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Australian Intellectual Property Journal
Volume 18, Number 4, November 2007
Creation and protection of trade mark rights in "Second Life": Inadequacies in Australia's current law
The virtual world of "Second Life" is developing into an active global market in which trade marks will be used, potentially misused, and reputations developed. This article considers issues in relation to the creation and enforcement of trade marks that may arise in Second Life both for registered trade marks and common law trade marks. The traditional geographical segmentation of trade mark protection together with stratification of registered trade marks based on the goods or services in respect of which they are registered makes the application of existing law tenuous for those trying to develop and protect brands in Second Life. Part II provides an overview of the relevance of trade mark rights to virtual worlds. Part III examines the shortcomings of the law to protect Australian trade mark owners and Part IV reviews the potential rights of those creating a brand in Second Life.
Brave new world or much ado about nothing? Practical effect of proposed changes to Trade Practices Act, s 51(3)
Richard R L Hood
In Australia, the interface between intellectual property and competition laws is regulated by s 51(3) of the Trade Practices Act 1974 (Cth). Section 51(3) provides certain intellectual property transactions with a limited exemption from some of the competition provisions which are set out in Pt IV of the Act. The scope of s 51(3) has always been unclear, and that lack of clarity has been accentuated by the fact that it has not been amended in light of changing intellectual property laws. This article examines the protection currently afforded by s 51(3) and considers the practical effect which the government's proposed changes will have for intellectual property owners and the community in general. It outlines the approach which should be taken by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission in preparing guidelines regarding the effect of the changes, and considers some of the most common intellectual property scenarios in light of the existing law and the proposed reforms. The article concludes that intellectual property owners have little to fear from the proposed changes provided they are implemented in the manner which is suggested.
New frontier: Regulating technology by law and "Code"
Hon Justice Michael Kirby, AC CMG
The Centre for the Study of Technology, Ethics and Law in Society (TELOS) is a new specialised research centre, based at King's College, London, whose central focus is research on technology and regulation. This article is based on the closing address delivered to the inaugural conference that launched the TELOS research centre in April 2007. The address focuses on problems in the regulation of biotechnology and information technology. It has three main parts. First, I introduce the central theme of the conference, "Regulating Technology", by relating my own experiences with the challenges of regulating biotechnology and information technology. Secondly, I identify and describe five paradoxes that I have discovered in the regulation of technology. Thirdly, I outline and explain seven lessons concerning the regulation of technology that emerged from the presentations at the TELOS conference. Finally, the article concludes with some observations regarding the future direction of research in this challenging, and highly significant, area of legal research. Because these are universal themes they are relevant to Australian lawyers concerned with the interface of law and contemporary technology.