The cyber world and your business


The fun­da­men­tal con­cepts of com­mer­cial law were devel­oped in a phys­i­cal world but they are now rapid­ly adapt­ing to a cyber world. The pro­lif­er­a­tion of Infor­ma­tion Tech­nol­o­gy and Arti­fi­cial Intel­li­gence is occur­ring at an expo­nen­tial rate. The con­cept of the Inter­net of Things (IoT), involv­ing Human to Machine and Machine to Machine inter­ac­tion is rapid­ly lead­ing to the cre­ation of Big Data. These tech­no­log­i­cal changes are reflect­ed in the busi­ness world with Apple, Alpha­bet, Microsoft and Ama­zon replac­ing tra­di­tion­al phys­i­cal sup­pli­ers as the largest com­pa­nies in the world.

Our aim is to help guide you through the var­i­ous legal aspects of this ever chang­ing land­scape of cyber law, these aspects include: 

  • Cyber Intel­lec­tu­al Property.
  • Cyber Secu­ri­ty
  • Cyber Tech­nol­o­gy
  • Cyber Com­merce
  • Cyber Pri­va­cy
  • Soft­ware devel­op­ment agreements
  • Soft­ware licens­ing, host­ing and sup­port agreements
  • Sup­port and main­te­nance agreements
  • Web­site devel­op­ment agreements
  • Web­site user access terms
  • Assign­ments of copy­right in software
  • IT pro­fes­sion­al ser­vices agreements

Cyber intel­lec­tu­al property 

Intel­lec­tu­al prop­er­ty (‘IP) is the legal asset in inno­va­tion, whether it exists in a phys­i­cal or a cyber envi­ron­ment. How­ev­er, the tech­nol­o­gy inher­ent in the cyber world can pose a chal­lenge for the effec­tive iden­ti­fi­ca­tion, pro­tec­tion and exploita­tion of IP.

Trade marks, patents and designs can usu­al­ly be pro­tect­ed by reg­is­tra­tion. The author­ship and own­er­ship of copy­right can be the sub­ject of sys­tem­at­ic audit and con­trol pro­grams. Nonethe­less, a com­pa­ny’s web­site may effec­tive­ly link this IP to the world, there­by rais­ing juris­dic­tion­al issues for the web­site own­er. Web­sites can pro­vide an oppor­tu­ni­ty for IP infringe­ment by third par­ties and present a dan­ger of IP infringe­ment by the web­site own­er itself. These risks need to be strict­ly mon­i­tored and controlled.

The emer­gence of arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence (‘AI) rais­es fun­da­men­tal ques­tions as to whether there is human intel­lect’ in IP cre­at­ed by such AI devices. The con­cept of human intel­lect’ is fun­da­men­tal in estab­lish­ing the author­ship of copy­right works and in the patentabil­i­ty of inven­tions. There are dif­fer­ing leg­isla­tive approach­es in var­i­ous juris­dic­tions as to how best to deal with this impor­tant issue.

We pro­vide IP audit and pro­tec­tion pro­grams for our clients which are adapt­ed to take account of the risks to own­er­ship, infringe­ment and exploita­tion of IP which are inher­ent in a rapid­ly evolv­ing cyber environment. 

Cyber pri­va­cy

Per­son­al data pro­tec­tion was first leg­is­lat­ed in Aus­tralia in the Pri­va­cy Act 1988 (Cth) and fur­ther changes to Aus­tralian pri­va­cy law came in 2014 with the intro­duc­tion of the Aus­tralia Pri­va­cy Prin­ci­ples. In 2018 the Pri­va­cy Amend­ment (Noti­fi­ca­tion Data Breach­es) Act was intro­duced which required noti­fi­ca­tion of breach­es of data pri­va­cy to the Aus­tralian Infor­ma­tion Com­mis­sion­er. The fore­go­ing nation­al laws are sup­ple­ment­ed by State pri­va­cy laws and reg­u­la­tions relat­ed to par­tic­u­lar indus­tries. Mean­while, the intro­duc­tion of over­seas leg­is­la­tion such as the Euro­pean Union’s Gen­er­al Data Pro­tec­tion Reg­u­la­tions (GDPR) has posed poten­tial issues for com­pa­nies trans­fer­ring per­son­al data to and from the EU jurisdiction. 

We assist our clients in the draft­ing of pri­va­cy terms, mon­i­tor­ing of data stor­age and trans­fer, com­mu­ni­ca­tion with data providers and third par­ties, com­pli­ance with rel­e­vant leg­is­la­tion and noti­fi­ca­tion of data breach­es. Whilst we advise on Aus­tralian law, we utilis­es our inter­na­tion­al Mer­i­tas net­work of law firms to ser­vice your legal needs beyond Australia. 

Cyber secu­ri­ty

Cyber tech­nol­o­gy brings with it cyber risk. You can be exposed to data breach­es, denial of ser­vice attacks, unau­tho­rised access, iden­ti­ty theft, phish­ing and online scams. The cyber risks are best met by the devel­op­ment and imple­men­ta­tion of cyber secu­ri­ty gov­er­nance pro­grams, effec­tive tech­ni­cal con­trols and staff training.

Our cyber secu­ri­ty ser­vices involve ensur­ing com­pli­ance with the rel­e­vant leg­is­la­tion and reg­u­la­tions, deal­ing with rel­e­vant reg­u­la­tors and the pro­vi­sion of tech­ni­cal gov­er­nance sys­tems, through to the pro­tec­tion of data and com­mer­cial­ly sen­si­tive infor­ma­tion. We work with IT foren­sic providers to inves­ti­gate and respond to cyber secu­ri­ty breaches.

Cyber eCom­merce

The pro­lif­er­a­tion of online com­mer­cial trans­ac­tions pose sig­nif­i­cant issues to the fun­da­men­tal con­cepts of offer and accep­tance, appro­pri­ate juris­dic­tion and consumer/​supplier oblig­a­tions. eCom­merce trans­ac­tions can also raise issues as to the ade­quate iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of pur­chasers, estab­lish­ing the effec­tive­ness of pur­chase trans­ac­tions and deter­min­ing that deliv­ery and pay­ment oblig­a­tions have been met.

We can pro­vide advice on suit­able terms and con­di­tions for your busi­ness adapt­ed to your par­tic­u­lar indus­try sec­tor. Such terms and con­di­tions need to take account of rel­e­vant con­sumer and trade prac­tices leg­is­la­tion in all rel­e­vant juris­dic­tions. We also pro­vide advice on debtor con­trol pro­vi­sions and prod­uct and ser­vice liability. 

Cyber tech­nol­o­gy

Cyber tech­nol­o­gy is devel­op­ing at an expo­nen­tial rate and this devel­op­ment is cre­at­ing IP which needs to be iden­ti­fied, pro­tect­ed and exploit­ed. Our team reg­u­lar­ly drafts and reviews IT doc­u­ments for stan­dard agree­ments as well as bespoke doc­u­ments for unique arrangements..

Our IT doc­u­ments are draft­ed to ensure iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of own­er­ship, war­ranties, lia­bil­i­ties and cur­rent and future rights of the par­ties. As appro­pri­ate, this doc­u­men­ta­tion can address the iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of pre-con­trac­tu­al and post-con­trac­tu­al IP rights and relat­ed issues such as moral rights and rights in joint­ly — cre­at­ed IP. Where juris­dic­tion­al issues are like­ly to arise, we can draw on our inter­na­tion­al net­work of lawyers through our Mer­i­tas membership.