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New Freehills office spurs patent warning

New Freehills office spurs patent warning

NEW OFFICES in Brisbane give Freehills Patent & Trade Mark Attorneys better access to an under-serviced resource of clients, according to partner Brett Connor. Launching the new offices last…

NEW OFFICES in Brisbane give Freehills Patent & Trade Mark Attorneys better access to an under-serviced resource of clients, according to partner Brett Connor.

Launching the new offices last week, Freehills Patent & Trade Mark Attorneys introduced local clients to its facilities with an insight into just how necessary their services are. The firm offered clients an on-site seminar on the often neglected topic of secret use in the context of patent invalidity. Companies risk involuntarily their patent rights in Australia by engaging in secret use of an invention before filing a patent application, the firm warned.

“We see the Brisbane market a little under serviced in terms of quality service providers in what we do. We think that it would be a good thing for our business to be represented more amongst the Queensland market. The technology community is increasing in its prominence in Australia. We want to be part of that and we want our practice to reflect that on a national basis as well,” Connor told Lawyers Weekly.

“Freehills Patent & Trade Mark Attorneys already had offices in Melbourne and Sydney … The Brisbane office wasn’t set up to service the patent and trade mark attorney market and we’ve taken steps to correct that so that we can service our clients adequately in Brisbane when we are up there. [We want] ultimately to permanently man the office, so we’ve got the infrastructure in place to do that,” he said.

The Brisbane market is growing, said Connor, and the firm sees it as a perfect time to access that market. There is a growing demand for the firm’s level of expertise, he said. “The matters are becoming increasingly more complex and sophisticated. The market is going that way in Brisbane and we see that as an opportunity for our type of services.”

“Together with the wider Freehills legal practice, our team is well placed to provide our clients with commercially-focused advice and assistance and the strategic input necessary to capture and develop the value of their intellectual property,” he said.

On opening the offices, the firm addressed what it called “a topic that often goes under the radar in the world of patent law”. It demonstrated the depth of expertise and knowledge available to all clients locally, said Connor.

Ross McFarlane, partner at the firm, warned guests at the launch that many people responsible for managing their company’s intellectual property do not realise that an Australian patent will be invalid if it has been used in Australia, even secretly, before the patent’s priority date.

“Companies are frequently tempted to engage in some sort of commercial transaction or other use of their invention which is not strictly necessary in order to test whether their invention is technically feasible. Any use of an invention extending beyond ‘reasonable trial or experiment’ only … can on discovery invalidate any patent rights for that invention,” McFarlane said.

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