Articles

In addition to her role as General Editor of the Internet Law Bulletin and Intellectual Property Law Bulletin, Sharon has written over 80 legal articles on the theme of intellectual property and consumer protection and labelling laws, focussing on cutting edge issues.

In the past, she has written a regular by-line for numerous marketing magazines, including B &  T Weekly, Food Management News and Packaging News and now writes for Digi Reproduction on IP issues impacting on photographers and is a regular contributor to other publications including for the Packaging Council of Australia and ProPhoto magazine.

Some examples of her work is set out below:

COPYRIGHT AND WRONG?
Sharon Givoni has recently authored a series of articles for Sex, Drugs & Helvetica, a blog and annual Melbourne and Brisbane conference for designers. Click on the links and you can read about the essentials of Copyright Law, useful tips on contract law (including issues that impact on freelancers, employers and business-owners) as well as internet law issues including permissions for using content as well as social media copyright concerns.

ARTS & DESIGN
Chinese Fakes. What can you do about them?
One question that Australian IP lawyers often get asked is what you can do to prevent your designs and products from being ripped-off in China. The issues surrounding IP protection are alive and well in China, which is notorious for its culture of copying, with “Naik” (Nike) shoes to “Adidos” (Adidas) tops right through to to fake hotels to fake hotels branded as “Hiyatt” (Hyatt). This article, written for Window Furnishings Australia, examines the situation with a few tips along the way.
Read more…


Preventing Copycats: Weaving Through the Legals
Imagine you come up with a great new pattern for curtain fabric that strikes a chord with consumers, a window shutter design or a special weave that flies off the shelves. What if you find out someone is copying you? Have you protected your IP? Can you stop them? How? This article considers how you can protect textile designs and products. Would it be under copyright law or designs law? The answer you will see is not always entirely straightforward and can depend on whether the textile product could be considered a “work of artistic craftsmanship” (under copyright law) or an industrial design (which may mean you would need to have secured a design registration for it). This may factor into the choices you make early on when seeking out the best way to protect your products and designs from copycats particularly textiles and other products with a creative streak.
This article has kindly been reproduced with the permission of Boston Publishing: www.bostonpublishing.com.au. It appeared in Window Furnishings Australia magazine, a business-to-business magazine specifically serving the interior window furnishings market in Australia.
Read more...


Understanding copyright risks for printers
In this article, Sharon Givoni is interview by “Australian Printer” magazine about the risks of being liable for copyright infringement by simply photocopying or printing someone else’s artwork. Copyright risks can be minimised by taking some very simple steps. Read on to find out what these steps are
This article first appeared in the November 2013 issue of Australian Printer magazine
Read more…


Threading IP Law together for Beaders

Many creative people are making business out of their hobby. However, all sorts of business and legal considerations arise. These include trade marking the name of your brand, ensuing you own copyright in what you produce or others create for and not infringing other peoples’ rights. Read on for a hands on snapshot of dos and don’ts...
Reproduced with the kind permission of Beader magazine.
Read more…


Inspiration... or Rip Off?

We all get inspirited by one thing or another in life including when we create art works such as drawings and photographs. Madonna got inspired by a famous fashion photographer some years ago when creating one of her video clips and then threatened with legal action. Read more…


Making Your Mark

Eagle Boys pizza has actually registered their pink glow shop frontage as a trade mark! Read on to see how you can “make your mark” by registering your trade mark even if it is unusual. Read more…


The Case for Binding Contracts

Read how the owner of a holiday resort thought that they could use the photographer’s commercial images of the report without paying him. The court punished them even more because they had ignored the letters from the photographer asking for payment. Lucky for the photographer, he had a contact with them that set out what payments where owed to him very clearly leaving nothing in doubt. Read more…


The Fine Line between Copyright Infringement or Artistic Creativity

This article looks at what happened when the owners of the Barbie doll (Mattel) took a photographer to court over the “creative” use of Barbie in a bold and daring set of photographers featuring Barbies cooking in a casserole dish and in a fondue pot. The fair use defence under copyright law came into play in this American case. Read more…


Copyright or Wrong - Ownership Issues

This article considers copyright considers for photographers including how long copyright lasts for, what can be protected and how. Read more…


Moral Rights and Copyright

Did you know that not attributing an author or artist can be a beach of their moral right? As can cutting up their photograph or painting? This artilce discusses Australia’s moral rights laws in the context of photography. Read more…



CONSUMER LAW
Contracts 101
Some people are surprised to learn that contracts may be enforceable even if they are not in writing. In order for a contract (written or oral) to
be enforceable, some essential elements must be present. Read on...


Making a case for accurate claims

Food manufacturers are always trying to boast the health attributes of their products. The question is how far is too far? When does the law say its misleading? Companies such as Arnott’s, Uncle Toby’s and smaller operators have been under the scrutiny of consumer groups and the ACCC. Read more...


Choc shock as Cadbury claims ownership of colour purple

Brands are the glue between consumers and products. This is particularly so with Cadbury’s purple. You can be rushing down the confectionary aisle of a supermarket and know exactly where to stop for Cadbury – it’s the purple section, particularly if you are looking for block chocolate. It took Cadbury almost a decade to get its purple shade registered … Let’s take a look at how trade mark registration works in Australia and how colours, shapes, sounds and even smells can be protected. Sharon Givoni comments in an article written in The Australian. Read more...


Cats do love the colour purple

What do consumer’s think when they see a row of overwhelmingly purple packaging on the cat food section of supermarket shelves? According to the Federal Court, the answer is WHISKAS! You might want to register a colour trade mark yourself for retail use but the question is have you legally done what you need to do to actually get registration? Read more…


Exaggerating the Truth or Misleading : A Legal Perspective

This artilce was specifically written for the real estate industry and looks at terms such as “for illustration purposes only” and use of images that may be considered misleading … You may be surprised. Read more…


COPYRIGHT
COPYRIGHT AND WRONG?
Copyright or Wrong? You work it out with this short introduction to the rules, by Sharon Givoni*.
Content on the internet is not ‘public domain’ and intellectual property rights exist in the technological age. Potentially serious consequences exist when it comes to using and appropriating content found online without permission.
In this blog post, Intellectual Property lawyer Sharon Givoni explains that you can’t be relaxed about the law when posting on the internet.
Read more...


Lifting the blinds on copyright law
With so much product imagery now easily accessible via the internet, intellectual property lawyer Sharon Givoni analyses the potential copyright pitfalls for window furnishings businesses, and offers practical solutions. Read more...
Please then say that the article has been kindly reproduced with the permission Window Furnishings Australia magazine (WFA)



ENTERTAINMENT LAW
How to protect your movie and film titles
If you are in the entertainment industry, you would know how much effort it takes to think of a catchy title. Once you do, the last thing you want is for someone to copy it. This article provides you with a brief overview as to the best form of protection under Australian law incluing trade marks of course, considering some real life case studies along the way. Read more…



RETAIL & FASHION LAW
Social media trade promotions – tips and traps
Online promotions and competitions can be an effective way to boost exposure to your brand and engage with your target market. When it comes to the area of window furnishings, this principle equally applies.

You may want to run a competition like:
• “Caption this photo for a chance to win”
• “Tell us in 50 words or less why…”
• “Like, comment or share this to be in the draw for …”

But there is a catch – what many people do not realise is that these sorts of promotions are regulated by strict trade promotion lotteries laws, as well as the specific rules of the social media platform. Read on...


Lessons From The UGG Boot: Why Protecting Your (Global) Brand Is Paramount

A little-known fact that most business owners aren’t aware of is that just because a word is a cultural icon, this does not mean they are free for public use as a trade mark. In Australia alone, there have been many cases of iconic words or sayings that have been registered as trade marks, which prevents other traders from using them for their brand. This article looks at the specific case of UGG boots and the trade mark battles that have waged around such a simple word. It also considers the importance of overseas trade mark protection to prevent matters from getting UGG-ly. Read more...
With thanks to B&T Magazine for allowing us to republish this article on the website.


Unpicking the Threads

Textile companies or designers may be surprised to learn that, if you apply a three-dimensional element to your fabric, such as an embroidered or woven element, you could lose the benefit of copyright protection altogether. This article canvasses copyright and designs in the context of textiles. Read more...
Kindly reposted with the permission of ATF Magazine.


Print & Pattern Protection

In the fashion industry and while the basic rule to remember is simply “do not copy”, what will amount to copying in any given situation can vary on the case.” This article explores the topic in light of some recent cases on point looking at Seafolly and Cotton On case studies by way of example. Read more...
Kindly reposted with the permission of ATF Magazine.


Textile Designers, Copyright & the Internet: Unravelling some common myths

For textile designers and businesses that sell fabrics, the internet can open many doors. The downside however is that this can expose you to an increased risk of being copied. This article provides tips about copyright on the internet and dispels a few common myths in the process). For more about the case read on...


Protecting stripes as trade marks? Adidas did...

Creating a signature style for your clothing or footwear ranges can set you aside from the competition and even something as a few stripes on a shoe, if consistently used, can over time become a recognisable brand. If a competitor copies a distinctive visual element of your brand, your trade mark registration (if you have one) may come to the rescue, as it recently did for sportswear giant, Adidas AG (Adidas) in its successful law suit against its competitor, Pacific Brands Limited (Pacific Brands). For more about the case read on...
Kindly reposted with the permission of ATF Magazine.


SMILING FOR THE CAMERA!

Models, whether professionals or just ordinary people are used all the time in the fashion world. But do they actually own their image? And, if not, what sort of consents do you need under Australian law in order to use their image for the purposes you need to in your business? In this article Sharon Givoni canvases contract law, model releases, consents, copyright considerations and looks and what can go wrong if you do not get it right….Kindly reposted with the permission of ATF Magazine. Read more...


Celebrity Endorsement - Navigating the Minefield

Using images, names or likenesses of the rich and famous for promotional purposes whether in fashion or otherwise, can undoubtedly create a powerful endorsement of your brand… as long as you’re aware of the risks and traps to avoid. This article looks at this issue taking into account the Rihanna t-shirt case that went to court when Top Shop used her image on a tank without getting her permission first. Kindly reposted with the permission of ATF Magazine. Read more...


The Butterfly Effect

Detailed prints are always going to be popular for dresses, but what happens if a label comes up with a design in-house and then finds the same print used by another garment label? This happened to Australian fashion label Ladakh recently when it discovered Quick Fashion Pty Ltd selling similar patterned dresses under its “Sweetacacia” label. Intellectual property lawyer Sharon Givoni analyses the case and its implications considering trade marks, copyright law and confidentiality agreements along the way.
(Kindly reproduced with the permission of Boston Publishing) Read more...


Sharon Givoni Unpacks the Legal Dangers of Social Media for Fashion Labels

Fashion designers love getting ideas from all sorts of influences but what happens if you think that someone has gone too far and copied your designs? The Seafolly case decided in late 2012, shows that if you air your thoughts on Facebook and social media this can be very damaging and you could be taking big risks.. read on … (this article was first published in ATF (www.atf.com)… Read more...


Protecting textile patterns and designs

If you design or manufacture patterned textiles or fabrics, you need to be careful not to copy other people’s textile designs and find yourself entangled in legal issues. This article talks about copyright and trade mark protection of patterns, trade marks and designs in textiles (including David Jones, Louis Vuitton and Levis). Then followed article appeared in ATF Australian Textiles and Fashion Magazine (see www.atfmag.com) Read more...


Would the real Zara please stand up?

Many textile and fashion designers use, or incorporate their own name into their brands. Take Zara, Davenport, Elle McPherson and Collette Dinnigan to name a few. The more unique the fashion label is, usually the safer you are from “copycats”. However, legal battles can arise if two designers use similar names. Read on to learn more. Note the followed article appeared in ATF Australian Textiles and Fashion Magazine (see www.atfmag.com) Read more...


Brand protection for designers

While imitation may well be the greatest form of flattery it is certainly not much fun when it is your garment or brand name that is copied by others. In this article Sharon Givoni covers what makes a strong trade mark from a trade marks perspective, some considerations if you expanding your fashion label internationally and wish to protect your trade mark overseas covering some real life legal case studies along the way (including the TSUBO / TSUBI case) and protecting the red sole of a shoe as a trade mark. Read more…


FOOD LAW
Australian Dairy Foods – A dairy brand by any other name …
Many dairy brands in Australia incorporate people’s names or place names – think Pauls and Peters, Bega and Bulla. But food companies need to think twice before using a name for the first time as a brand as if it is trademarked you could be taking legal risks. Read on to navigate the name game in the food industry…
This article first appeared in the Australian Dairy Foods Magazine Feb March 2013 issue and has been kindly reproduced with their permission. Read more...


Granola

We use phrases all the time and don’t think about the fact that they could be protected as trade marks. Band aid on your finger, hoover the floor, enjoy a burgundy, lets go rollerblading, bring the Esky and so on. However remember that even your own brand name could become generic one day if you are not careful and it is good to be conscious of how to use a trade mark even once you have it registered so that this does not happen. The recent legal battle concerning the GRANOLA cereal is a reminder that we should be conscious of how we use our brand names... Read more...


Branding law: Milked to the Max

Long gone are the good old days where milk is delivered by horse and cart in unbranded foil top bottles. Today we have brands – and lots of them. Given that brands are the main differentiating feature of fast moving, low involvement products such as food, this article looks at how best to legally protect them and what you can protect as registered trade marks. Read more…


How far can you take creative claims?

Praising your food products is one thing… but there can be a fine line between exaggeration and contravening the law. The old Trade Practices Act and new Competition and Consumer Act 2010 lay down very strict rules on what claims you can legally make. This article looks at real life case studies covering descriptors such as: “locally produced”, “natural”, “real fruit”, “cheesecake” and “cream cheese”,. Read more…


Courts deny Nestle

Aldi’s 2-stick version of “Kit Kat” is called “Double Time”. Read about how Aldi successfully opposed Kit Kat’s accepted trade mark application for the four-bar “snappable” product shape for a chocolate wafter bar. It was decided that the shape was convenient to make the chocolate “snappable” and without the words KIT KAT on it – not registrable. Trade mark oppositions are common in trade mark law. Read more...


Food&Drink Business Magazine - Courts Deny Nestle

This article looks at the way Nestle tried to register its four bar chocolate shape as a trade mark and what the trade mark office said when Aldi (which produces its own two bar wafer chocolate called Time Out). Read more…


'Legal' Battle of the Buldge

In this article Sharon Givoni considers whether food companies may one day need to place “fat warnings” on their packaging and some overseas cases where people literally took “fat to court”. Today, with all the health and nutrition information required on packaging, health warnings are probably unlikely. Read more…


Ensuring your Soft Drink Brands Sparkle not Fizzle

This article examines some dos and don’ts when it comes to trade mark protection for beverages considering real life cases concerning brands such as “Cranberry Classic”, “Crantasitc”, “Ruby’s Red”, the “NES” family of Nestle trade marks and Boost juice marks. Read more…


Ensuring Sweet Success with your Brand

In the area of confectionery a trade mark plays a crucial role. This article goes through useful tips you need to know to protect your brand with a whole list of useful tips at the end. Read more…


The Case of the Branded Banana - A Red Hot Tip for Marketing your Product

Many people don’t know that the red wax tip of specially grown bananas is actually a registered trade mark owned by two Queensland based farmers. No one else can use it but them. One of the things that really help you to get a trade mark registration is to market the product by reference to the trade mark so that consumers understand that it denotes your mark. In this case, the banana website of Eco Pacific Bananas actually tells people to “Look for the red wax tip”. Have a think about how you are marketing your brand. Read more…


The Sensory Theatre of Food Retailing

If you love chocolate then this article is for you. It considers how retail outlets such as the chocolate café Max Brenner and Koko Black allure consumers into their store with way more than chocolate. Sounds, smells and images all assist and some of these can also be protected as registered trade marks. Read more…


INTERNET LAW
Social Media - Trade Promotions Tips & Tricks
Online promotions and competitions can be an effective way to boost exposure to your brand and engage with your target market. You may want to run a competition like:
• “Caption this photo for a chance to win”
• “Tell us in 50 words or less why …”
• “Like, comment or share this to be in the draw for …”
Many people do not realise that these sorts of promotions are regulated by trade promotion lotteries laws, as well as the specific rules of the social
media platform. This article looks into these laws. Read more...


Website terms and conditions - what you need to know

This article considers the legalities of website terms and conditions of websites including consumer laws, warranties, privacy policies and disclaimers. It also considers clauses covering payment methods, delivery of goods and intellectual property clauses that address social media. Read more...

The dangers of airing your opinions on social media - Seafolly Pty Ltd v Madden1 and Nextra Australia Pty Limited v Fletcher

The internet is a great tool for businesses but with it comes risks. In particular, there are dangers of airing your opinions on social media as two recent court cases in Australia show. Businesses using social media channels like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have a responsibility to ensure content on their pages is accurate, irrespective of who put it there. If you discover an employee has been making disparaging comments about a competitor on their personal social media page or blog, you could actually be liable. For this reason, having social media policies in place is highly recommended as well as remind staff that they exist. Copyright can also come into play if you or your staff take images from another source and use it on your own website or Facebook account. Read on to find out more on this increasingly relevant topic. Read more...
This article was originally published in (2014) 18(7) In-house Counsel 102, a newsletter published by LexisNexis.


Copyright and the internet – busting some myths

In Cyberspace, once your illustrations are posted online you lose a certain
degree of control. As a lawyer, I often see the same issues arise. For example people ask about the ten per cent rule and also whether if they post a copy of their drawing to themselves they are protected. Misconceptions about the use of the © symbol and whether you can register copyright Australia are also rife. The other one is just because you pay for something you own the copyright in it (which in reality is often not the case). This article explores these issues. Read more...
This article has been kindly reproduced on this website with the permission of Illustrator’s Australia magazine


Unauthorised Photographs on the Internet

There is no blanket law specifically stopping you from photographing others without their consent. However, specific laws may apply to the situation depending on the context. Read more…


PACKAGING
Signed, sealed, delivered
Do you know your rights and responsibilities when it comes to contract law? Intellectual property lawyer Sharon Givoni outlines five different types of contracts packaging professionals need to know about. Read more...


Maltesers goes to court over its malt balls packaging trade mark
Chocolate trade mark case brings no sweet success to Mars in a legal battle involving Maltesers and chocolate “Malt Balls”. The court held that although the packaging of both pictured floating malt balls, Maltesers were so famous in their own right that there was passing off or misleading conduct as no consumer confusion arose. Read more…


Maltesers take on Malt Balls over their packaging

Chocolate trade mark case brings no sweet success to Mars in a legal battle involving Maltesers and chocolate “Malt Balls”. The court held that although the packaging of both pictured floating malt balls, Maltesers were so famous in their own right that there was passing off or misleading conduct as no consumer confusion arose. Read more…


Food&Drink Business Magazine - Can you replecate overseas products

Many clients ask if they can just simply copy a product and brand from overseas. The answer is not clear cut and depends on the facts including if the overseas mark has been used in Australia as a trade mark. Read more…


Green Marketing Legal Boundries

Phrases such as “Nature’s friend”, green packaging and recycling symbols are often used to show that a product is green. However there are some traps to avoid under the law when doing this. If you claim that your product is “legally” environmentally friendly you should read this article. Read more…

PHOTOGRAPHY
Street and Photography
Intellectual property lawyer, Sharon Givoni works with professional photographers. While many of her cases involve the photographer taking legal action, they can also easily find themselves as the defendant. One example is when photographing street art. Sometimes copyright law can prevent you from taking photos of street art if the effect of this means that you reproduce the art and if you have not obtained permission. The risks are often heightened if the use is for commercial purposes. Let’s take a look at the issues in detail and some case studies on point. Read more...


Taking Photographs In Public - Zooming In On The Legals

When you can take photographs in public? What are the copyright issues? Actually the answer is not as straightforward as you may think as Sharon Givoni, Melbourne Based, Intellectual property and copyright lawyer explains. Read on to get a low down on the issues.
Read more...


Photography and the Law (Part 1)

Is it legal to photograph someone in a public place without their
permission? This article addresses some common misconceptions and looks at copyright, model releases and legal consent when it comes to taking pictures of people and using them in all sorts of contexts.
This article was first published in Australian Photography + digital magazine (August 2103) and has been reproduced on this site with its kind permission. Read more...


Shooting in Public Places (Part 2)

While there is a popular conception that is a free world and you can freely photograph anything so long as you are in a public place in Australia, this is far from the reality. In this article, Sharon Givoni explains some of the legal limitations when taking photos in public places taking into account matters such as rules of each place, by laws, the need for permission and copyright issues.
This article was first published in Australian Photography + digital magazine (August 2103) and has been reproduced on this site with its kind permission.
Read more...


Good Enough to Eat

Food photography often makes food look delicious. But did you know they use motor oil and super glue to achieve those affects? Moreover there is also the question of to what extent the law allows you to meddle with food and present is as the “real thing”. Read more…


PROTECTING IDEAS
Avoid having your ideas ripped off: Be proactive not reactive
Imagine that you have designed a new fabric pattern. You are getting ready to release it to the market. You know it will be a great seller and need to take steps to ensure it is not copied by a competitor. Understanding how intellectual property laws in this area work is critical for you to get a market edge. You can use Australia’s copyright, patent and design laws to your advantage - if you do not apply for patents or designs before you release them you could lose your chance to protect them legally. Read this article which explains what fits in where. Read more...
Published with the kind permission of Boston Publishing: www.wfaus.com.au

Farmers see red over purple wax tit - How far one woman went
Red wax tip bananas are said to be tastier but another thing about them that many people don’t know is that the Queensland-based husband and wife farmers that produce them have protected the red wax tip as registered trade mark… this enables them to stop others from stealing their brand”. Read on to see what happened in a recent case...
Please note that this article was first published in Working Women Magazine and reproduced here with the permission of Womens Network Australia - www.womensnetwork.com.au


Protecting What's Special

Most of us will have great business ideas from time to time. The challenge is how you can stop others from using them and slavishly copying them …. This article considers the law of confidential information and how you can protect that in Australia. It also considers the importance of registering unique trade marks and how you can actually own copyright even if you commissioned the work from a third party and covers what copyright actually protects. There is a useful case study at the end covering a Women’s Network Australia trade marks. Read more…


STREET ART
When the wet paint is protected by copyright
Sharon Givoni has recently authored an article on Street Art and Copyright for Lexis Nexis's Inhouse Counsel newsletter. In this article, Sharon considered the legality surrounding the creation of street art and how copyright subsist in it. She has explored questions such as how does copyright regime apply to street art and should illegal street art enjoy copyright protection and what if businesses want to feature street art in their promotional work. Read more...


Inspiration vs Perspriration - The Basics of Copyright with Sharon Givoni

Copyright protection springs to life once a work is created and reduced to some sort of tangible form. In Australia, you are not required to register it nor do you have to use the “©” symbol to be protected. It protects a range of works such as performances, paintings, photographs, sound recordings, works of artistic craftsmanship (such as pottery), motion pictures and computer programs and even buildings. To read more click here...


Legally Speaking: Street Art (Part 1)

Street art has gained credibility as a legitimate way for artists to communicate their works to the public outside of the
confines of the mainstream art world. However, as it has increased in popularity, so has copying. Sometimes businesses forget (or do not realise) that street art - just like any other art - is protected under copyright law. Sharon Givoni investigates. Read more...


Legally Speaking: Street Art (Part 2)

Did you know that you could infringe copyright in a painting if it features in the background of a photograph which is used for commercial purposes? Yes, true. The same applies to street art and even graffiti. If you reproduce an image of it in a book, newspaper, magazine or online that could actually breach the artists’ copyright (whether the street art was painted legally or not). For this reason, it is best to seek permission first (or even a licence). Let’s explore this further. Read more...


Street Art: Another Brick in the Copyright Wall

Street art is colourful, raw, witty and thought-provoking and increasingly becoming a potential source of income for artists and anyone talented under the hand of a brush (or spray can!). However, street art is protected under copyright law just like all other art and moral rights and other laws may also impact on what “legitimate” street artists can and can’t do but also what happens if someone uses their own street art in unscrupulous ways or for commercial exploitation for example on a canvas or t-shirt. Read on to get a good snapshot of this area. Read more…
Source: Illustrator’s Australia magazine

 
 
Client Training
Sharon has devised and trained numerous companies and graphic design agencies in compliance and intellectual property, consumer protection and labelling laws.

 In doing so, she offers tailored training packages including interactive power point presentations with case studies individually tailored to the needs of each client including legal checklists which they can apply and integrate into their daily business practices.

If your organisation is interested in inviting Sharon as a guest speaker in the area of intellectual property law on topics relating to copyright, labelling, branding, trade marks and related matters please contact us.