Highlight: Remote work created opportunities for tech startups

5-Star IP Lawyer Nicole Murdoch pointed out these opportunities sparked legal activity related to IP rights

Highlight: Remote work created opportunities for tech startups

Having to adopt remote working arrangements during COVID-19 improved flexibility for lawyers, but that was not the only impact remote working had on the profession. The IP law realm benefited from tech entrepreneurs capitalising on opportunities.

“There was an initial downturn in business, but business resumed in a different format. Clients often launched side businesses, so enquiries from startups increased, particularly in the digital area,” Eaglegate Lawyers principal Nicole Murdoch explained.

“Employees also sought permission – or at times did not – to launch side businesses that were closely related to the services of their employer. The number of entitlement disputes increased, as did legal issues surrounding use of employer material by employees to promote their own businesses.”

The legal activity connected to these opportunities revolved around IP rights entitlement, copyright infringement, passing off, misleading and deceptive conduct, and misuse of confidential information.

“Staff members were now working from home on a BYOD [bring your own device] basis. This brought up issues of effective policies and the protection of confidential information,” she said.

Digital tech-related commercial, front-end matters increased in volume, and the value of diverse service offerings and asset protection ticked up.

“The pandemic has caused a stratospheric push towards the adoption of digital technology. That will feed further digital developments, which fall squarely within the wheelhouse of IP lawyers. It is expected that the need for IP lawyers will only ever increase,” Murdoch said.

Other factors that helped to maintain IP activity were the adoption of remote hearings and the establishment of the JobKeeper wage subsidy.

Nicole Murdoch was among Australasian Lawyer’s 5-Star Intellectual Property Lawyers for 2021.


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