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. 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”.
2. 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.
3. Julian Stephens is a mentor in the 2019 University of Melbourne Law School Mentor Program (the ‘MLS Mentor Program’) and has been involved in the mentoring program since 2017.
4. 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“.
5. 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‘.
6. 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
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 Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) has published its Notifiable Data Breaches Scheme 12-month Insights Report for the NDB scheme’s first full year in operation. Stephens Lawyers & Consultants’ 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]
The ACCC 2019 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; customer loyalty schemes in airline, retail and hospitality sectors; advertising practices on social media platforms and subscription services; and unfair contract terms and the Franchising Code of Conduct. [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…]
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 provides a review 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 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…]
Privacy compliance and data breach risk management is too often not taken seriously by Australian organisations. The complexity of organisational structures and IT business systems in many instances results in management not knowing what data is collected by whole of business and how the data is managed. Many data breaches result from human error and can be avoided by appropriate ongoing staff training in data protection and privacy compliance and handling of information. [Read more]
The on-line dissemination of defamatory material can go viral and result in significant reputational damage to individuals and businesses. Internet search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo further disseminate such material on their websites in search results. The High Court of Australia in Trkulja v. Google LLC [13 June 2018] has cleared the way for defamation proceedings against search engine proprietors. [Read more]
Negative or disparaging online reviews can result in substantial damage to a business’ reputation and also a loss of revenue. Some businesses have resorted to the use of non-disparagement clauses in their consumer contracts and small business contracts to stop the publication of damaging reviews. However, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (“ACCC”) views such clauses as “unfair “ contract terms under the Australian Consumer Law if they prevent or limit a customer from making genuine, relevant and lawful public comments about goods or services. [read more…]