Fri 12 2016

PINK LADY in Chile: Australian industry wins trade mark case on appeal

Apple and Pear Australia Limited (APAL), the owner of well-known PINK LADY trade marks in over 80 countries, has been successful in its appeal to the Court of Appeal of Victoria against Pink Lady America, LLC (PLA) regarding rights over PINK LADY trade marks in Chile.

Background

While the matter concerned valuable trade marks which are registered in Chile, it was essentially a contractual dispute concerning the scope of rights granted under a trade mark licence. The licence, being a contract between APAL and PLA, a company incorporated under the laws of Washington State, in The United States, was governed by the laws of the State of Victoria, Australia. The appeal has relevance not only for the construction and implication of terms for trade mark licences but also, more generally, commercial contracts.

The PINK LADY trade mark was first used in connection with the Cripps Pink apple variety. The Cripps Pink variety was bred by John Cripps at the Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia (DAFWA) in the 1970s, by crossing the Golden Delicious and Lady William apple varieties.

APAL is a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee and the peak industry representative body for Australian commercial apple and pear growers. APAL has commercialised the PINK LADY trade marks in various overseas markets since the early 1990s when it acquired a number of registrations from DAFWA. APAL licenses the use of its marks to a network of exporters and importers around the world. In particular, APAL licenses the use of the following mark in respect of specific apple varieties (Flowing Heart Mark):

PINK LADY -Flowing Heart Mark
PINK LADY – Flowing Heart Mark

Brandt’s Fruit Trees Inc (BFT), a company incorporated under the laws of Washington State, is the owner of certain PINK LADY trade mark registrations in the United States and Mexico and has licensed PLA to use and manage those trade marks.

APAL, BFT and PLA were some of the parties to an agreement between members of the International Pink Lady Alliance (IPLA). In essence, the IPLA provided a forum whereby PINK LADY rights holders and licensees met regularly to discuss matters relating to the commercialisation of the PINK LADY marks, marketing strategies.

In late 2006 to early 2008, PLA filed three applications to register trade marks relating to PINK LADY, in Chile. One of the marks was the following device mark (Kangaroo Device Mark), and in relation to ‘fresh fruit’:

PINK LADY - Kangaroo Device Mark
PINK LADY – Kangaroo Device Mark

APAL opposed the registration of these marks. As a means to resolve the tensions, APAL and PLA entered into an option deed in or around June 2007. In essence, the option deed provided a mechanism for PLA to transfer the PINK LADY marks (including the Kangaroo Device Mark) which it had filed in Chile to APAL in exchange for APAL withdrawing the oppositions and APAL granting a licence to PLA. The licence conferred rights to PLA in respect of exports from Chile to the United States, Mexico and Canada over apples of the Cripps Pink variety. The licence was subsequently varied to extend to the Rosy Glow variety by deed of variation.

The proper scope and construction of this licence, and the option deed more generally, was at the heart of the appeal.

Key terms of the option deed included:

  • Clause 5.1, which relevantly provided that:

‘…APAL will hereby grant to PLA an exclusive licence to use the Trade Marks with respect to all trade in Products between the Territory (Chile) and North America (The United States, Canada and Mexico). This licence will be royalty free, and will last in perpetuity subject only to the quality control provisions contained therein..’

  • Clause 1.1, which defined the term ‘Trade Marks’ as meaning ‘the pending trade marks as set out in Schedule 1’.
  • Schedule 1, which set out the three pending trade marks which were filed by PLA in 2007 and 2008:
Trade Mark Application No. Class of Goods and Services Image
PINK LADY 770.217 16 (image not available)

CHILE PINK

 

760.964 31

(image not available)

 

FLOWING HEART logo 753.414 31 FLOWING HEART logo
  • Clause 6.4, which set out certain mutual obligations of the parties:

‘6.4 Mutual Obligations of Parties

Both APAL and PLA undertake:

….

(b) not to do, or assist any other person to do, any act which would or might:

(i) invalidate or put in dispute PLA’s or APAL’s title to the Trade Marks

(ii) invalidate, or render unenforceable, any registration of the Trade Marks in due course or

(iii) support an application to remove the Trade Marks as registered Trade Marks in the Territory

(c) not to oppose or cancel, or assist any other person to oppose or cancel, any application for registration, or issued registration of the Trade Marks and

(d) not to use a substantially identical or deceptively similar mark to the Trade Marks in the Territory without the written authorisation of APAL after the date of the assignment.

Subsequent to the negotiation and finalisation of the option deed, APAL and PLA negotiated and entered into a ‘joint export licence’ with respect to the Chile market. This licence was developed as the means for APAL and PLA to conduct their commercial activities with apple exporters in Chile by using a single document, in replacement of the separate licences they had been previously issuing. This licence was issued and used in 2008 to 2011.

In 2008, the transfer from PLA to APAL of the three pending PINK LADY trade marks was effected. APAL prosecuted each pending mark in its own name so that registrations were first issued to APAL, in APAL’s name.

In 2008, the members of the IPLA (which included APAL, BFT and PLA) resolved to adopt a new logo to replace the Kangaroo Device Mark. By 2010, the Kangaroo Device Mark was no longer being used by the members of the IPLA and its replacement, the Flowing Heart Mark, was being used, including in relation to exports of apples from Chile under each joint export licence from 2010.

In or around 2012, tensions arose between APAL and PLA.

The following events transpired:

  • APAL and PLA each ceased issuing the ‘joint export licence’ in respect of exports from Chile.
  • On or about 7 December 2012, APAL filed an application to register the Flowing Heart Mark in Chile.
  • PLA filed an opposition to APAL’s application in March 2013.
  • In May 2013, APAL issued a single export licence from Chile to markets which included Canada and which referred to both the Flowing Heart Mark and the Kangaroo Device Mark.
  • In September 2013, PLA also filed its own applications to register a number of trade marks, including the Flowing Heart Mark, in Chile.
  • By letter dated 1 April 2014 to the Chilean apple export industry, PLA published the following statement:

‘Few people know that Pink Lady America was the original owner of the first successful Pink Lady trademark registration in Chile. Since 2007, Pink Lady America had an agreement with APAL allowing APAL to administer the Pink Lady Brand in Chile, subject to certain requirements. APAL did not honour that agreement, and so starting in 2014 Pink Lady America has taken back control of the Pink Lady Brand in Chile.’

Supreme Court decision

APAL commenced proceedings in the Supreme Court of Victoria on 7 April 2014, seeking declaratory relief, injunctive relief to the extent necessary, damages and costs. PLA put on a defence and counterclaim. The parties came before Croft J for trial in August and September 2015.

In essence, APAL’s position was that the licence under the option deed was narrow in scope and encompassed only the specific trade marks which were initially filed by PLA and subsequently assigned to APAL in or around 2008, including the Kangaroo Device Mark. In particular, APAL contended that the Flowing Heart Mark was not licensed to PLA under this licence.

APAL alleged that PLA’s conduct described above was in breach of clause 6.1 and 6.4 of the option deed and was repudiatory.

PLA did not deny engaging in the conduct, but rather it denied that the conduct constituted breaches of the proper construction of the option deed. PLA instead alleged that APAL’s conduct described above breached the licence with the consequence that PLA was entitled to own the marks.

In essence, PLA’s position was that the scope of the licence was broader. PLA asserted that, on a proper construction of the licence, its scope included the Flowing Heart Mark. In the alternative, PLA argued that PLA and APAL had, in 2012, varied the scope of the licence under the option deed so that it also included the more modern Flowing Heart Mark.

PLA’s position was that the variation to the option deed occurred at the time, and as a consequence of, the resolution by the IPLA members to replace the Kangaroo Device Mark with the Flowing Heart Mark.

PLA also asserted that it was entitled to claim ownership of the various PINK LADY trade marks which were registered in APAL’s name in Chile as the option deed contained an implied term that it was entitled to do so APAL if denied PLA the full benefit of the licence.

At trial, key findings were:

  • On a proper construction of the option deed, the exclusive licence from APAL to PLA to use ‘the Trade Marks’ was not restricted to the three trade marks listed in Schedule 1 to the option deed and instead extended to any ‘future refreshed marks’ (which included the more modern Flowing Heart Mark and any other ‘refreshed’ marks resolved by the IPLA from time to time).
  • His Honour’s reasoning stemmed from a consideration of the surrounding circumstances and background to the formation of the option deed, including the context of the parties’ dealings and the IPLA operating agreement.
  • His Honour found that, unless the definition of ‘Trade Marks’ extended to any ‘future refreshed marks’ (ie marks beyond those listed in Schedule 1) the licence would quickly become worthless to PLA. As such, APAL’s proposed construction – that the definition of ‘Trade Marks’ was limited to the three marks specified in Schedule 1 – led to an ‘absurd’ result.
  • This was because, by virtue of the IPLA resolution, by 2010, the international trade of PINK LADY branded apples was moving from marks such as the Kangaroo Device Mark (with geographic indicia, such as a kangaroo) to the more modern Flowing Heart Mark and that, by 2012, almost all exports of PINK LADY branded apples to North America from Chile were using the more modern Flowing Heart Mark.
  • As a consequence of this construction, APAL was found to have breached the option deed.
  • Moreover, as a consequence, APAL was ordered to ‘re-assign’ the trade marks registered to APAL in Chile to PLA (as well as the recently filed pending Flowing Heart Mark in APAL’s name) as there was an implied term of the option deed that, should APAL deny to PLA the full benefit of the licence, APAL was obliged to reassign the trade marks to PLA.
  • Because APAL’s own conduct was in breach of the option deed, APAL’s case that PLA had breached the option deed could not be made out. This was because, on APAL’s breach, PLA became entitled to a ‘re-assignment’ of the trade marks and could, therefore, exercise the rights of the owner, to the exclusion of APAL.

Court of Appeal decision

APAL appealed to the Court of Appeal.

The appeal concerned two key issues, being:

  • the proper construction and scope of the trade mark licence in the option deed; and
  • the consequences of APAL breaching the licence.

APAL’s appeal was successful.

The key findings by the Court of Appeal included (per Justice of Appeal Tate, with whom Justice Ferguson and Justice McLeish agreed):

  • On a proper construction of the terms of the licence within the option deed, its scope was limited to the three trade marks specified in Schedule 1 of the option deed.
  • There was no relevant ambiguity in respect of the terms of the option deed to permit any other finding. Amongst other things, the Court of Appeal found that the definition of ‘Trade Marks’, and the terms of the option deed more generally, were unambiguous and clear. As a consequence, surrounding circumstances could not be used as an aide to construing the meaning of those terms.
  • Even if a relevant ambiguity could be identified (or was unnecessary) to permit using surrounding circumstances, they did not support the broader construction which was found by the trial judge.
  • This is because the factual circumstances surrounding the execution of the option deed revealed that its object and purpose was to resolve tensions surrounding the filing of three pending trade mark applications in Chile by PLA, including in circumstances where APAL opposed those applications. As a consequence, both parties benefitted from entering in the option deed.
  • Moreover, a strictly legal, or literal, interpretation of the option deed led neither to an absurdity or futility. The Court of Appeal found that the strict legal interpretation of the licence meant that PLA could enjoy the benefits of the three specific marks until at least 2009 (following which PLA was not permitted to use those marks through its membership of the IPLA) and this was not a nominal’ period of time. Furthermore, PLA would no longer have been prohibited from using those specific marks if it left IPLA (as it did so in June 2010). These benefits would have existed in perpetuity.
  • It followed that PLA had, in filing applications to register its own PINK LADY marks in Chile, opposing APAL’s application of the Flowing Heart Logo in Chile and representing that it was the owner of the PINK LADY trade marks in Chile, evinced a clear intention to no longer be bound by the licence or the option deed as a whole and therefore had repudiated the deed.
  • It followed that APAL was entitled to accept the repudiation (as it did) and terminate the option deed.
  • Moreover, while the issue as to whether APAL had an obligation to ‘re-assign’ the PINK LADY marks to PLA on a breach by APAL was moot given that the Court of Appeal found that APAL was not in breach, it was observed that no such obligation would have existed, in any event.
  • There was no such implied term for various reasons. Fundamentally, the Court of Appeal found that such a term was contradictory to the express terms which granted PLA a ‘perpetual’ exclusive licence. The court also found that such a term was not necessary as PLA could have sought specific performance or an injunction to compel APAL to honour the terms of the licence if APAL had breached that licence.

Comment

This decision highlights the complex legal considerations which apply to the construction of commercial contracts. In particular, the decision highlights when it is, and when it is not, permissible to rely on material which is external to a commercial contract in order to assist with its construction.

Notably, all three Court of Appeal judges cited the following passage by Chief Justice French, Justice Nettle and Justice Gordon from the recent High Court decision in Mount Bruce Mining Pty Ltd v Wright Prospecting Pty Ltd:1

‘Ordinarily, this process of construction is possible by reference to the contract alone. Indeed, if an expression in a contract is unambiguous or susceptible of only one meaning, evidence of surrounding circumstances (events, circumstances and things external to the contract) cannot be adduced to contradict its plain meaning’.

The Court of Appeal unanimously concluded that the terms of the option deed were unambiguous and clear, and so reliance on external material as an aid to construction in this instance was not permissible.

In doing so, the Court of Appeal noted that the requirement that a relevant ambiguity be present (also referred to as the ‘gateway requirement’)2 in order to permit evidence of events, circumstances and things external to the contract as an aid to its construction, remains binding authority.3

Ferguson and McLeish JA noted that the authorities are not settled as to whether or not evidence of matters external to the contract may be called in aid to establish an ambiguity. However, they also found that it was not necessary to decide this issue in this instance as the external material on which PLA sought to rely ‘did not suggest a construction contrary to the plain meaning of the option deed as ascertained without reference to that material’ and ‘nor [did] it suggest any commercial nonsense or inconvenience so as to cast doubt on that plain meaning’.4

Hall & Wilcox represented APAL in these matters.


1(2015) 256 CLR 104.
2Technomin Australia Pty Ltd v Xstrata Nickel Australasia Operations Pty Ltd (2014) 48 WAR 261 at 270 [39].
3This is the ‘true rule’ of contract construction, as stated by Mason J in Codelfa Construction Pty Ltd v State Rail Authority (NSW) (1982) 149 CLR 337, 352.
4[231] -[ 232]

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With more than 20 years of legal experience, Vicky specialises in representing clients in a wide range of commercial disputes across Australia...

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Jim has over 10 years’ experience providing taxation advice on a broad range of corporate and trust tax matters, with a particular focus on the banking and finance, government and property and construction sectors.

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Kristopher advises on all aspects of migration to Australia, with particular emphasis on employment-related migration...

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Emily specialises in property and leasing law, acting for a variety of clients in property, real estate and leasing transactions...

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Amber is an experienced insurance litigator who helps insurers resolve CTP claims involving complex liability issues, catastrophic injuries, multi-defendant issues and detailed quantum assessments as well as compensation to relative claims.

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Scott advises on a wide variety of corporate and commercial disputes and insolvency matters. His clients include those in a range of industry sectors, including insolvency practitioners, energy and resources, commercial property, financial services and intellectual property and technology.

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Carl is an experienced insurance litigator who helps insurers resolve CTP and major claims involving complex liability issues, dual insurance, detailed quantum assessments and fraud...

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Rachel has over 15 years of experience advising on tax law and specialises in stamp duties, land tax and other tax issues in all Australian states and territories.

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Katherine is a commercial litigation specialist with a focus on insolvency, contract litigation, construction disputes and the Personal Property Securities Act 2009 (PPSA).

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Elisabeth advises her clients on commercial litigation, international arbitration, corporate insolvency, claims arising from contraventions of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth), financial product disputes, tax litigation, business crime and fraud.

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Since arriving in Australia Albert has worked on various types of commercial disputes, for a range of clients including the Greater Building Society, Newcastle Airport, Port Stephens Council and various engineering companies based in Newcastle and the Hunter Valley.

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Vanessa has worked in the area of insurance law, with a specific focus on workers compensation and personal injury insurance litigation since beginning her career as a paralegal in 1996...

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Mark has more than 16 years’ experience in advising on construction and infrastructure projects. He has acted for public and private organisations on social infrastructure projects including housing, schools, hospitals, primary care facilities and specialist disability care homes.

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Louise has provided advice in personal injuries law for over 20 years, to both plaintiffs and defendants...

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Graeme has a broad practice in commercial dispute resolution, conducting small to complex litigation in the Supreme and Federal Courts, and mediation.

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Megan specialises in corporate litigation, bankruptcy and insolvency, shareholder disputes, partnership disputes, contractual disputes, breach of confidence and restraint of trade, banking matters, and Australian Consumer Law.

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Rebecca has been working in the legal profession since 1998. Her practice has focussed on insurance litigation, predominantly workers’ compensation claims.

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Tanya is an insurance specialist and an Accredited Specialist in personal injury.  For close to 20 years, she has worked with insurers and self-insured corporations to resolve CTP and public liability claims, including major claims.

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Conrad has a broad range of commercial experience, particularly in the areas of mergers and acquisitions, restructures and business succession, insolvency, and Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) compliance.

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Bettina is a highly experienced insurance lawyer who defends claims on behalf of domestic and international insurers and corporations...

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Sean has practised in insurance litigation since 1992, acting on behalf of defendant insurers and self insured across the CTP, workers compensation and public liability regimes...

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Chris has 20 years of experience in health and medical law, delivering solutions to clients in the insurance and health sectors...

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Jonathon is a Special Counsel in the Sydney Corporate and Commercial team. He has over 15 years’ transactional and advisory experience specialising in mergers and acquisitions, private equity, joint ventures, shareholder arrangements and corporate governance...

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Lauren has over 12 years’ experience, specialising in insurance litigation and practicing in the areas of workers compensation, compulsory third party and public liability claims...

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Anna has 10 years’ experience practising in property and projects. She has particular expertise in managing large volumes of conveyancing work for developers.

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Thomas is an experienced litigation lawyer with knowledge across a diverse range of litigation practice areas...

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Sam’s practice focuses on estate and succession planning...

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Krisha has 19 years’ workers compensation and common law experience with a particular focus on section 151Z indemnity claims.

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Taleen has significant experience in insurance litigation and advice in workers’ compensation and public liability matters in Western Australia and the Northern Territory...

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Amy practices in insurance litigation and personal injury law.

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Marisa’s practice focuses on common law and statutory benefits claims brought pursuant to the Accident Compensation Act 1985 (Vic) and the Workplace Injury Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2013 (Vic).

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Catherine is an experienced insurance lawyer who focuses on public liability and property damage claims.

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Jacinta’s current practice includes direct and indirect taxes, business transactions, corporate restructuring, taxation disputes (including pre-audit, audit and litigation), the not-for-profit sector and trusts.

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James has more than 8 years of experience working across a broad range of general commercial transactions and arrangements, including acting in mergers, acquisitions and restructures and drafting general commercial agreements.

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David is an experienced employment and industrial relations lawyer. He acts for a range of local and global clients across a wide range of industries.

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Glenn is an experienced litigator practicing predominately in commercial litigation with a focus on corporate and personal insolvency...

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Barbara works with insurers on CTP and public liability insurance claims involving sensitive and complex matters, often involving multi-defendant and medical causation issues.

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Jessica’s practice concentrates on personal injury litigation management. Jessica focuses on achieving quality outcomes for her clients in worker’s compensation matters, including statutory benefits and common law claims under the Accident Compensation Act and the Workplace Injury Rehabilitation and Compensation Act...

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Ben has a broad knowledge across all disciplines of property, planning and construction and currently acts for clients in a wide range of matters in the firm’s Property & Projects practice.

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Elise's practice focuses on common law and statutory benefits claims brought pursuant to the Accident Compensation Act 1985 (Vic) and the Workplace Injury Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2013 (Vic) and common law claims brought pursuant to the Transport Accident Act 1986 (Vic).

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Anthony assists insurers to resolve CTP claims involving complex liability and quantum issues, fraud, catastrophic injuries, nervous shock, multi-defendant matters and administrative law challenges.

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Jane-Elise is an experienced insurance lawyer whose practise focuses on general liability. Her clients include international insurers and large self-insured corporations.

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Adam is an experienced tax lawyer, and advises clients on a range of matters including tax planning and structuring, Division 7A, the small business CGT concessions, corporate restructuring, professional firm structures, trust taxation, the taxation of settlements and cryptocurrency taxation.

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Elizabeth is a commercial litigation lawyer who specialises in corporate and commercial dispute resolution, with a particular focus on contractual disputes, consumer law, corporations and equity, real property disputes and insolvency.

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Jennifer has over 10 years’ experience in the insurance industry and has worked in both private practice and in house defending claims under the Personal Injuries Proceedings Act 2002 and the Workers Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003.

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Natasha acts for a variety of professionals in the defence of professional negligence and other claims arising out of purely economic loss, property damage, defamation, and alleged breaches of the Australian Consumer Law.

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Felicity is an experienced energy and resources and corporate lawyer, who specialises in general corporate and commercial matters, rail, infrastructure and energy and resources...

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Catherine's expertise include compulsory third party (CTP) and public liability claims, including major claims, section 151z recovery matters and defendant insurance litigation.

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Belinda’s practice focuses on the litigation of common law claims brought pursuant to the Transport Accident Act 1986 (Vic) and common law and statutory benefits claims brought pursuant to the Accident Compensation Act 1985 (Vic) and the Workplace Injury Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2013 (Vic).

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Alexandra has experience acting on behalf of and advising both public and private sector clients in a broad range of industries including in the tertiary education, apprenticeship training and retail sectors.

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Sarah is an experienced employment and industrial relations lawyer.  Sarah acts for a range of local and global clients across a wide range of industries in both litigious and non-litigious employment and industrial relations matters.

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Diana specialises in personal injury law and insurance litigation.

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Kate has close to 10 years' experience specialising in succession law including wills, testamentary and discretionary trusts, protective trusts, powers of attorney, appointments of guardian advanced health directives and probate and letters of administration.

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Julian is an experienced senior litigator who has acted in high profile, complex and fiercely contested commercial litigation, public inquiries and investigations on behalf of companies, individuals (including members of parliament) and Government entities...

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Sarah has over 10 years’ experience in workers’ compensation and personal injuries claims. She has worked predominately on workers’ compensation matters in Queensland and more recently in the Western Australian jurisdiction

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Terri is an experienced insurance and litigation lawyer who has defended claims on behalf of domestic and international insurers for a decade...

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Katherine’s practice is predominantly in the area of general commercial dispute resolution and litigation and includes tax litigation and tax audit, contractual disputes, leasing disputes, restraint of trade injunctions, debt recovery, and insolvency and corporations matters.

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George has particular expertise in representing and advising insurers in relation to large scale litigation including class actions, indemnity disputes and insurance fraud claims, as well as public and product liability and professional indemnity claims.

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William specialises in private M&A and general commercial transactions and provides strategic advice on acquisitions, restructures and exits...

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Sheridan specialises in insurance litigation, with particular experience in complex claims and fraud...

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Ben’s practice focuses on common law and statutory benefits claims brought pursuant to the Accident Compensation Act 1985 (Vic) and the Workplace Injury Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2013 (Vic).

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Clare is passionate, practical and results-oriented employment lawyer who takes pride in providing commercially-minded advice, exceptional communication and effective problem-solving skills to all types of employment, industrial and safety issues.

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Jennifer has significant experience in general insurance litigation. Her experience includes public and product liability, property damage and compulsory third party insurance...

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Jamie is an experienced lawyer with her practice focusing primarily on CTP claims, in particular non-meritorious claims.

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Daniella’s practice focuses on common law and statutory benefit claims in all jurisdictions, where she continuously delivers quality results.

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Rachel is a tax lawyer specialising in direct taxes and tax disputes. Rachel’s areas of experience include advising on a variety of domestic and international tax laws...

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Kate has a broad practice, having experience in public and product liability, professional indemnity, fraud and policy interpretation...

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Holly provides advice and acts on behalf of insurers in a variety of CTP claims including advising on complex quantum and liability issues and representing insurers in the Local and District Courts and the Claims Assessment and Resolution Service.

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Mark has a broad range of experience in corporate and commercial practice areas, with a particular focus on the sports and media industries.

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  • Fluent in Chinese

Joey’s practice focuses on property acquisitions and sales, property due diligence, contract negotiations, commercial leasing, and foreign investments.

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Jeanette has over 10 years’ experience working in the Asia-Pacific region. She specialises in advising borrowers and financial institutions on bilateral and syndicated financing, as well as cross-border project financing.

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Tina is experienced in defending public and product liability claims in New South Wales and Queensland on behalf of domestic and international insurers.

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William is an experienced litigator with over 11 years’ experience in both Australia and overseas and currently practices in multiple Australian jurisdictions...

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Stacey has over 6 years’ experience in workers’ compensation law. In addition to her workers’ compensation practice, Stacey has specialised expertise in common law, public liability and asbestos claims.

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David’s practice is predominantly in commercial litigation and insolvency...

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Donna has approximately 20 years’ experience in alternative dispute resolution through her previous roles in the insurance and legal industry...

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Bianca’s commercial dispute resolution and litigation practice extends to include acting for entities and individuals in contractual disputes, high quantum intellectual property disputes, breach of confidence and restraint of trade matters, shareholder oppression claims, partnership disputes, estate disputes and large equitable disputes.

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Nina has 11 years’ broad experience as a commercial lawyer with a specialty in intellectual property and information technology law, and related areas of practice including privacy, data security and competition law.

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Amber has more than 12 years of experience in the legal insurance sphere, and has covered the field, working in State and Federal Government legal practices, private practice and in-house at WorkCover in 2011.

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Hamish is a commercial dispute resolution lawyer. His experience extends to applications for urgent relief, appellate matters and defence of class actions.

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Victoria’s practice focuses on the common law and statutory benefits claims brought pursuant to the Accident Compensation Act 1985 (Vic) and Workplace Injury Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2013 (Vic).

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With over fourteen years’ experience working in the NSW workers compensation area, Jenny is a highly skilled and proficient lawyer who defends statutory and common law workers compensation claims.

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Toniel’s practice focuses on general insurance advice and litigation. She manages complex and varied matters for a number of high profile insurers and private clients.

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Elisa's practice focuses on common law and statutory benefits claims brought pursuant to the Accident Compensation Act 1985 (Vic) and the Workplace Injury Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2014 (Vic).

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Hannah practices in general insurance litigation with a particular focus on claims and risk...

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Rebecca's areas of expertise include the preparation of design and construction documents, and construction dispute advice and litigation...

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Jessica practices in employment and workplace relations law and provides strategic advice to clients across a range of industries.

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Pia is a Senior Associate in the Commercial Dispute Resolution team with experience across general commercial litigation, banking enforcement and insolvency...

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Markus’ practice focuses on statutory benefits claims brought pursuant to the Accident Compensation Act 1985 (Vic) and Workplace Injury Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2013 (Vic).

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Martin specialises in insurance litigation, working with insurers on defending compulsory third party claims...

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Liz's practice focuses on state compensation and liability claims. She has developed particular expertise in identifying and managing complex and technical liability and state compensation claims, considering, analysing and providing commercial advice to both insurers and self-insured employers...

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Lauren specialises in resolving disputes, and works collaboratively with her team and with clients to provide strategic advice and success for the client...

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Kathryn advises and represents clients in a wide range of matters, including general commercial litigation, banking and finance litigation involving mortgages, guarantees and loan agreements, debt recovery and enforcement and corporate insolvency advice.

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Brandon is an experienced insurance litigator specialising in workers’ compensation, medical treatment liability and public liability claims.

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Mitch is an experienced insurance and litigation lawyer who has defended claims on behalf of insurer and private clients as well as state government departments.

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Zoe acts predominately for corporate clients and company directors in cases involving contractual disputes, fraud, corporations and equity matters, competition and consumer law...

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Bridget is an experienced insurance and litigation lawyer who has acted for leading Australian and international insurers and underwriters...

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Shane has a broad commercial and regulatory litigation practice, encompassing investment fund and trustee disputes, banking and company law, financial services, civil and commercial fraud, aviation, construction and infrastructure disputes.

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Belinda is an insurance lawyer with decades of experience over a range of jurisdictions. Belinda is an Accredited Specialist in Personal Injury Law...

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Daisy has extensive experience within the Common Law Workers’ Compensation area. She has also acted in public liability, product liability, medical negligence and CTP cases...

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Ebonie has worked in the area of insurance law since 2011. She has a specific interest in representing employers in workers compensation claims, with her practice encompassing both physical injury and psychological injury claims in both litigated and non-litigated advice matters.

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Melissa is an experienced insurance lawyer who focuses on advising major national insurers on CTP and public liability claims ranging from homeowners to small businesses.

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Dr Wolfgang Babeck has more than 20 years’ experience as a corporate and commercial lawyer and is admitted in New South Wales, England & Wales and as Rechtsanwalt in Germany...

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Sumith Perera

Chief Operating Officer

Sumith is the Chief Operating Officer and the national Head of Corporate Services at Hall & Wilcox. He has over 20 years' experience in leading and managing teams at professional services firms.

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Peter is the Client Solutions Director at Hall & Wilcox where he drives their Smarter Law program and fosters innovation at the firm...

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Dean is the Head of Hall & Wilcox’s Finance team. He has over 15 years’ experience in finance within professional services firms.

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Katie is the Director of People & Culture for Hall & Wilcox. She has over 20 years’ experience in the legal industry.

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Melanie is the national head of Hall & Wilcox’s Business Development, Marketing & Communications team...

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Mike manages the Legal Excellence & Risk team at Hall & Wilcox and is responsible for the firm’s precedents, risk management and general counsel/company secretarial functions.

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Janneke is the operations manager and head of operations nationally at Hall & Wilcox. She has over 15 years’ experience in human resources and project management across a variety of industries, including professional services, IT, banking and utilities...

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Pious is the IT manager and head of IT nationally at Hall & Wilcox. He has over 18 years’ experience as a senior IT executive with a proven track record in legal and government technology management sectors.

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Melinda is the national marketing and communications manager at Hall & Wilcox. She has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist, content creator and marketing communications specialist at professional services firms.

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The first tranche of draft regulations was released for public consultation on 26 March 2007 as part of the Corporations and Financial Services Regulation Review process. Some key issues dealt with in the first round of draft regulations are set out below: Keeping Financial Services Guides and Product Disclosure Statements up to date Where there […]

Thinking | Mon 05 2007

Compensation Arrangements for Financial Services Providers

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