Canada’s online legal magazine.

Archive for January, 2018

Trade Secrets – the Other Intellectual Property

Alongside the traditional forms of registerable intellectual property managed by intellectual property offices, patents, trademarks, copyright and industrial designs (and integrated circuit topographies), one of the most valuable forms of intellectual property for many businesses is trade secrets.

Trade secrets encompass almost anything of a confidential nature that can provide a competitive advantage. Trade secrets include know how, processes, customer/supplier lists, formulas, processes and methods. Trade secrets are not registered with any government authorities but can be maintained indefinitely.

To be preserved, trade secrets have to be kept confidential, This is typically done through a combination of physical, technological and . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property

Summaries Sunday: SOQUIJ

Every week we present the summary of a decision handed down by a Québec court provided to us by SOQUIJ and considered to be of interest to our readers throughout Canada. SOQUIJ is attached to the Québec Department of Justice and collects, analyzes, enriches, and disseminates legal information in Québec.

CONSTITUTIONNEL (DROIT) : Les appelantes échouent dans leur tentative de contester la validité constitutionnelle des articles 51, 52 et 58 de la Charte de la langue française, portant sur la langue du commerce et des affaires.

Intitulé : 156158 Canada inc. c. Attorney General of Quebec, 2017 QCCA 2055 . . . [more]

Posted in: Summaries Sunday

Access Copyright v. York University, and the Friends of Intellectual Property

Last summer, York University declared that it will appeal the July 12, 2017 ruling of the Federal Court of Canada that was made in favor of Access Copyright, whose tariff on course materials, approved by Copyright Board of Canada, the university refused to pay. Instead of paying a set fee per student, York had relied on its interpretation of fair dealing to guide its faculty’s use of course readings. The court’s decision, delivered by Justice Michael L. Phelan, has been much commented upon, and I seek to add but a late footnote’s worth of further context as an educator and . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Regulation, Statutory Interpretation, and Questionable Libation

Generally speaking, products we ingest like food, beverages, drugs and nutritional supplements are subject to basic regulations so we as consumers know what we are putting into our bodies. Things like ingredients, quantity, and source come to mind as basic information that should be available on packaging, or otherwise be readily discernable when interacting with these regulated products. Unfortunately, and to the detriment of consumers and producers alike, the legislation and administrative regimes in Canada that strive to ensure that food and beverage labeling and classification is intuitive and transparent remain works in progress. Shifting consumer demands and habits, developments . . . [more]

Posted in: Administrative Law

Electronic Wills Down Under and Closer to Home

This column canvasses some recent developments in the law affecting electronic wills and reviews the Canadian position.

The forms an electronic will might take have been tested down under in recent years. Consider if the law anywhere in Canada would have, or should have, produced similar results.

Australia

In Yu, Re [2013] QSC 322, the High Court of Queensland gave probate to a will contained in the iPad of the deceased Mr. Yu, who had killed himself. The will was done up like a traditional will, i.e. with the heading ‘last will and testament’, and it contained many of the . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

The Statement of Principles and Inter-Bubble Communication About Racism

There has been significant controversy in Ontario over the new Law Society requirement that every licensee “adopt and to abide by a statement of principles acknowledging their obligation to promote equality, diversity and inclusion generally, and in their behaviour towards colleagues, employees, clients and the public”.

The nature of the Statement of Principles controversy

Much of the controversy has focused on concern that the requirement compelled expressions of belief and accordingly raised the issue of freedom of speech. This was not an unreasonable concern for at least two reasons. As Alice Woolley pointed out in her op-ed column published in . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Ethics

Wednesday: What’s Hot on CanLII

Each Wednesday we tell you which three English-language cases and which French-language case have been the most viewed* on CanLII and we give you a small sense of what the cases are about.

For this last week:

1. Maclean v. The Barking Frog, 2013 HRTO 630

[2] The facts of the case before me are relatively straightforward. The applicant is a young man who lives in London, Ontario. Late in the evening on September 6, 2012, he and some friends went to a local bar, The Barking Frog, and approached the doorman to inquire as to the cover charge. . . . [more]

Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII

CanniMed Sues Aurora Cannabis for $725,000,000

2018 began with a bang in the Canadian cannabis industry.

After the markets closed this past Friday, January 12, 2018, CanniMed Therapeutics Inc. (“CanniMed”), announced that it had commenced a lawsuit against Aurora Cannabis Inc. (“Aurora”) and a number of large CanniMed shareholders.

In the announcement, CanniMed indicated that the claim was for $725 million in damages resulting from the defendants’ (alleged) “unlawful actions that have negatively affected the appreciation of the value of common shares of CanniMed and prevented CanniMed from pursuing alternative change of control transactions for the benefit of the CanniMed shareholders.”

While the press release contained . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment

What Lawyers Need to Know About Blockchain

As I am writing this, one bitcoin is traded at about USD$17,600. In 2013, bitcoin traded at about USD$100. I thought it was a scam at the time and did not buy any. Since then I’ve changed my mind and started thinking, writing, and building about and around bitcoin and other blockchain technologies. It helped that I am both a computer programmer and a lawyer and that I had economics training. So if you are a lawyer and you missed the bitcoin rush but interested in catching up in your knowledge, read on.

Bitcoin is one way of using a . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology, Practice of Law

Pulling the Plug on Big Tech

One of the biggest changes the technological revolution has given rise to is the rise of the dominant business model of providing free services to people in exchange for an extraordinary wide licence to exploit their data. There is a cost to us that we don’t see, but we are starting to see that it is having a large and incremental impact on our communities, our societies, and our lives. The “Big Tech” digital gatekeepers such as Facebook, Google, Snapchat, etc. refine and exploit our data and have by now laid waste to the advertising multiverse and turned that once . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Monday’s Mix

Each Monday we present brief excerpts of recent posts from five of Canada’s award­-winning legal blogs chosen at random* from more than 80 recent Clawbie winners. In this way we hope to promote their work, with their permission, to as wide an audience as possible.

This week the randomly selected blogs are 1. Eloise Gratton 2. Barry Sookman 3. Legal Post Blog 4. Canadian Combat Sports Law Blog 5. The Court

Eloise Gratton
VTech Data Breach Enforcement Actions – Guidance for Data Security and Privacy Law Compliance

The January 2018 OPC finding and settlement of VTech data breach enforcement actions

. . . [more]
Posted in: Monday’s Mix

Keeping Kitchen on the Bench

Late last year, with the appointment of Sheilah Martin to the Supreme Court of Canada, Penny Collenette of University of Ottawa Law reflected in the Toronto Star on whether we appreciate our Supreme Court justices enough,

…it is not uncommon for justices to retire from the bench before their retirement date. The case load and the isolation of the position can be wearing. Working intensely with eight colleagues from different backgrounds and different regions of the country in an austere setting can cause friction.

She refers to a new book by Prof Backhouse, A Life, which covers the life . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues