star Wars” fans to share their favorite memories of the franchise using the hashtag #MayThe4th, it said responses would fall under its terms of use agreement. Social media users were scathing.

See NY Times Article: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/28/business/star-wars-may-the-fourth-disney.html


Google liable for defamation based on search results

A recent Australian case concerning defamation and Google:
Defteros v Google LLC [2020] VSC 219 (30 April 2020)
http://www.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdoc/au/cases/vic/VSC//2020/219.html

"Google submitted that it could not be liable as a secondary publisher, because its search engine is fully automated and does not intend the communication of any particular words or images, including any third party webpage to which a user might navigate. I do not accept this submission....
As the law stands in Australia, the common law casts the publication net wide. The liability of publishers is then limited by a range of common law and statutory defences. In particular, the common law ‘defence’ of innocent dissemination operates to limit the potential liability of search engine providers. Later in this judgment, I also consider the application of the statutory defence of qualified privilege to Google search results."

Facebook in Court over Cambridge Analytics

This recent Australian judgment concerns substituted service on Facebook.  It relates to Cambridge Analytics breach.  Interestingly, it discusses COVID-19.  Facebook did not appear in court.
Australian Information Commission v Facebook Inc [2020] FCA 531

Instagram can sublicense your photos

When you make a public post on Instagram, you allow Instagram to sublicense you photo to anyone using the Instagram API.

One professional photographer found out about this the hard way.

"Unquestionably, Instagram’s dominance of photograph- and video-sharing social media, coupled with the expansive transfer of rights that Instagram demands from its users, means that Plaintiff’s dilemma is a real one. But by posting the Photograph to her public Instagram account, Plaintiff made her choice. This Court cannot release her from the agreement she made."

See Sinclair v. Ziff Davis and Mashable

Google sued again for identity of users

Melbourne brothel wants order compelling Google to release info on anonymous reviewers
Google has been served with a third preliminary discovery lawsuit in Australia seeking the identity of online reviewers, this time by a Melbourne brothel and escort service seeking to eliminate 11 one-star reviews from the search engine.

Facebook in Court

In a surprising move, the Australian Information Commissioner has sued Facebook in Australia over giving access to personal information of thousands of Australians to Cambridge Analytica.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-03-09/facebook-privacy-oaic-information-commissioner/12039642

https://www.businessnewsaus.com.au/articles/australian-information-commissioner-takes-facebook-to-court.html

"We consider the design of the Facebook platform meant that users were unable to exercise reasonable choice and control about how their personal information was disclosed," says Australian Information Commissioner and Privacy Commissioner Angelene Falk.

Musicians Create Every Melody in Existence to Avoid Copyright Infringement

Two programmers who are musicians have supposedly created every possible MIDI melody in existence, saved this to a hard drive, copyrighted the whole thing, and then released it all to the public in an attempt to stop musicians from getting sued for copyright infringement.

Vice Article

Whether this actually accomplishes what they want to do is uncertain.

Using small snippets of public available music (or computer code) to create a work, that is the same as a well-known larger work, may still be copyright infringement.  It depends on whether the creator knew of and had access to the well-known larger work.

See Dais Studios case, where Ben Petro copied public Java script to create a larger computer program.  See also AFR Article

This also has relevance to AI programs and how they are trained.

US-China spat ramps up over key UN post

The United Nations intellectual property agency (WIPO) is the latest front in the US-China trade war.

http://www.theage.com.au/world/sad-ambassador-slams-us-attack-on-chinese-bid-for-wipo-20200226-p544tg.html?btis

Australian Francis Gurry is the outgoing head of the UN World Intellectual Property Organisation.


Domain Name Study - Which Domain Names don't get renewed

Research uncovered some interesting results, such as:
·     Only 29.79% of all domains are renewed after one year
·     New GTLDs (like .XYZ) have far higher churn rates than .COM, .NET, .ORG etc

https://www.whoishostingthis.com/blog/2019/12/05/domain-study

Software Applications Hard to Patent in Australia

The decision today of the Full Court in Commissioner of Patents v Rokt  further clarifies the position in relation to whether a computer im...