New Legislation to enhance children's online safety has taken effect from 1 July 2015. As previously reported by TimeBase, the Enhancing Online Security Legislation were developed following substantial public and stakeholder consultation, including consideration of more than 80 submissions received in response to the public discussion paper Enhancing Online Safety for Children released in January 2014.
The Australian Financial Review has reported that the Abbott Government may commission a new review of intellectual property rights by the Productivity Commission, in response to a recommendation in the Harper Review. The AFR reports that the review could be announced prior to the government’s formal response, which is due sometime between October and December this year. However, a separate inquiry into government processes for negotiating intellectual property clauses in trade deals that was also called for by the Harper Review is in more doubt, given the ongoing sensitivity to the IP issues in the on-going debate over the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
The High Court is currently presiding over one of the largest genetics patent cases in Australian history. As recently reported, Queensland breast cancer survivor Yvonne D’Arcy brought the case against US genetics research company Myriad Genetics after the company was granted a patent in Australia to a hereditary gene associated with the increased risk of breast cancer. Previous to the High Court hearing, the Full Federal Court had already ruled in favour of the Genetics company stating that the isolated nucleic acid, including DNA, has resulted in an artificially created state of affairs for economic benefit.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has welcomed a statement from independent arbiter, the Hon Mr Jeff Kennett AC who has instructed Coles to refund over $12 million to suppliers and has also allowed suppliers to exit the ARC program without penalty or have their Active Retail Collaboration (ARC) contribution rebates reviewed. In addition to the refunded amounts, this will result in further substantial on-going savings for Coles’ suppliers.
In the recent case of Hockey v Fairfax Media Publications Pty Limited  FCA 652, handed down on 30 June 2015, Justice White of the Federal Court has found in part for the Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey, in his defamation case against the Fairfax Media. A case directed to a series of articles, twitter posts and advertising signs and placards which appeared across the three Fairfax Media newspaper mastheads (The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and The Canberra Times) on 5 May 2014. Receiving particular attention, and raising the most reaction, was a page one article published under the headline "Treasurer for Sale" in two of the Fairfax newspapers. As a result of the decision, the Federal Treasurer received an $80,000 payout for two tweets from The Age's Twitter account in May 2014 and a $120,000 payout for similar words on newspaper advertising signs and a placard - in all a total of $200,000 in damages.
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