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Copyright, ISPs and authorisation

The Commonwealth Government released an Online Copyright Infringement discussion paper (pdf) on 30 July 2014. Responses are required by 1 September 2014. The problem the discussion paper identifies is the high level of usage of the Internet by Australians to infringe copyright by downloading illegally movies, recorded music and the like and a perceived need, following the High Court’s decision in Village Roadshow v iiNet, to compel ISPs to negotiate with copyright owners about the introduction of systems such as ‘Notice and Takedown (and Put back)’ procedures.

Unsuccessful invocation of equitable principles to deflect a tax liability

The HCA disallowed a joint venturer’s claim to have derived a lump sum as constructive trustee. Alleged fiduciary duties owed to a non-venturer were not accepted. Alternatively, the venturer’s purported equitable assignment of his rights to the lump sum was not tax-effective.

Successful patentee not required to amend patent to reflect adverse findings in respect of certain claims before obtaining relief for infringement

Co-authored by Peter Heerey AM QC, Tom Cordiner and Alan Nash. Following on from his Honour’s decision reported above, JAI Products asserted that, because the only patent claims upon which Damorgold succeeded were dependent on claims that had been found invalid, it was necessary for Damorgold to amend the patent pursuant to section 105 of the Patents Act before it was entitled to an order for injunctive relief. JAI Products plainly wished to argue that the Court should exercise its discretion not to amend the patent because of culpable delay or the like.

Solicitors acting for financers and lenders in financing transactions must take care to avoid nasty surprises after settlement

Co-authored by Andrew Kirby and Kieran Hickie: The Court of Appeal has affirmed the importance of solicitors acting for mortgagees to ensure payout figures and settlement instructions provided to settlement agents are accurate. Following settlements of refinancing transactions, an outgoing mortgagee will not necessarily be prevented from asserting that settlement funds are insufficient to finalise settlement. Rather, they may demand the return of a discharge of mortgage handed over at settlement on the basis the borrower has not complied with its obligation to pay out the registered mortgagee in full.

Guarantors as ‘privies’ of a principal debtor – can they be bound by a decision of a Court in circumstances where they are not a party to litigation?

Co-authored by Andrew Kirby and Kieran Hickie: Guarantors commonly have some association or relationship with a principal debtor. If proceedings are taken against a principal debtor, but not a guarantor, resulting in a binding judgment, the Victorian Supreme Court has recently held that in subsequent proceedings against a guarantor, the guarantor is not a ‘privy’ of the principal debtor and therefore is not bound by the determination of issues in the earlier proceeding.