Principal Areas of Practice:
James has significant experience and expertise as a lawyer in the wine industry.
Although James has done work for almost half of the 20 biggest wine companies in Australia, the firm’s clients are mostly medium to large, privately-owned businesses. These include Akarua, All Saints Estate, Austins & Co, Boat O’Craigo, Brash Higgins, Estates & Wines (Domaine Chandon, Cape Mentelle, Cloudy Bay), Dal Zotto, Fowles Wines, Foxey’s Hangout, Fratelli Wines, Hollick Wines, Giant Steps, Kirby Family Investments (Yabby Lake, Heathcote Estate), Moorooduc Estate, Oakridge, Pernod Ricard Winemakers (Orlando Wyndham, Jacob’s Creek), Pizzini Wines, Rob Dolan Wines, Shelmerdine Vineyards, Shut The Gate, Spring Vale Vineyard, Swish Wines, Taylor’s Wines, The ARH Australian Wine Co (Paringa Vineyards, 3 Rings), Tulloch, Ten Minutes by Tractor, and Winemaking Tasmania. The firm also acts for numerous overseas producers, and smaller wineries and grape growers. The industry bodies which James has advised include Wine Australia, the Winemakers Federation of Australia, Wine Grape Growers Association, New Zealand Winegrowers, Hunter Valley Wine Tourism, King Valley Winegrowers, and Wine Industry of Tasmania.
James was a member of the inaugural “Future Leaders” program to establish a succession plan for the Australian wine industry. He served as Vice-President of the Winemakers Federation of Australia (WFA) and Chair of WFA’s Small Winemakers Membership Committee, and was a founding Board member of Wine Victoria (serving for 11 years). He sits on Wine Australia’s Legislation Review Committee, and was a Member of the Wine Industry Code of Conduct Administration Committee.
James has been the legal writer for the industry publications Wine Business Monthly, Australian and New Zealand Wine Industry Journal and National Liquor News, and wrote his Masters thesis on the protection of geographical indications in the wine industry in Australia.
Prior to establishing his firm, James worked as inhouse counsel for Southcorp Limited for 7½ years; he was the principal lawyer for Southcorp’s Wine division.
James has presented numerous papers to wine industry conferences, both in Australia and overseas. He is a past-president of the Australasian chapter of the International Wine Law Association, and a former Board member of the international Association. He is also the Honorary Counsel for Sommeliers Australia and Wine Communicators of Australia, and was previously a freelance wine writer. James is guest lecturer in ‘wine law’ at NMIT, and before that at Monash University.
Craft Beer (or should I say ‘Independent Beer’)
James first started working for Stone & Wood in 2008, and has relished the journey which the boys from Byron have taken him on since then.
As the industry has grown over recent years, so James has helped other new and established beer producers with their trade mark issues, corporate governance, distribution and liquor licensing needs. The firm’s other beer clients include Holgate Brewhouse, Garage Project, Boat O’Craigo, Shiki Brewing, Singha, and The Hop Trial Brewing Co.
James has provided all of the Australian trade marks services required by the Pernod Ricard group since 2009, so he is fortunate to have looked after the Australian portfolios for such brands as Absolut, Irish Distillers, Jameson, Havana Club, Martell, Malibu, and many more.
The firm’s other spirits clients include Abel Gin, Arcus (Aalborg, Gammel Dansk), Cape Byron Distillery (Brookies), Hippocampus, Elfin Spirits, Patrón, Southern Wild Distillery, and The Splendid Gin Company.
James is a registered trade marks attorney, and can handle all aspects of trade marks business – including searching for conflicting marks and advising on registrability of new marks, as well as oppositions and prosecutions and defences for claims of trade mark infringement.
James’ practical experience is backed up with post-graduate qualifications in this field.
James provides services to numerous Australian law firms which do not have their own internal IP expertise, as well as providing local agency services for overseas firms, such as Andrews Robichaud (Canada), De Simone & Partners (Italy), Mayer Brown JSM (Hong Kong), Vivien Chan & Co (HK, China), McCarthy Denning and The Trade Marks Bureau (UK), and Butzel Long, Strike & Techel and Lehrmann Beverage Law (USA).
James was the ACLA Young Corporate Lawyer of the Year in 2000. He has worked for the largest commercial law firm in the world (Baker & McKenzie), and has more than 25 years’ experience in providing practical legal advice in all areas of commercial law, including drafting and reviewing contracts for:
- sale and purchase of businesses;
- establishing partnerships and joint ventures;
- calling for and responding to tenders; and
- terms and conditions of sale/purchase
James provides “outsourced inhouse” legal services for a broad range of clients in industries as diverse as golf course management, manufacturing, interior design, marketing, media and clothing.
Trade Practice / Competition Law
James has a significant amount of experience in advising companies on many aspects of consumer law and trade practices, particularly in relation to the anti-competitive provisions, and the areas dealing with the sale of goods, and unconscionable conduct.
He prepared the compliance manuals for BP, Rheem and Southcorp, and has conducted many training seminars and workshops in this field.
Advertising, Marketing & Promotions
James has advised on the content of many advertising and marketing campaigns, and on the requirements for trade and consumer promotions.
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