Additional damages are procedural …

In June, Perram J awarded the Halal Certification Authority $10 nominal damages and $91,005.00 by way of additional damages for trade mark infringement pursuant to s 126(2).

Section 126(2) was inserted in the Act by the Raising the Bar Act and commenced operation on 15 April 2013.

The conduct which attracted the award of additional damages, however, occurred between August 2012 and September 2013. So, Quality Kebabs came back to argue that the award should be reduced to (about) $35,000; arguing that the Court could only award additional damages for the period from 15 April 2013.

Noting that the right to seek damages had been in place throughout the period and viewing s 126(2) as affecting the quantum only, Perram J rejected this argument. His Honour considered the situation was more like those cases where the amendment was treated as ‘procedural’ rather than ‘substantive’ and so could apply to all the conduct.

His Honour did note, however, that Quality Kebabs made no argument that additional damages were punitive in nature and so should be treated as a penal law – which would presumably not be permitted to have retrospective effect.

Hmm …. additional damages (at least in the context of copyright) are (at least in part) intended to punish the defendant and deter others from engaging in similar conduct.[1] So this debate may well arise again.

The reasons also have a short determination on the form the corrective advertising for contravention of the ACL should take.

Perram J was able to entertain Quality Kebabs’ application because, the corrective advertising order not having been finalised, the decision was still interlocutory and not final.

Halal Certification Authority Pty Limited v Quality Kebab Wholesalers Pty Limited (No 2) [2014] FCA 840


  1. See the discussion in Facton v Rifai [2012] FCAFC 9 at [33] – [37] (Lander and Gordon JJ) and Vaysman v Deckers Outdoor Corporation [2014] FCAFC 60 at [23] – [31] (Besanko J). Of course, s 115(4) of the Copyright Act does have all those “extra” paragraphs, but they are probably equally applicable to the Trade Marks Act and the Patents Act too.  ?

Another plant breeder’s rights case

This one is on a fairly narrow point: what is the term of rights where the application was made under the old (PVR) act, but registration was not completed until after the new (PBR) act.

Such matters are governed by s 83 of the Plant Breeder’s Rights Act.

Rights granted before the PBR Act commenced have a term of 20 years from acceptance (PBR Act s 82(2) and PVR Act s 32); in contrast, rights granted pursuant to applications filed after the PBR Act commenced have a term of 20 years from grant (except for trees which may have up to 25 years).

Patentology has a report.

Elders Rural Services Australia Limited v Registrar of Plant Breeder’s Rights [2012] FCAFC 14 allowing an appeal from

Elders Rural Services Australia Limited v Registrar of Plant Breeder’s Rights [2011] FCA 384

The patent was valid, but not infringed

Foster J has ruled that Bitech’s patent for an apparatus that simulates log flames or coal fire in electric or gas fired domestic room heaters is valid, but not infringed.

An essential feature of the patent was that the simulated flames resulted from reflected light, however, the alleged infringements used directly projected light, not reflected light and consequently did not infringe.

The novelty attack failed because the relevant prior art did not possess all the features claimed. The attack on obviousness failed because s 7(3) was not available – the complete specification was filed before the 1990 Act came into force and so the Alphapharm rules were all that was relevant.

Of potentially greater interest, if there had been infringement, Foster J would have found the importer and retailer (Bunnings) were engaged in a common design.

Somewhat bizarrely, on of the respondents denied it had imported the allegedly infringing products, but led no evidence on the point. As a result, Foster J has foreshadowed some consequences in costs for putting the applicant to proof on this point.

Bitech Engineering v Garth Living Pty Ltd [2009] FCA 1393