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Has Australia just banned ICOs? - Sep 2017

The Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) yesterday issued a press release and guidance for those considering launching an Initial Coin Offering (ICO/Token Sales). Given the ease with which an ICO (also known as a Token Sale) can be launched, and the huge amounts raised to date (USD$2.115 billion this year alone) this guidance has been eagerly awaited from ASIC. 
Partner, Mike Bacina discusses.

ACCC: Broadband Speed Claims - Industry Guidance - August 2017 - Sep 2017

The ACCC has previously stated that speed and performance claims regarding retail fixed-line broadband plans are one of its Compliance and Enforcement Priorities for 2017. It has now taken another step in this direction.

In response to a high volume of consumer complaints about ‘slow data speeds’ and regulatory uncertainty, on 21 August 2017, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) published Industry Guidance (Guidance) for Retail Service Providers (RSPs) on advertising speeds for fixed-line broadband services.  The Guidance follows extensive consultation with telecommunications network operators, RSPs and consumer representatives, and builds on the six principles for best-practice marketing (presales and after-sales) it published in February 2017.

Andrew Barling, senior associate and Oliva Dalton, law graduate, discuss the Guidance and its implications for RSPs and consumers.

Unlocking cryptocurrency token sales - Sep 2017

If it walks like a financial product, looks like a financial product and quacks like a financial product…

  • Token sales (also known as Initial Coin Offerings) offer a new form of fundraising which involve an exchange of fiat currency (US or Australian dollars for example) for a digital token. The sales are proving immensely popular with high risk investors.
  • Digital tokens generally fall within the category of either protocol tokens (such as Bitcoin) where the token itself has intrinsic value, asset-backed tokens (such as The DAO tokens) where a token holder is entitled to a real underlying asset, or access tokens (such as Golem) where tokens are used to access a network, often which has not yet been built.
  • There is a risk of token sales falling under securities law regulations, in addition to potential GST issues under the ‘Netflix tax’, which create uncertainty for businesses looking to harness this new source of potential funding.

Smart contracts in Australia: just how clever are they? - Aug 2017

Lawyers in practice today live in a world of ongoing disruption. As automation,  artificial intelligence and blockchain technology assists in reducing the costs of business transactions and increases the reliability of record keeping, the adoption of smart  contracts is an opportunity for lawyers to help their clients improve efficiency and to reduce the scope for disputes, and a challenge for lawyers who do not stay abreast of this area.

Productivity Commission makes pharma-specific patent reform recommendations - May 2016

IPT Alert: Register your trade mark with Chinese Customs - Mar 2016

In response to global concerns regarding the mass exportation of counterfeit goods, the General Administration of Customs of the People’s Republic of China is now proactively seizing goods registered with Customs. Partner, Tim O’Callaghan and Law Graduate, Nisha Pereira discuss this development. 

New Regulations for Crowd funding Start-Ups, Investors and Platforms - Feb 2016

On February 10 2016 the Corporations Amendment (Crowd-Sourced Funding) Bill 2015 passed the House of Representatives. Before the Senate votes upon this Bill, the Senate Economics Legislation Committee was due to report on the Bill on 22 February 2016, and will hold a public hearing today, 23 February 2016.

Once that Bill is passed, the Corporations Amendment (Crowd-Sourced Funding) Regulation 2015 (Cth) will likely be registered. Partner, David Cornwell and Law Clerk, James Lowrey outline the requirements imposed by the proposed Regulations on crowd funding platforms, investors and companies.

Defining criteria for tax incentives for early stage investors - Feb 2016

As part of the Government’s National Innovation Agenda, the Government released a Policy Discussion Paper on proposed tax incentives for early stage investors. This gives some guidance on how the incentives will work.

To encourage early stage investment into innovative Australian companies, the tax incentive will provide investors with the benefit of a non-refundable tax offset and a capital gains tax exemption on investments that meet certain eligibility criteria. 

The availability of the tax incentive will depend on various critical qualifying definitions. These definitions are considered in the Policy Discussion Paper.  Partner, David Cornwell and Senior Associate, Kimberley Levi discuss the Policy Discussion Paper.

Drone Regulation – Australia lags behind US - Dec 2015

On 15 December the US Federal Aviation Administration released an ‘Interim Final Rule’ providing for new registration and marking requirements for hobby and recreational drones. The rule came into effect on 21 December 2015, providing a web-based process for US citizens to register drones heavier than half a pound and less than 55 pounds.

This development in US drone regulations is in comparison to silence from The Civil Aviation Safety Authority, suggesting it was due to develop new drone regulations to go before Parliament by the end of 2016. It appears that deadline is not achieved.

Partner, David Cornwell and Law Clerk, James Lowrey compare the new US regulation and the current Australian position.

Safe harbours for startups and other directors - Dec 2015

On 7 December 2015, the Federal Government released the National Innovation and Science Agenda, delivering a range of new initiatives. Among the key focus areas, the Government highlighted insolvency law as a primary area overdue for reform. Whilst not introducing wholesale reforms to mimic the United States ‘Chapter 11’ framework, the targeted reforms seek to eliminate the stigma associated with business failure. Partner David Cornwell, Special Counsel Dr Malcolm Quirey and Law Clerk James Lowrey explore the promise these measures hold for Australian startups and early stage companies.

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