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Seasons Greetings from Stratocumulus Legal

When my kids put up our family’s Christmas tree recently, I had the feeling that it was only just the other day that I packed it away from last year. While perhaps the beginning of the year dragged on, still affected by pandemic restrictions, the tail end of the year has gone in a flash.

This Stratocumulus newsletter reflects on some of the activities and events in my practice over 2022. The background theme this year was again the inevitable intersection between intellectual property and machine learning, AI and automation. This is an area that’s only going to become more prominent, and has the potential to greatly disrupt the law with respect to the protection of auto-generated content. The big policy question remains whether such content ought to even be afforded legal protection at all.

Thank you again to those who have supported me this year, and especially to the clients who have entrusted me with their work.

Edith Cowan University Law Assembly 2022

It was a privilege to be invited by Edith Cowan University (ECU), along with The Hon. Alannah MacTiernan MLC, The Hon. Bill Johnston MLA, and Dr Martin Allcock, to be on the panel at this year’s Law Assembly at the beginning of November.

The topic was “Legal, Policy and Ethical Implications of Robotics and Automation”, and which we explored the exciting opportunities and potential challenges posed by the increased use of automated decision-making tools.

I spoke about IP rights in AI generated content, robot selfies, robot inventors and the impending doom of intellectual property. There was a lively discussion between the panel and the audience, including online afterwards. And I’m glad my red robot was popular too!

Japan Education and Cultural Centre of Western Australia (JECCWA)

As a committee member of the Australia-Japan Society of Western Australia (AJSWA), one of the projects that I’ve been working on this year, together with a group of dedicated committee members, is our campaign to create a hub for the WA-Japan community by establishing and operating the Japan Education and Cultural Centre of Western Australia (JECCWA) on the site of the former Hyogo Prefectural Government Cultural Centre.

AJSWA has been working hard to look at what we could do as a community to ensure the continuation of the services of the centre in some way going forward as well as retain the assets so that they are available to members of the public for years to come. See announcement here.

If you would like to support this important initiative, then please view the crowd funding website.

New Frontiers Conference

The National Federation of Australia Japan Societies Conference was held in Adelaide in September, and for me, it was an exciting first trip anywhere since the beginning of the pandemic.

The topic of “New Frontiers” highlighted Australia-Japan space industry and cooperation, and we heard about Australian and Japanese businesses using AI, robotics and data from space to advance projects on the ground.

Then on another level, hearing about Japanese as Community Language – particularly the important role of non-Japanese parents supporting their children’s bilingual upbringing – spoke very personally to me in the context of my own family’s bilingual project. I wrote a report of the conference which can be found in the October AJSWA newsletter.

AJSWA Christmas Party

I was pleased to be the MC for the 2022 Australia-Japan Society of Western Australia Christmas Party in mid-December. It was a great celebration of the Australia-Japan relationship in Western Australia.

Stratocumulus Legal was also pleased to sponsor the Christmas Party by providing some of the door prizes for attendees.

IP and the Blockchain

In September, I chaired a webinar co-hosted by Intellectual Property Society of Australia & New Zealand (IPSANZ) and the Digital Law Association on the topic of “IP & the Blockchain”.

Presented by Angelina Gomez and Lucy Hartland, we had a fascinating discussion around the prospect of intellectual property assets being managed with blockchain technology, including smart contracts. This is another area to watch.

Website articles

Robot inventors

In 2021, the Thaler case was Australia’s world first flirtation with artificial intelligence as inventor. This decision was reversed in April by the Full Federal Court on appeal, meaning that only a human can be an inventor after all, and that AI inventions are not patentable under current Australian law.

More recently, the High Court declined special leave to appeal, meaning that it is now up to policy makers and legislators to consider whether AI inventions ought to be protected.


There have been a number of high profile cybersecurity incidents throughout the year. In the midst of these, the Federal Court decided a case highlighting the importance, and now the legal expectation, that businesses will maintain cyber security standards that reasonably protect end clients.

All Australian businesses should take heed of this decision and review their cyber security protections and procedures – to protect their clients’ and stakeholders’ intellectual property and confidential information.

Community & professional engagement

I’ve again re-joined the Western Australian committee of the Intellectual Property Society of Australia & New Zealand (IPSANZ), and look forward to contributing to the profession here in Perth over the next year.

I have also continued my membership of the committee of the Australia-Japan Society of Western Australia (AJSWA), and likewise look forward to contributing to the Australia-Japan community in Perth.

I also became the secretary of the National Federation of Australia Japan Societies Inc, the national body representing all the Australia Japan Societies around Australia.

Robot selfies

You may have heard the intro to my presentation, in which I pose the question who owns copyright in a robot selfie?

It was wonderful to spend a month in Japan recently, visiting family and friends, and giving our kids the opportunity to attend local schools in Tokyo.

In a proof of concept of remote working, I had my laptop with me and was able to get some work done here and there.

I also found a new way to take a robot selfie. This wooden robot cut-out was in front of a café in Shimokitazawa.

Don’t forget that I can help with:

  • Advising on ownership and subsistence of IP assets, and who has the right to commercialise or exploit that IP;
  • IP Audits & Reviews
  • IP Licensing – advice and reviews
  • Trade mark applications and filing strategy
  • Online copyright infringement and take-down notices
  • Domain name disputes
  • IP training for your staff and stakeholders

I’m available for general legal consulting, all the better if it has an intellectual property angle!
I am more than happy to complement or integrate with existing legal teams to advise on niche issues or scope (eg. intellectual property issues) arising within larger matters. Small or discrete jobs welcome. More details of our services are here.

If you haven’t already, please subscribe to our posts and articles at our website here:
If your organisation would like some IP training, or a presentation on current topics in IP, please get in contact.

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