Recent Cases

High Court of Australia

  • Catchwords: Patents – Infringement – Where printer ink cartridges embodied inventions claimed in two patents – Where used cartridges acquired by third party and modified for re-use – Where modified cartridges imported into Australia for sale to public – Where patentee alleged infringement of patent rights – Where s 13(1) of Patents Act 1990 (Cth) provides patentee has exclusive rights to exploit invention – Where “exploit” includes make, hire, sell or otherwise dispose of product and to use it – Whether modifications to cartridges constituted impermissible “making” of new product – Whether doctrine that patentee’s exclusive rights with respect to product are exhausted on first sale (“exhaustion doctrine”) should be accepted – Whether doctrine that implied licence arises on sale of patented goods to purchaser (“implied licence doctrine”) should continue to be applied. Words and phrases – “conditions as to use”, “embodying the claimed invention”, “essential features”, “exclusive statutory rights”, “exhaustion doctrine”, “exhaustion of rights”, “exploit”, “implied licence”, “implied licence doctrine”, “infringement”, “invention”, “make, hire, sell or otherwise dispose of”, “make, use, exercise, and vend”, “making”, “manufacture”, “modifications”, “monopoly”, “monopoly rights”, “patent”, “patent rights”, “personal property”, “product”, “repair”, “re-use”, “single use”, “use”.

  • Catchwords: Real property – Torrens system – Where appellants registered proprietors of land – Where appellants obtained planning approval to subdivide land and build two townhouses – Where present certificate of title for land referred to memorandum of encumbrance which prohibited erection of any buildings other than “a dwellinghouse” and prohibited “multiple dwellings” – Where back‑cover sheet of memorandum of encumbrance had typed statement indicating that encumbrance formed part of common building scheme – Where neither memorandum of encumbrance nor present certificate of title identified other lots benefited by restrictive covenants in memorandum of encumbrance – Where s 69 of Real Property Act 1886 (SA) provided title to land indefeasible subject to encumbrances and interests “notified” on original certificate of title of such land – Whether appellants were notified of restrictive covenants in memorandum of encumbrance in accordance with s 69. Words and phrases – “cancelled certificate of title”, “certificate of title”, “common building scheme”, “encumbrance”, “memorandum of encumbrance”, “notice”, “notified”, “notified on the certificate of title”, “prudent conveyancer”, “purpose of the Torrens system”, “Register Book”, “restrictive covenants”, “search and inspection”, “searches of the Register”, “sufficiently notified”, “title”, “title by registration”, “title of the registered proprietor”, “Torrens system”.

  • Catchwords: Criminal practice – Trial – Directions to jury – Where appellant charged in seven counts with sexual offences allegedly committed against complainant half-sister when she was 13 and 14 years old – Where prosecution case wholly dependent on acceptance of complainant’s evidence – Where appellant did not give or call evidence at trial – Where trial judge directed jury in unexceptional terms with respect to presumption of innocence and onus and standard of proof – Where trial judge later stated that failure of appellant to give sworn evidence “may make it easier” to assess complainant’s credibility (“impugned statement”) – Where neither prosecutor nor defence counsel applied for redirection arising from making of impugned statement – Whether impugned statement occasioned miscarriage of justice because its effect was to invite jury to reason to appellant’s guilt from his exercise of right to silence – Whether influence of impugned statement weakened because it was comment not direction of law – Whether failure of either counsel to seek redirection weighed against conclusion that integrity of trial compromised – Whether impugned statement ambiguous such that there was no reasonable possibility jury would have felt it open to reason impermissibly. Words and phrases – “absence of evidence”, “contradictory instruction”, “directions of law”, “exercise of the right to silence”, “false process of reasoning”, “irregularity”, “judicial observation on the facts”, “miscarriage of justice”, “onus of proof”, “presumption of innocence”, “proviso”, “real chance of acquittal”, “reason to guilt by an impermissible path”, “redirection”, “standard of proof”, “sworn evidence”.

  • Catchwords: High Court – Appellate jurisdiction – Application for special leave to appeal – Abuse of process – Where applicant applied for special leave to appeal – Where applicant previously made application for special leave to appeal – Where previous application for special leave refused – Where substance of subsequent application for special leave substantially identical to substance of previous application for special leave – Where no exceptional circumstances identified in subsequent application explaining failure to raise novel issues in previous application – Whether subsequent application for special leave an abuse of process. Words and phrases – “abuse of process”, “application for special leave to appeal”, “compelling explanation or circumstance”, “exceptional circumstance”, “interlocutory application”, “res judicata”, “same subject matter”, “special leave”.

  • Catchwords: Family law – Property settlements – Where respondent husband made gift to appellant wife of ten per cent interest in residential dwelling (“the property”) – Where respondent subsequently signed transfer of land giving appellant further 40 per cent interest in the property – Where parties registered as joint tenants then executed deed of gift providing for payment to appellant’s siblings if appellant predeceased respondent while they remained joint tenants – Where parties subsequently married then separated after 23 days – Where each party sought orders under s 79(1) of Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) altering interests in property of marriage (“property settlement orders”) – Where appellant did not appear at trial so matter proceeded as undefended hearing – Whether primary judge failed to take existing legal and equitable interests of parties into account for purposes of s 79(1) of Family Law Act – Whether primary judge’s approach to deed of gift amounted to failure to take material consideration into account – Whether open to primary judge to determine that making of property settlement orders was just and equitable – Whether open to primary judge to assess that appellant made ten per cent financial contribution to acquisition of the property – Whether Full Court of the Family Court of Australia erred in refusing to exercise discretion conferred by s 93A(2) of Family Law Act to receive further evidence on appeal. Words and phrases – “affirmation”, “deed of gift”, “demands of justice”, “duress”, “finality”, “financial contribution”, “further evidence on appeal”, “joint tenants”, “just and equitable”, “malpractice”, “pressure”, “property settlement order”, “ratification”, “unconscionable conduct”, “undue influence”, “voidable”.

Full Federal Court

NSW Court of appeal

  • Catchwords: COSTS — Party/Party — General rule that costs follow the event — Discretion – No presumption or default rule as to the basis of the award of costs STATUTORY INTERPRETATION – r 42.2 of Uniform Civil Procedure Rules 2005 (NSW) – whether s 98(1) of Civil Procedure Act 2005 (NSW) confines the judicial discretion in awarding costs – whether a judge must take as a starting point that costs are to be assessed on the ordinary basis and justify any departure from that position

  • Catchwords: PROCEDURE – additional evidence on appeal – fresh and further evidence – requirement that evidence could not have been obtained with reasonable diligence at trial – application in substance refused

  • Catchwords: NEGLIGENCE – duty of care to avoid economic loss – whether vulnerability required – applicants pleaded vulnerability as an essential element of duty – no obligation on primary judge to consider alternatives to that position – no relevant vulnerability due to applicants’ ability to protect themselves from consequences of liquidators’ actions CONSUMER LAW – misleading or deceptive conduct – whether reliance on accuracy of recitals to deed – clear inference from evidence that person knew of true position CONSUMER LAW – misleading or deceptive conduct – whether conduct “in trade or commerce” – court-appointed liquidators performing statutory functions – assignment of property with view to facilitating business interests of purchaser arguably had an essentially trading or commercial character CORPORATIONS – leave to commence action against court-appointed liquidators – governing principles – relevance of lengthy and inadequately explained delay

  • Catchwords: JUDICIAL REVIEW – adjournment – criminal proceedings – review of sentence appeal – applicant on bail – protracted procedural history – requirement for finality in criminal proceedings – claim to have lodged internal appeal from refusal of legal aid – bona fides of attempts to obtain legal representation – circumstances in which court may vacate hearing – Legal Aid Commission Act 1979 (NSW), s 57

  • Catchwords: APPEAL AND REVIEW – District Court – criminal jurisdiction – sentence appeal from Local Court – judicial review of appeal judgment – privative provision – need to establish jurisdictional error – procedural unfairness – refusal of adjournment application in district Court – existence of application for review of refusal of legal aid APPEAL AND REVIEW – District Court – criminal jurisdiction – appeal from Local Court – whether appeal against conviction – form of notice of appeal – Crime (Appeal and Review) Act 2001 (NSW), s 14 APPEAL AND REVIEW – District Court – criminal jurisdiction – sentence appeal from Local Court – procedural unfairness – alleged incompetence of legal representative – failure to obtain psychologist’s report for application under Mental Health (Forensic Provisions) Act 1990 (NSW), s 32 APPEAL AND REVIEW – District Court – criminal jurisdiction – sentence appeal from Local Court – pre-sentence custody – failure to take into account under Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999 (NSW), s 24