Monthly Archives: February 2015


iStock_000008787544SmallThere have been numerous recent developments in intellectual property (IP) law in Australia.

Below is a summary of some key developments. As with any international jurisdiction, IP law in Australia is complex and requires the expertise of an experienced specialist to navigate it correctly.


Following on from the Intellectual Property Laws Amendment (Raising the Bar) Act 2012 (Cth), the Intellectual Property Laws Amendment Bill 2014 (Cth) recently passed the Australian Senate and will soon become law.

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ILN Today Post

Digital Media, Technology & Privacy Alert >> In “Internet of Things” Report, FTC Staff Warns Makers of Connected Devices to Improve Privacy and Security

A new report on the “Internet of Things” (IoT) issued by Federal Trade Commission (FTC) staff acknowledges the remarkable growth of the IoT, and recommends numerous steps for businesses to take to protect consumers’ security and privacy. More specifically, the report encourages creativity in providing “notice and choice,” endorses data minimization strategies, and supports new broad-based privacy legislation that would impact, but not be specific to, the IoT. More…

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ILN Today Post

Government proposes to relax affordable housing requirements on smaller developments

When the concept of a Community Infrastructure Levy to be paid on the grant of a planning permission was introduced by the Government in April 2013, the Government made it clear that the levy was largely intended to replace the practice of securing contributions to infrastructure from developers through planning agreements (section 106 obligations). It was envisaged, however, that section 106 obligations would continue to be required to deal with two matters, first the carrying out of any works that were required to address any direct impact from the development (for example, highway improvements at the access to the site) and secondly, affordable housing. The requirement to provide affordable housing therefore remained as a substantial additional cost to developers sitting alongside the Community Infrastructure Levy. More…

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Land and Building Transaction Tax – Commercial focus in Scotland

From 1st April 2015 there will be a new tax system in place applicable to all land and property transactions in Scotland, known as the land and building transaction tax (“LBTT”). This will replace the current system in Scotland, Stamp duty land tax (“SDLT”). This article will focus on the aims of the new tax system and how the LBTT regime will work, with a particular focus on the potential implications from a commercial property standpoint, both in relation to commercial purchases and commercial leases.

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First Circuit Reiterates Importance of Good Faith in ADA Interactive Process

In a case emphasizing the importance of acting in good faith in the interactive process and how an employer can do it right, on February 13, 2015, the First Circuit denied the EEOC’s petition for a rehearing en banc of the court’s decision to dismiss a lawsuit brought against Kohl’s Department Stores, Inc. by a diabetic former employee who claimed that her erratic working hours were exacerbating her condition.  EEOC v. Kohl’s Dep’t Stores, Inc., 774 F.3d 127 (1st Cir. 2014), reh’g en banc denied (Feb. 13, 2015).

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The Ninth Circuit’s Request That The California Supreme Court Clarify Ambiguous Language In California’s Day-of-Rest Requirements Could Have A Tremendous Impact Upon Employers

It is not often that long-standing laws cause a federal court to throw up its arms, but for the second time in little over a year, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has done just that in attempting to understand a California employment law.

Last year, the Ninth Circuit threw up its hands and asked the California Supreme Court to clarify California’s obscure “suitable seating” laws, about which we wrote here.

Now, in Mendoza v. Nordstrom, Inc., the Ninth Circuit has thrown up its hands again, this time asking the California Supreme Court to clarify California’s day-of-rest laws.

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Healthcare Alert: Physicians beware: Collection and handling payments under scrutiny

On June 25, 2014, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) issued a special fraud alert entitled “Laboratory Payments to Referring Physicians.” The alert deals specifically with laboratories paying compensation to physicians and group practices for blood specimen collection, processing, and packaging activities, as well as the submission of patient data to a database or registry.

The Medicare and Medicaid anti-kickback statute is implicated when remuneration is paid in order to induce or reward referrals for any items or services reimbursed by a federal healthcare program. The alert cautions against arrangements that improperly take into account the volume or value of referrals that may induce a physician or physician group to use a particular laboratory or cause overutilization of testing services. The OIG highlights in this special fraud alert that certain arrangements are particularly suspect under the anti-kickback statute, including specimen collection, processing and packaging arrangements, and registry payments.

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McDonald Hopkins Government Strategies Advisory: This Week in Washington — February 20, 2015

On Monday, President Obama’s immigration reform policy hit a judicial roadblock. Judge Andrew Hanen of the U.S. District Court in Brownsville, Texas, issued an injunction that suspends his executive action. The judge found that a coalition of 26 states challenging Obama’s actions had made enough of a showing to warrant staying implementation of the deportation policy as the case moves forward.

The Justice Department said it would appeal Hanen’s order to the U.S. Court of Appeals in New Orleans, and White House aides said the government is considering asking for an emergency stay of the injunction. “We believe we are on very strong legal footing,” Cecilia Munoz, Obama’s top domestic policy adviser, said on a conference call with reporters.

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Managing digital assets – Preserving your social media legacy

In our 2013 article “Dealing with Digital Assets in an Estate”, we discussed the importance of identifying, cataloguing, and planning for your digital assets, an often overlooked aspect of estate planning. In broad terms, “digital assets” include all of the electronic possessions an individual may have. A recent survey conducted by McAfee revealed that the average Canadian values his or her digital assets at more than $32,000! Such digital assets include music downloads, e-books, text messages, videos, emails and social media accounts, such as Facebook. The latter is the focus of this article.

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Supreme Court of Canada Permits Physican-Assisted Suicide

In a landmark ruling, The Supreme Court of Canada overturned its decision from 22 years earlier and found in favour of a dying person’s right to die with dignity.
The issue of physician-assisted suicide first came before the Supreme Court of Canada in 1993.  At that time, Sue  Rodriguez, a 42 year old woman suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) applied to the Supreme Court of British Columbia for the right to “die with dignity” and to permit a physician to help her end her life.  The matter was eventually appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada which held in a close 5 – 4 decision that the section of the Criminal Code of Canada (“Criminal Code”) which prohibited giving assistance to commit suicide was constitutional.  At that time, the Supreme Court held that the principles of “fundamental justice” in section 7 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms (“Charter”), requires that a fair balance be struck between the interests of the state and those of the individual. 
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