Crowdfunding
Business Law
Traditionally, there have only been two methods by which start-up businesses could raise the funds for their project. Business owners will be familiar with "debt" and "equity" - either take out a loan, or sell a share of your business. In this sphere, the internet is threatening to disturb the status quo. Here it takes the form of "crowdfunding", which...
New Year, make it clear! Update your Terms & Conditions
Business Law
2015 has well and truly arrived. Hopefully the holiday period gave you the opportunity to regroup and recharge before another busy year. Now is the perfect time to refresh your business, by paying some much deserved attention to your Terms and Conditions. Your Terms and Conditions form the contract between your business and your customers; they lay down what your...
The importance of having an IP management system
Business Law
For most businesses their intellectual property (IP) make up a significant proportion of their goodwill and ultimate value. It is therefore imperative that proper safeguards are in place to allow you to identify what IP is yours and to protect it. Every business should have an IP management system to ensure that any (relevant) IP relating to / created in...
Safety defects in building construction goods
Business Law
No matter what industry you are engaged in, you will no doubt have experienced the stress associated with the purchase, production, re-sale or use of defective goods or materials. It is a common issue, even where goods have been certified compliant with Australian Standards. In addition to the logistical challenges associated with the repair, replacement or refunding of such goods,...
Brand protection: overcoming hurdles to registering a trademark
Business Law
Our firm hosts an annual not-for-profit networking event called "Sweatworking™". The term "Sweatworking" was created by our Director, Susan Proctor in 2012. Given our firm's considerable investment in the event, we sought to protect that investment by applying for a trade mark of the word "Sweatworking". Adverse report Once a trade mark application is lodged, it is reviewed by a...
Political donations: are you up-to-date on your disclosure obligations?
Business Law
One of the most polarising federal bud gets in decades, talk of double dissolutions and a unpredictable Senate - with an early election not out of the question, now is a good time to ensure that both you and your business are up to speed on your disclosure obligations when it comes to making financial or other donations to political...
Genuine employer exemption: payroll tax changes
August 2014 Issue 96
On 5 June 2014 the ACT Government introduced the Payroll Tax Amendment Bill 2014 that will remove the "genuine employer" payroll tax exemption on wages paid to subcontractors by employment agents and payroll agencies (collectively ""agencies"). The bill was originally slated to commence on 1 July 2014, however the Commissioner for ACT Revenue acknowledged this date would have been challenging...
Employee share schemes: start-ups let down by Federal Budget
Business Law
The current tax treatment of employee share schemes in Australia puts our local start-ups at a significant commercial disadvantage to their overseas competitors. Employee share schemes should allow early stage start-ups to attract and retain talented and skilled employees without having to pay them large initial salaries (which the start-ups generally can't afford) by allowing the employees to instead benefit...
Franchising code reforms
Business Law
The Government is proposing amendments to the Franchising Code of Conduct (the Code); these are tipped to redress a perceived imbalance of p ower in the franchisor - franchisee relationship. The forecast changes include: * introduction of an obligation on both parties to act in good faith; * substitution of some disclosure obligations with a 'short information sheet'; * an...
Statutory demands – can wind up being risky
Business Law
A statutory demand notice is a formal, attested demand, which if correctly issued and served, gives the debtor company 21 days from the date of service to pay or compromise the debt to the creditor's satisfaction. If the company fails to do so, then it is presumed to be "insolvent". If a debtor company takes issue with the claim in...
Agreeing to agree? Be careful what you wish for!
April 2014 Issue 92
Whether you call it an MOU (or memorandum of understanding), a Heads of Agreement or something else, form can never be the victor over substance in the world of "Contract". Entering a Heads can give you comfort, but at what risk and with what effect? The answer lies in whether the Heads agreed records a deal that has been done...
MOU versus legal contract?
Business Law
A memorandum of understanding (MOU) can be a useful mechanism to facilitate a comforting commitment between two parties to either informally agree, or to agree to negotiate an agreement. While for some this may inspire confidence and assist in speeding up negotiations, for others, in light of the supposedly non-binding legal nature of such agreements, the MOU is nothing more...
New year, new beginnings
Business Law
Whether you are contemplating a new venture, or a shakeup of your existing business, the New Year is a great time to ask - which business structure is right for me? Every business is different, but they share a raft of common concerns. The three most commonly used vehicles are sole trader, partnership and private company. Each strikes a different...
Copyright in software: off the rack lessons for tailor-made
Business Law
  Many businesses invest considerable sums to develop functionality for their computer programs. Contracted IT developers are commonly asked develop solutions to reorganise the way in which business information can be stored, accessed and used. The solutions themselves become valuable assets, but controlling rights to the solution is often left overlooked until it is too late. Paying a consultant to...
Contractual risk: filling the gap
Business Law
Australia exists as one of the most regulated economies in the world. As new technology and access to information sweeps through our lives, society's expectations of what businesses should deliver is constantly rising. That expectation shift means increased "risk" for businesses, as our society becomes increasingly litigious. In all skilled trades and professions this increasingly complex world demands that businesses...
Is a franchise for me?
Business Law
There are plenty of opportunities to start a franchise venture in Canberra, however, before forging ahead and buying into a franchise you must do your research: investigate potential and future profit forecasts, carry out marketing studies, read the documentation, and find out as much about the franchise as possible. Certainly, you must step with caution. The franchise agreement that you...
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