Australia trade marks changes to official fees

The Australian Trade Marks Office has made a number of changes to its official fee structure to reduce or shift the timing of fees, some of which are to align with practices and other jurisdictions, and (hopefully) to cut red tape. The changes took effect on 10 October 2016.

Significantly, the official fees on filing a new application have increased (by around AU$100 per class), but there will no longer be a separate registration fee payable at the acceptance/ registration stage. While this might result in more deadwood on the Register in cases where an applicant loses interest in its application after filing but before acceptance/registration, the new process will hopefully reduce the administrative burden on applicants somewhat.

In addition, the AU$150 fee for opposing a removal application will be abolished. Renewal fees will also increase slightly.

This is an adjustment to official fees only at this time, and DLA Piper Australia is not increasing its fees for the relevant attendances.

Hong Kong's Privacy Commissioner addresses privacy compliance and best practice for BYOD 

Following the publication of industry-specific BYOD guidelines such as those issued by the Hong Kong Association of Banks (the HKAB Guidelines), the trend towards Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) has come to the attention of Hong Kong's Privacy Commissioner. The Commissioner published an information leaflet on 31 August 2016 (the Information Leaflet), which highlights the risks of data breaches where employees are using their own mobile phones or other personal devices to access work emails/systems, and suggests best practices for organisations allowing BYOD. Unlike previous industry-specific guidance, the Information Leaflet is generally applicable to all companies permitting BYOD in Hong Kong. It is clear from the Information Leaflet that organisations permitting BYOD remain fully responsible for compliance with the Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance (Cap. 486) (the Ordinance) and the Data Protection Principles (DPPs).

The Information Leaflet suggests organisations adopt a risk-based approach to BYOD security, implementing access controls and security measures proportionate to the types of personal data stored in or accessible by BYOD equipment and the harm and likelihood of loss or unauthorised disclosure. This reflects the approach taken in the HKAB Guidelines, which recommend specific and distinct practices which differ depending on whether or not the organisation's data is stored on the personal devices or within a `sandbox'. The Commissioner has suggested as best practice that organisations should, at the outset of any BYOD implementation, conduct risk assessments and implement internal BYOD policies accordingly to ensure appropriate data privacy and data security compliance.

The Commissioner has also outlined several critical issues that organisations should consider in order to remain compliant under the Ordinance. For instance, organisations should consider whether there is sufficient employee training regarding use of personal data stored in the BYOD device, and whether adequate security measures are in place to ensure secure transfer and storage of personal data in the BYOD equipment (e.g. sandboxing, password protection and independent encryption).

The Information Leaflet also highlights that respect for personal data should be mutual under the BYOD scheme, and any practices implemented to manage employees' BYOD devices should respect the employees' private information.

For more information, the Information Leaflet is available here.

Judicial Review of Australian Government Procurements

In order to comply with its free trade obligations under the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement. the Australian Government is planning to introduce the Government Procurement (Judicial Review) Bill (Bill), which will allow suppliers to raise complaints about government procurement processes for review by an independent judicial authority.

Where the supplier believes the procuring Government entity has breached the Commonwealth Procurement Rules, in order to seek a remedy (for example, damages) the supplier must follow the approach prescribed in the Bill. This is likely to be a two-step process. Firstly, the supplier must attempt to resolve the complaint with the procuring entity. Secondly, if the complaint cannot be resolved, the supplier may choose to have the complaint judicially reviewed by the Federal Circuit Court.

The proposed Bill is likely to be introduced into the Australian Parliament by the end of this year.