William Mulholland + Co Lawyers


We have written a number of articles in the area of brand protection, intellectual property law, business and commercial law.

Please click on the links below to read the full article.

BEST COMMERCIAL LAW FIRM – AUSTRALIA (2016) as awarded by Acquisition International Magazine

Click here to read the article profiling william mulholland + co lawyers as winners in this category for 2016.

“Building brand equity for entities in the events industry is something that any small to medium enterprises (SME) should focus on and most do. Whether your business be in venue management, event management, conference planning or one of the many suppliers to this most dynamic industries – your brand is a key to building and maintaining your business … the need for protecting brand assets, whether your company is large or small, is self-evident …”

“What do Greg Norman, Elle MacPherson, Kylie Minogue, Russell Crowe, Mel Gibson and Jamie Oliver all have in common (apart from being high profile celebrities in their various respective areas of endeavour)? The answer is that they all have trade marks registered in Australia in their own names. The appeal factor that a celebrity can bring to a marketing and advertising campaign underpins a multi-million dollar industry around the globe … Trade marking a celebrity’s name and/or image is one avenue open to celebrities wishing to obtain such control …”

“Today we are hearing more and more terms such as “theft”, “literary larceny”, “open piracy”, and “robbery” in connection with the development, use and ultimate misappropriation of intellectual property (IP) by individuals from enterprises … With IP being central to every modern business enterprise today, whether large or small, across all industry sectors: the issue of IP theft by employees or former staff remains pressing and the question of protecting IP remains as a critical commercial concern …”

HOLY COPYRIGHT & THE DA VINCI CODE – Australian Lawyers Weekly

“The protection of intellectual property rights including copyright has recently received further judicial interpretation if not divine intervention (as the plaintiffs may have hoped for) at the hands of the English High Court … the recent London High Court challenge by the authors of another book, a non-fiction work Holy Blood, Holy Grail (HBHG), written by Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh (“Claimants”) in the case of Baigent & Anor -v- Random House Group Ltd (The Da Vinci Code) [2006] EWHC been successful. These two authors claimed a breach of copyright on the basis that Dan Brown, the author of DVC plagiarised the “architectural edifice of ideas” or the complex structure of their book and put it into DVC …”


“Who exactly controls the rights to a sporting star’s image? With Leo Barry, the Sydney Swans star, recently taking on both Tabcorp and the Australian Football League (AFL) in the Federal Court of Australia for using the photograph of the contested mark of the AFL 2005 Grand Final without his consent (and Tabcorp suing the AFL for telling it that Barry’s consent was not needed); many are left scratching their heads asking if Australia should now be moving to a US styled ‘right of publicity’ approach for celebrities and the use of their image …”

GOTTA LOVE THE DAME The dangers of oral contracts – Australian Lawyers Weekly

“In a recent judgment handed down by the New South Wales Supreme Court by Judge Patricia Bergen in the case of Leading Edge Events Australia Pty Ltd -v- Kiri Te Kanawa & Ors [2007] NSWSC 228 a number of issues have been explored by the Court in relation to the way the entertainment industry conducts itself. Not the least was a consideration by the Court in relation to the question of the formation of a contract given the extensive negotiations and communications that had occurred between the parties. The Court also explored an application for a claim by the Plaintiff on the grounds of restitution based on an equitable estoppel claim for the expenses that it had incurred in relation to the proposed concert.

Despite making her concerns public in relation to the conduct of “middle aged antipodean women tossing under garments” (www.playbillarts.com/news 2 April 2007) at John Farnham from footage of his recent concerts, it appears from the judge’s observations in this case that the main reason why Dame Kiri chose not to perform in the concerts billed as “Two Great Voices” (“Concert”) was a decision based on the fact that she just did not want to perform and that the company representing Dame Kiri had not been entirely truthful as to these grounds.

With news of international celebrities such as Paris Hilton, Keith Urban and the Brazilian model Daniela Cicarelli to name a few, seeking to have websites shut down by the courts; the vexed question of the power of Australian courts to shut down or in some way control offensive websites continues to play out.  One judge has commented that such actions by Australian parties maybe seen as an “act of futility” given the cross-border nature of the world wide web (“WWW’) that transcends national boundaries and legal jurisdictions.  Apart from legislation which strives to deal with such areas as spam, copyright, trade marks and privacy – it appears that while judicial attempts to shut down offending web sites have had mixed results to date; in the absence of any other sufficient remedies the question may be asked: what else can be done?”

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