The topic of LAWS5225 Special Topic C in Semester 1, 2020 will be Business, Law and Technology in a Borderless World.

International commercial arrangements underpin globalisation and enable cross border transactions, but are becoming increasingly complex and difficult to navigate. International law issues can also arise in unexpected places as borders start to blur due to the internet and social media platforms. This course offers study on international commercial arrangements and the difficulties that lie within, with a focus on complexities that arise over the internet (such as electronic contracting, domain names and trademark infringement), doing business internationally with a focus on China and the USA, and ancillary international issues. The course will have a practical and commercial focus, and will consider these issues from the point of view of an Australian internet or technology products enterprise wanting to expand into China and the USA.

Enrolment for LAWS225 Business, Law and Technology in a Borderless World is now open.

Please note, enrolment is limited to 75 students.

Topics covered include:

  • Introduction: trade war or tech war?
  • Jurisdiction, with a focus on internet jurisdiction issues
  • Case study: cross-border defamation
  • The regulation, role and power of platforms (such as Facebook, Google, Amazon and Alibaba)
  • International commercial contracts
  • Breach of international commercial contracts (choice of law, choice of forum, long arm service, arbitration, litigation, enforcement)
  • International IP protection and enforcement (International IP protection strategies, trademark infringement on the internet, cross-border patent infringement, anti-suit injunctions, domain name disputes)
  • International sale of goods and services in an online environment (internet sales and contracting, the sale of digital works, consumer contracts, regulatory issues)
  • International distribution and agency agreements
  • Key legal and business issues when doing business internationally
  • Differences when negotiation contracts in different countries
  • International taxation issues
  • Employment law with a global and flexible workforce
  • International privacy and data laws
  • Case study: doing business in China

The course is intended to be practical, looking at issues that arise in real life, rather than focusing on topics that are academically interesting but of little practical relevance. As you can tell from the title, the course is focused on international legal issues with a technological focus. What legal issues will face a Brisbane enterprise doing business internationally? What legal issues will face a foreign enterprise doing business in Australia? To keep the course manageable, we will focus on the USA and China, but will consider other countries where appropriate. To add interest, we will look at issues that arise where the business has an Internet-based business model.

In some ways, the course is a 'survey' course (or maybe an applied legal course). We will focus on the business problems, and in doing so, we will look at a number of relevant legal subjects. We will also see if we tie these topics together with an over-arching 'legal theory' of doing business in a borderless environment. To assist, we will have workshop problems, that will be used throughout the course.

Professor John Swinson

John Swinson's principal interests are intellectual property law, Internet law and the application of law to new technologies.

John commenced as a part-time professor at UQ Law in November 2017. John is also a partner at King & Wood Mallesons. John graduated from UQ Law in 1998 with a University Medal. He also has a Bachelor of Arts majoring in computer science from UQ and a Master of Laws from Harvard Law School where he studied as a Fulbright Fellow and a Frank Knox Scholar. From 1999 until 2017, John was an adjunct professor at QUT.

John is currently Chairman of the auDA Policy Review Panel, which is making recommendations to the auDA Board to revise Australia's domain name policies.

Since 2000, John has been an arbitrator for the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) in Geneva, and has decided over 350 disputes regarding the ownership of domain names.