A leading Victorian intellectual property small law firm.
Stephens Lawyers & Consultants is a specialist boutique commercial legal practice, emphasising expertise in intellectual property, competition and consumer law, media & entertainment and defamation law, technology/biotechnology, franchising and international trade law.
Stephens Lawyers is committed to understanding the client’s needs from a practical, commercial as well as legal perspective and delivering strategic and cost effective legal advice. Every client has direct access to a principal of the firm, who understand the complexities of operating a business in today’s commercial environment.
“The competitive global economy in the technology areas has led to intellectual property owned by individuals and corporations becoming a major capital asset. The value of the technology, which is the subject of intellectual property laws, is important for the future development of the Asia Pacific region.”
Extract from a paper presented by Julian Stephens at the Lawasia Conference, Beijing, China.
1. Our Response to COVID-19 – Stephens Lawyers & Consultants’ offices are open – and we are continuing to provide legal services in the areas of our expertise including: commercial/consumer law and litigation, intellectual property law, information technology law, biotechnology; franchising, media/defamation and privacy law. We are also providing legal and commercial advice to businesses which have been impacted by the COVID-19 through contract postponement, cancellations or business shut downs – and we can also assist businesses to re-negotiate their financial arrangements with their banks or financial institutions and to obtain access to various government relief packages.
We also consider that the safety of our staff and clients is very important. We have ‘social distancing’ measures in place and each of our lawyers and staff members has their own office. We are also able to telephone or video conference with our clients as required. Stay safe and well.
2. As a creative outlet, Katarina Klaric has completed a number of film and TV courses at the Victorian College of the Arts, University of Melbourne and writes, directs and produces her own short films. In March 2020, Lawyers Weekly published its interview with Katarina Klaric about Katarina’s latest short film “Dogged Truth“ – a dramedy about the criminal justice system and its transgression from the pursuit of truth to theatrics. [Read the Lawyers Weekly Article]
3. Katarina Klaric was a guest speaker at The Einstein Global Summit 2019 held in Melbourne on 8-9 May 2019. Katarina presented a paper on the topic of “Addressing Intellectual Property, Governance and Privacy Issues in Artificial Intelligence”.
4. Katarina Klaric was an invited guest at the World Intellectual Property Organisation (‘WIPO’) Roundtable Discussion held in Melbourne on 5 April, 2019. WIPO is a United Nations agency based in Geneva, Switzerland, which provides a global forum for its 191 member states for the development and implementation of international intellectual property policy and legal frameworks. The roundtable discussions included an overview of WIPO’s Artificial Intelligence (‘AI’) focused research with the publication of the “WIPO Technology Trends 2019 Artificial Intelligence Report“ [ https://www.wipo.int/tech_trends/en/artificial_intelligence/ ] and the development of WIPO’s new artificial intelligence (AI) tools for searching and monitoring of potentially similar trade marks on a global basis, translation of documents and voice recognition.
5. Julian Stephens was again a mentor in the 2019 University of Melbourne Law School Mentor Program (the ‘MLS Mentor Program’) and has been involved in the University of Melbourne’s mentoring program since 2017.
6. Katarina Klaric gave a presentation at the 2018 ANZ Smart Manufacturing, 3D Printing and Industry 4.0 Forum held in Melbourne on 28 – 30 November, 2018, during the Panel Session ‘Future of Manufacturing: The Emerging Legal Challenges”. Katarina presented on the topic of “Developing measures to protect valuable intellectual property and safeguard against thefts, digital industrial espionage and sabotage“.
7. Katarina Klaric presented a paper at the Risk Management Leaders Forum held in Melbourne on 30 – 31 August, 2018 on the topic of ‘Privacy and Data Protection‘.
8. Katarina Klaric is a Member of Information Governance ANZ, which has been established to be an Australian and New Zealand think tank for information governance with the aim of promoting information governance global best practice and innovation.
Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation
IP Australia is the Australian Government agency responsible for the administration of the intellectual property rights system and legislation and registration of patents, trade marks, designs and plant breeder’s rights. The agency has recognised the impact of COVID-19 on many IP rights holders seeking to protect and maintain their IP rights. In this article we provide an update on the measures which IP Australia has implemented to streamline its processes and to comply with the COVID-19 restrictions to ensure the safety of its customers, staff and the public. [Read more]
COVID-19 restrictions have resulted in schools using videoconferencing technology for meetings and class attendance. Schools need to assess and evaluate the risks associated with remote learning environments and consider whether security and safety measures for online education and meetings are adequate for the protection of confidential information and personal data, and the safety of their students. In this legal update, Stephens Lawyers & Consultants provides some risk management strategies and steps for consideration by schools using Zoom videoconferencing technology. [Read more]
Confidential Information/Trade secrets are the most valuable assets of many organisations and this data is potentially exposed to greater risk of unauthorised access, disclosure or use, with employees working remotely and using video conferencing services. Remote workplaces also give rise to increased security risks associated with privacy breaches. This article offers steps for consideration by agencies and organisations which use video conferencing, to help them manage and minimise the risk of data security breach and to protect their confidential information/trade secrets and ensure compliance with privacy laws. [Read more]
Businesses should be aware that competition and consumer laws still apply during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the ACCC will be prioritising its focus on the competition and consumer issues of most relevance arising from the impact of COVID-19. The ACCC has established a COVID-19 Taskforce focusing on early intervention to address immediate problems being faced by consumers and to communicate directly with businesses and inform them about their obligations in relation to cancellations, refunds and suspension of services as a result of the pandemic. [Read more]
The ACCC 2020 Compliance and Enforcement Policy identifies a number of key areas which will be the subject of ACCC scrutiny. These include: retailers’ and manufacturers’ compliance with consumer guarantee laws; competition and consumer issues in the funeral services sector; competition and consumer issues relating to digital platforms; ensuring small businesses receive the protections of the competition and consumer laws, with a focus on the Franchising Code of Conduct; misleading conduct in sale and promotion of food products; competition and consumer issues in the commercial construction sector. [Read more]
The Australian privacy law provides for an individual affected by a data privacy breach to seek compensation from the organisation involved in the breach. In this article, Stephens Lawyers & Consultants also provides a review and summary of the compensation awarded in determinations made during the years 2016-2018 by the Office of the Australian Information Privacy Commissioner in relation to privacy breaches and some of the factors taken into account by the Privacy Commissioner in awarding compensation and costs. [Read more]
The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) has published its Notifiable Data Breaches Report for the period 1 July to 31 December 2019. Stephens Lawyers & Consultants’ Privacy Risk Management: Data Protection and Privacy Compliance Information Sheet provides a summary of some key findings and statistics in this Report. Whilst there is no single solution for the protection of privacy data, there are steps which organisations can take to minimise the risk and harm of privacy data breaches. [Read more]
A strong business reputation is crucial in today’s online and social media environment. A good on-line business reputation can affect the bottom line of a business. So it makes good business sense to take steps to maintain and protect your good, strong business reputation. [Read more]
Recent awards of damages by courts for on-line defamation serve as a warning to all using the internet that care must be taken to ensure that there is a factual basis for what is published. Wilson v Bauer Media (2017), was one of the highest damages awards for defamation in Australia, including aggravated damages of $650,000 and special damages of $3,917,427. However, on appeal by Bauer Media, the Court of Appeal reduced the award of damages for non-economic loss (including aggravated damages) to $600,000 and ruled that Wilson had not made out her claim for special damages. [read more]
Businesses using AI computer systems or technology to generate literary or artistic works such as reports, directories or other compilations, databases, computer software, digital images, designs or plans, are at risk of not having copyright protection. Copyright material is a valuable asset of a business. However, businesses may not be able claim and enforce copyright protection in such material where human authorship of that material cannot be established, particularly if it has been generated using AI technology. [Read more]
The consumer guarantees provided under the Australian Consumer Law (‘ACL’) cannot be excluded, modified or restricted and are in addition to any manufacturer’s or supplier’s warranty. The ACL provides consumers with rights and remedies against suppliers (including on-line retailers) and manufacturers of goods or services acquired by them that do not comply with consumer guarantees. Is your business compliant? [Read more…]
Companies using cloud services, without proper due diligence including the legal review of the terms and conditions of the cloud services agreements and risk management are potentially putting at risk their intellectual property (“IP”) and also risk losing control of their data and content. It is important that businesses understand the risks and benefits of cloud based services and have proper processes and systems to manage the potential risks. [Read more…]