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King & Wood Mallesons | Australia | 13 Sep 2021

Dabus is coming: Federal Court finds AI system can be inventor under Patents Act

In a recent decision, the Federal Court found that an artificial intelligence (AI) system can be an inventor for the purposes of the Patents Act 1990 (Cth) and remitted the matter back to the Commissioner of Patents for reconsideration. It is thought that this is the first time in the world that a court has decided that an AI system can be an inventor. This decision has the potential to......
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King & Wood Mallesons | Australia | 24 May 2021

Challenges (and terrors) of long-term brand licensing deals

Structuring and negotiating a long-term brand licensing deal is always challenging because a lot can change over time. A licensing deal struck by Bega Cheese Ltd and Fonterra Brands (Aust) Pty Ltd 20 years ago was recently put under the judicial microscope. This article examines the result of the case, looks at the lessons learnt and considers how to structure marketing obligations to support......
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Lander & Rogers | Australia | 15 Jan 2020

Fiery fight over Metropolitan Fire and Emergency Services Board's latest agreement

In 2019 the Metropolitan Fire and Emergency Services Board and the United Firefighters Union of Australia Operational Staff Agreement 2016 was approved. The approval of the agreement raised a number of issues, including whether Section 195 of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth), which prohibits the approval of enterprise agreements containing discriminatory terms, includes a prohibition on indirect......
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Lander & Rogers | Australia | 8 Jan 2020

Poorly managed performance improvement plans: how to avoid adverse action claims

In an ironic turn of events, a poorly implemented and followed performance improvement plan (PIP) resulted in an employer having to pay A$205,342 to an employee who had brought a successful adverse action claim in the Federal Circuit Court. The court held that the employer had contravened the general provisions under the Fair Work Act 2009. This article provides practical tips on how......
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Lander & Rogers | Australia | 18 Dec 2019

When disaster strikes: managing employees following a natural disaster

The current fires in New South Wales and Queensland are a timely reminder for employers to review their business arrangements for responding to such crises, particularly in workforce management, and ensuring that they have a plan in place to deal with the aftermath. This article provides some guidance on the kinds of things that employers need to think about following a natural disaster.
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Lander & Rogers | Australia | 6 Nov 2019

Consultation: is a dismissal harsh, unjust or unreasonable without it?

Does an employee have to be consulted, in accordance with an applicable industrial instrument, about their impending termination? According to a recent decision by the Fair Work Commission, the answer is not necessarily. The decision highlights that there are certain circumstances where an employer may be safe from an unfair dismissal claim if it proceeds to termination without consulting the......
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Lander & Rogers | Australia | 23 Oct 2019

It's official: all permanent employees are entitled to 10 working days' paid sick leave... for now

The Fair Work Ombudsman recently released advice that all permanent employees are entitled to 10 days of paid personal/carer's leave for each year of their employment. This is a major departure from calculating personal/carer's leave entitlements in hours, which is the approach currently taken by most employers and employees. However, the ombudsman's advice is based on a recent court decision......
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Lander & Rogers | Australia | 16 Oct 2019

Freedom of expression versus work obligations

The Federal Court recently upheld an employee's dismissal, which had occurred after he criticised his law firm's clients in an opinion piece in two newspapers. While the court's decision is not a green light for employers to terminate employees who express political views, it is a reminder for employers and employees that a failure to follow a lawful and reasonable direction may justify......
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Lander & Rogers | Australia | 7 Aug 2019

Get your hands off my… data! Employer's request for biometric data deemed unlawful

The Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission recently found that the direction given to an employee regarding the solicitation and collection of his biometric data was unlawful because it was inconsistent with the Privacy Act. The decision is a reminder to employers that directions to employees must be lawful and reasonable. If not, dismissal of an employee for failing to follow such direction......
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Lander & Rogers | Australia | 31 Jul 2019

Court rules that industrial action must be taken by parties to employment relationship

A recent Full Court of the Federal Court decision is significant in shedding light on what constitutes 'industrial action' as defined in Section 19(1) of the Fair Work Act. Specifically, the decision establishes that industrial action can be taken only by parties to an employment relationship. It also highlights that, under the Fair Work Act, industrial action does not capture instances where......
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