Five countries have brought WTO Complaints against Australia’s plain packaging rules for tobacco products. On 25 April 2014, the Dispute Settlement Body under the Dispute Settlement Understanding established panels to determine the complaints brought by Cuba, the Dominican Republic, the Ukraine, Honduras and Indonesia. On 5 May, the Director-General formally announced the 3 member Panel who will hear the disputes: Mr Alexander Erwin (chair); Prof. Francois Dessemontet; and Dame Billie Miller.
In Korda v Australian Executor Trustees (SA) Ltd, the VSCA may have assisted the investors in a radiata pine managed investment scheme at the expense of trusts law orthodoxy.
Did you know there was a Major Sporting Events (Indicia and Images) Protection Bill 2014? It was introduced into Parliament on 26 March 2014. It is designed to provide protections for certain indicia associated with the upcoming: Asian Football Championships to be held in Australia in 2015; the ICC World Cup to be held in Australia and New Zealand in 2015; and the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, against ‘ambush marketing’.
High Court strikes down laws prohibiting donations to political parties and spending on election campaigns
The High Court held invalid recent changes to the NSW political donations and campaign expenditure laws. The laws would have prohibited donations to political parties by any person not on the electoral roll, and where an overall cap on campaign spending by political parties otherwise applied, would have deemed expenditure on a campaign by ‘affiliated organisations’ of a political party (eg, unions) as being expenditure by that political party.
Last October, Tracey J found that Shine Forever had infringed Bugatti’s registered trade mark (for BUGATTI) by selling clothing and accessories under the trade mark BUGATCHI and BUGATCHI UOMO. Now Tracey J has ordered that Shine Forever pay Bugatti $551,159.39 plus costs on an indemnity basis. Apart from the magnitude of the amount, the decision illustrates the onus the court places on an infringer, once found to infringe, and the latitude afforded a trade mark owner confronted by a recalcitrant infringer.
Last year CommBar was treated to the visit of Geraldine Andrews QC, before she took her seat in the Queens Bench Division. Her vast experience in arbitrations in Singapore is legend. For court appearances though, as with most common law jurisdictions, the Singaporeans are protective of their turf. They resist giving audience to foreign practitioners. So when the High Court of Singapore handed down its decision in re Andrews, Geraldine Mary QC  SGHC 229, new ground was broken concerning a foreign practitioner’s right of appearance in Singapore, good news for Victorian barristers. But as we essay below, ad hoc admission there is not without a catch.
Perfection requirements of transitional security interests under the Personal Property Securities Act 2009 (Cth)
Appeal from liquidators’ decision to reject claim for the return of cleaning equipment subject to retention of title. Consideration of retention of title clauses and the application of the transitional security agreements under Personal Property Securities Act 2009 (Cth).
In insolvency law the calculation of precise periods of time is important. Insolvency practitioners need to know exactly when limitation periods end in order to preserve potential claims. The “relation back period” is one of the more important time periods relevant to calculating limitations, and yet there is surprisingly little authority on exactly when the relation back period starts.
Last week, 31 March, the US Supreme Court heard oral argument on the question whether Alice Corporation can patent its software system for a method of payment: Alice Corporation Pty. Ltd. v. CLS Bank International, Supreme Court Docket No 13-298 (2014). Several patents and claims are in issue, all relating to a computerized trading platform used for conducting financial transactions in which a third party settles obligations between a first and a second party so as to eliminate “counterparty” or “settlement” risk. The issue is whether what Alice Corporation is claiming is even patent-eligible subject matter (let alone knew or inventive). In Australia, the corresponding question is whether what is claimed is “a manner of manufacture”.
A wider ambit for the unreasonable director-related transactions provisions of the Corporations Act?
In Vasudevan & Ors v Becon Const & Anor  VSCA 14, the Victorian Court of Appeal adopted a broader interpretation of the phrase ‘for the benefit of … a director’ in s 588FDA of the Corporations Act 2001 (the Act) than has been accepted in previous cases. The decision has the potential to widen the ambit of the unreasonable director-related transactions provisions of the Act.
Challenge to creditor standing on application to wind up appellant company on grounds of insolvency. Standing examined with reference to bona fides of the appellant’s asserted counter claim and circumstances surrounding the failure of appellant to take steps to advance asserted counter-claim or demonstrate solvency. Court held respondent had standing as a creditor in accordance with s 459P(1)(b) Corporations Act 2001 (Cth).
High Court Holds ACT Same Sex Marriage Law Is Inconsistent with Federal Marriage Law and of No Effect
Eugenia Levine – The Commonwealth of Australia v The Australian Capital Territory
Roslyn Kaye – The New South Wales Court of Appeal allowed this appeal brought by the ANZ bank. The trial judge had found that the bank was not entitled to rely upon an assumption that a forged guarantee document had been duly executed. The Court of Appeal held that the bank was entitled to rely upon the assumptions in sections 129(4) and (5) of the Corporations Act 2001 that the guarantee had been duly executed, and accordingly the guarantee was enforceable against the respondent company.
This case decided that VCAT is not a “court” for the purposes of the Commercial Arbitration Act 2011 (“CAA”) and therefore is not obliged to refer parties to arbitration in accordance with section 8 of the CAA where the matter before VCAT is the subject of an arbitration agreement.