We deliver comprehensive legal guidance that covers the life cycle of a manufacturing business.

Our lawyers stay at the forefront of legislative and technological change to ensure our advice is accurate and relevant to our clients in the manufacturing sector.

Commercial contracts

It is critical to ensure your commercial arrangements are properly documented from the beginning to clarify the rights and obligations of the parties and avoid disputes.

Our contract law experts can review, prepare and negotiate the full suite of commercial contracts necessary for the operation of your business.

We can also assist you with website terms and conditions and terms of sale for your digital sales interface as well as software agreements, including end user licence agreements, system integration agreements and Software as a Service agreements.

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Intellectual property

Intellectual property (IP) assets are critical to the value of your enterprise and need to be identified, registered and protected in accordance with Australian law and potentially foreign laws if you trade or export overseas.

Our IP team can help you identify your IP assets and then formulate a strategy to protect, exploit and commercialise those assets.

If you have been threatened with IP infringement or believe your IP rights have been infringed, we can guide you through legal proceedings including trade mark and passing off claims, breach of copyright claims, claims under the Australian Consumer Law (including misleading and deceptive conduct), and domain name disputes. We also assist with issues relating to parallel imports or ‘grey’ products.

If you are buying, selling, licensing, commercialising, assigning and distributing IP or domain names for your business or product, our IP team have the expertise to negotiate to achieve the terms that are best for your business and future.

IP also refers to confidential knowledge obtained by working for or with your business. We can assist you to identify and protect confidential business information through employee, supplier, business partner, funding or other commercial agreements.

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Competition and consumer law

Manufacturers are impacted by the operation of the competition and consumer law framework in Australia, which is regulated by the Competition and Consumer Law 2010 (Cth) (CCA) and the Australian Consumer Law (ACL).

A manufacturer can be liable for a breach of certain consumer guarantees under the ACL, and consumers may have direct recourse to a manufacturer for loss and damage. In some circumstances, an importer may be deemed a manufacturer under the ACL even if the importer did not physically assemble or manufacture the goods in Australia. Manufacturers must all also be aware of their obligations under any applicable safety standards including where a product recall of the manufacturer’s product is carried out or is required.

We can help you with:

  • understanding and mitigating your exposure under the ACL for breach of the consumer guarantees and safety standards
  • ensuring your supplier and consumer contracts comply with the CCA and the ACL, including the Unfair Contracts Act regime
  • product labelling requirements
  • identifying whether you need to carry out a product recall and advising you through the product recall process
  • competition law issues
  • dealing with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and defending any ACCC actions

Learn more about our competition and consumer law services >>

Privacy and data protection

Privacy and data protection concerns the management of personal information. The definition of personal information is broad and it captures any information about an identified individual. This includes names, photographs, basic contact information, credit card details and information about a person’s location at a specific point in time.

We assist our manufacturer clients to navigate Australia’s complex privacy law framework, including mandatory data breach notifications.

Our experts provide you with practical advice, including reviewing or drafting your corporate privacy policies and operational documents, such as collection notices. We can also assist with investigations, audits and compliance issues.

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Personal property securities law

The Personal Property Securities Act 2009 (Cth) (PPSA) applies to security interests in personal property located in Australia. If you have a security interest and it is not registered properly, you risk losing your security and in some cases, title to your own goods.

In certain circumstances, a lessor or hirer of goods has a registrable security interest. It is critical to understand whether your business has any registerable security interests to ensure your valuable assets are protected.

Our PPSA experts can help you to identify whether you have a security interest and register your security interest on the Personal Property Securities Register (PPSR), then draft and negotiate your security agreements.

If you find yourself in a PPSR or security dispute , we can advise you through the dispute resolution process, including in the context of default and insolvency.

Learn more about our PPSR services >>

Employment and workplace relations

Our workplace relations team has worked in partnership with Australian manufacturers for many years and has extensive industry-specific knowledge as a result.

We also proudly have Victoria’s largest team of Accredited Workplace Relations Specialists, so our clients know they can trust us to give the right advice, while remaining responsive and cost-effective in managing their workplace relations needs.

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Occupational health and safety

The safety of your workers is more than just a compliance requirement, it is an investment in the productivity of your business. A safe workplace means lower operational costs as a result of unnecessary WorkCover claims and litigation, absenteeism, and back-to-work processes. It also protects your brand image and business reputation.

We can help you with defending companies and Directors in OH&S prosecutions, advising on statutory obligations under Commonwealth and state OH&S legislation and managing statutory investigations, and developing and implementing OH&S policies and procedures throughout your business.

Learn more about our occupational health and safety services >>

Importing and exporting

Import and export are key drivers of growth within the manufacturing sector, especially as most production of manufactured goods require imported inputs to manufacture and selling goods overseas provides new markets. With expertise across trade, international financing and investment, commercial, property, workforce and migration, we consider your specific situation from all viewpoints and provide you with holistic procedural and legal advice on how to best utilise inter-state and global opportunities.

We can help you with understanding and complying with international trade regulations, customs and tariffs, dumping and subsidy investigations, Therapeutic Goods Administration enquiries, advertising and labelling, and working with government bodies and international border agencies. We are able to provide advice here and overseas on the terms of Free Trade Agreements which can open new opportunities and reduce costs of production and sale

Learn more about our importing and exporting services >>

Corporate governance

Having the right governance structure in place is vital for the compliance obligations of your business.

We can help you with a full suite of corporate governance services, including providing advice on choosing the best board structure and controls to suit your business operations.

If your business is going through significant change, including through a merger or acquisition, we can guide you through the process of an organisational restructure.

In addition, we can draft and review your constitutions and rules, prepare notices of meetings, and manage any required transfer of registration.

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Mergers, acquisitions and financing

Exploring acquisition, investment, restructure and exit opportunities requires solid, commercially focused legal advice and assistance. We can help you explore the viability of an opportunity, and once you have decided to proceed we can assist with making the transaction as smooth as possible.

Learn more about our mergers, acquisitions and financing services >>

Tax structuring and litigation

A range of options exist for structuring a business. Each structure has unique features that impact upon the rights and obligations of the entity and how it is used to pursue the objectives for which it was established. Choosing an appropriate structure, and understanding your tax offsets, liabilities and credit opportunities is critical to success and efficiency.

Our tax group is a full service generalist tax practice able to provide upfront advisory services or dispute resolution and litigation advice and advocacy in dealings with the ATO and State Revenue Office.

We can assist you with general tax-effective structuring to, for example, quarantine risk associated with certain items of plant and equipment, or choosing the most appropriate and beneficial professional practice structure.

There are a number of local and federal government grants and concessions available to manufacturers. We can assist you to identify and claim any available R&D tax incentives and tax concessions.

Whether trading locally or internationally, we can guide you through the complexities of company taxes, including GST issues on acquisitions, sales, imports and exports, as well as transfer pricing.​

Where you are reliant on employing contractors v employees, we can assist you with the tax obligations that can occur as a result of your chosen workforce structure.

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Property transactions and leasing

Our firm’s expertise is well grounded in commercial property and we can assist you with your property requirements during any stage of your business lifecycle.

We can help you with the sale and purchase of property or land, including industrial sites for manufacturing plants or major sites for large-scale facility development. This includes compliance with factory location rules and licensing. Our services include robust due diligence, negotiation, all required documentation, transactions and settlement.

Commercial and industrial property leases are often complex, requiring careful preparation and consideration of landlord/tenant rights and obligations. We help throughout the process.

In addition, we are highly-experienced in project financing and partnerships and can negotiate any arrangements to ensure you achieve your desired result. We can also assist you with leasing, management and licensing agreements.

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Planning, environment and construction

If you are planning to develop a factory, plant, facility or office, we can help you to navigate the complexities of planning permits, objections and appeals, including environmental requirements. We also give you the assurance that you are protected throughout all design and construction phases by providing comprehensive contractual arrangements.

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Learn more about our construction services >>

Insolvency, asset protection and reconstruction

It is crucial that individuals or companies facing or experiencing insolvency obtain specialist advice to navigate the legal minefield and regain control of their situation and destiny.

First, we can help you with asset structuring to protect your family wealth and critical business assets from insolvency risk, including your intellectual property, plant and equipment,.

Where a client is experiencing or facing insolvency, we work closely with the client and their accounting advisers to formulate a plan for rescuing their business, and protecting their family assets from any fall-out from the insolvency event. This might involve a formal or informal work-out, or a corporate restructure followed a formal insolvency appointment (eg a voluntary administrator or liquidator) to resolve creditor claims.

We have specialist expertise in relation to litigation arising from liquidations, eg defending creditors facing claims by liquidators to recover alleged unfair preferences. Where a client is facing such a claim, we seek to negotiate an out-of-court resolution with the liquidator at an early stage that minimises our client’s exposure and legal expenses.

We can also provide advice on the acquisition of insolvent businesses.

Learn more about our insolvency, asset protection and reconstruction services >>

Succession planning and family business

All businesses, particularly those that are family-run or privately held, require effective business succession strategies to ensure longevity. We can provide advice to ensure that your business is structured to ensure minimal disruption (including to your personal finances), in the event of a threat such as litigation, illness or an accident.

We can help you with:

  • complex estate planning
  • asset establishing and managing public and private ancillary funds
  • drafting trust deeds for inter vivos
  • drafting Wills and powers of attorney
  • complex estate planning
  • drafting of testamentary charitable trusts incorporated in a Will

Learn more about our succession planning and family business services >>

Testimonials

We highly recommend Rigby Cooke Lawyers, they have exceeded our expectations with their honesty, integrity, transparency and professionalism. They were invaluable in helping us through some very difficult times over the past year. They took the time to listen and were very knowledgeable with all matters pertaining to our business.

Their legal team have delivered and still are delivering outstanding results for us.

Christina Puopolo, director of GP Industries Pty Ltd

Rigby Cooke is a legal firm in which you can have trust and confidence. Their ability matches if not exceeds that of the highest tier firms.

Kaz Bartaska, managing director of Kansom Australia

I would recommend Rigby Cooke to anyone requiring commercial law expertise. The advice and communication were always timely and succinct, whilst the service was always delivered professionally, yet in a friendly manner.

Giulian Di Maggio, director of Zoneform

Rigby Cooke always provide me with logical, sensible, cost-effective and prudent advice. Not once in nearly 7 years have they let me down! Their IR team is second to none!

Greg Carson, human resources manager of Vawdrey Pty Ltd