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Team Members

Charles Sweeney

Managing Partner
As managing partner at Cooper Grace Ward, Charles leads the strategy, management and day-to-day operations of the firm. Charles is also a market recognised leader in corporate and commercial law.

Charles is managing partner of Cooper Grace Ward and leads the corporate advisory group. Charles provides wide-ranging general commercial advice to clients, with particular areas of focus including corporate advisory and intellectual property / information technology.

Acting for listed and unlisted public and private clients, Charles advises across a broad range of industries, including agribusiness, financial services, technology and mining.

Charles has served as a non-executive director of an ASX listed company (including during its ASX listing) and has practical experience of the issues faced by boards in relation to corporate governance, dealings with regulators (especially ASX and ASIC), major transactions and capital raisings. Charles is also a regular presenter on these topics.

Charles has been listed as a leading lawyer in Doyles Guide in its annual listings of leading Queensland corporate and commercial lawyers continuously since 2010. Charles’ team has also earned the firm a place in the guide’s list of leading corporate law firms in every edition since 2010.

Charles has also been listed in Best Lawyers Australia since 2013 in the Corporate, Commercial and Mergers and Acquisitions Law categories.

  • Bachelor of Laws – University of Melbourne
  • Bachelor of Commerce – University of Melbourne
  • Solicitor – Supreme Court of Queensland
  • Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice – Australian National University
  • Member – Australian Institute of Company Directors
  • Member – Company Law Committee of the Queensland Law Society
  • Best Lawyers Australia (since 2013) – Commercial Law, Corporate Law, and Mergers and Acquisitions Law
  • Doyles Guide 2021 –  Leading Lawyer – Commercial Law
  • Doyles Guide 2021 –  Recommended Lawyer – Corporate Law
  • Doyles Guide 2022 –  Leading Corporate Law
  • Doyles Guide 2022 –  Leading Business and Commercial Lawyer

Corporate and commercial

  • Advising in relation to private equity transactions, financial instruments and derivative transactions for a state investment corporation.
  • Providing legal advice in relation to the acquisition of substantial shareholding in an ASX listed company, and the takeover of an ASX listed company for a major hotel and resort chain.
  • Advising a substantial shareholder of a large agribusiness on the $450 million sale of the business to a UK private equity firm.
  • Providing ongoing corporate advisory, intellectual property, competition and consumer, and compliance advice to a major insurance company.
  • Developing and implementing a competition law compliance program for a major retail group.

Intellectual property / Information technology

  • Creating patent and other IP protection strategies for clients in IT and Biotech fields (liaising with other professionals such as Patent Attorneys where appropriate).
  • Acting for numerous corporate and commercial clients (small and large) in applying for trade mark registrations and successfully conducting and defending trade mark opposition and infringement proceedings, including preparing submissions on adverse reports to IP Australia.
  • Drafting licence agreements for clients from the perspective of both the licensee and licensor and relating to matters as diverse as plant breeders’ rights, software, business processes, trademarks and brands and copyright.
  • Drafting distribution agreements for products invented in Australia and manufactured overseas.
  • Drafting collaboration agreements with Government funded research bodies and training providers.
  • Preparing intellectual property agreements, including licences to use, manufacture, develop and market, confidentiality agreements and agreements dealing with patent rights.
  • Advising on ownership of IP developed by employees in the course of their work.
  • Preparing and negotiating agreements for the development of iPhone applications.
  • Preparing and negotiating agreements for outsourcing of IT services including advice on the legal implications of cloud computing.
  • Conducting domain name dispute resolutions in Australia and overseas jurisdictions.
  • Advising in relation to service level agreements, disaster recovery service agreements and software development and licence agreements.
  • Advising in relation to master licence agreements for enterprise software between an Australian licensor and offshore licensees.
  • Advising in relation to shrink-wrap and click-wrap licence agreements.
  • Successfully conducting and defending trademark opposition and infringement proceedings.
  • Advising in relation to a joint venture agreement for the development of power inverter technologies.

Areas of Expertise


High Court determines that Australia’s unfair contract term laws extend to overseas dealings

The High Court of Australia has held that Australia’s unfair contract term laws have extraterritorial application and will apply even where applicable contracts are not wholly or partially performed in Australia.

New privacy laws incoming – Australian Government releases response to the Privacy Act Review Report

The Australian Government’s response to the Privacy Act Review Report foreshadows significant amendments to the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth).

Proposed Queensland data breach laws bring new obligations for government agencies

The Queensland Parliament has introduced the Information Privacy and Other Legislation Amendment Bill, which proposes new privacy and data breach laws.