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Archive for the ‘Intellectual Property’ Columns

The Three Reasons Why Statutes Require Interpretation (Using IP Examples)

I am currently writing a book on Statutory Interpretation, to be published in late 2018 by Lexis Nexis. Enough books have been written on the topic both in Canada and elsewhere, so why do I feel the need to add another? For one thing, existing literature on the subject spends far too little time (if at all) on two fundamental questions: (1) why do statutes need to be interpreted and (2) what is the appropriate institutional role for the judiciary? In my opinion, we can not understand how to approach the task of interpretation without answering these two questions. More . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property

Bill 202 –New Alberta Tort for Non-Consensual Distribution of Intimate Images

Alberta joins those provinces and the Federal government who have enacted protection for intimate images to provide a legal framework to protect those who have such images wrongfully distributed.

Under the Act, Protecting Victims of Non-Consensual Distribution of Intimate Images Act, SA 2017, cP-26.9, which comes into force August 4, 2017, a person distributes an intimate image if that person knowingly publishes, transmits, sells, advertises or otherwise makes the image available to a person other than the person depicted in the image.

Once in force it will be a tort for a person who distributes an intimate image of . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property

Protecting Your Confidential Intellectual Property Information in Court

A key feature of litigation is the disclosure of relevant information and documents prior to trial through the process of discovery. For Canadian intellectual property proceedings, most of which take place in the Federal Court, disclosure of confidential materials is the norm, and confidentiality orders are typically obtained to keep sensitive information out of the public record and out of the hands of competitors. A couple of years ago, one judge commented that in intellectual property cases, confidentiality orders are “almost always granted as a matter of course” (see 2015 FC 403).

Confidential information that is often the subject . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property

Commemorating Intellectual Property Before It Was Law

Everyone likes an anniversary. It offers a moment of reflection and perhaps a piece of cake. It calls for looking back, if only, in this case, to that afternoon in high school history class in which you were presented with the Protestant Reformation. This is the five hundredth anniversary of Martin Luther, “Master of Arts and Sacred Theology, and ordinary lecturer therein at Wittenberg,” letting the world know that he intended to defend what has become known as The 95 Theses (actually entitled Disputation on the Power of Indulgences): “52. It is vain to trust in salvation by indulgence . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property, Legal Publishing

The Ideal Cease and Desist Letter – Informative and Only Covertly Threatening?

The oft-used cease and desist letter (“C&D letter”) may have significant implications for both intellectual property (“IP”) owner and alleged infringer alike. Although the test for an improper C&D letter may be well-established, there have been relatively few cases where such letters have been held to be improper, and no reported cases dealing with actual quantification of resulting damages. This fact, combined with the reality that interlocutory injunctions remain a difficult remedy to obtain in Canada, may very well mean that IP owners should consider taking the risk of sending out threatening communications to an infringer’s customers. In certain circumstances, . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property

Nintendo v. Go Cyber Shopping Glosses Over Important Issues in the New Digital Locks Regime

We now have our first court decision interpreting Canada’s new digital lock regime in Nintendo v. Go Cyber Shopping 2017 FC 246. Unfortunately, the decision glosses over two issues that future courts will need to look at more closely. The first is whether the regime extends to locks preventing mere access to a work, unaccompanied by any act of copyright infringement. The second is whether physical configurations, or other devices that play no direct role in bypassing a lock, are protected. Given uncontested facts (the Respondent did not tender any evidence before the court), there was no meaningful opportunity . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property

Longer Monopolies and Single Legal Proceedings vs Generics – the Gift of CETA to Canadian Drug Patentees

Canadian pharmaceutical patent owners can expect two substantive changes in the next year following implementation of the Canada–European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (“CETA”):

  • certificates of supplementary patent protection (“SPC”) of up to 2 years will be available to compensate for regulatory approval delay
  • an overhaul of the NOC litigation procedure is expected, with current “not-so-summary” proceedings to be replaced by one action, similar to US ANDA litigation

The recently released draft implementing legislation (“Bill C30”) provides an overview of the timing and steps for SPC, with details to follow in subordinate regulations. Procedures regarding the modified NOC litigation . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property

Reasonable Royalties and Non-Infringing Alternatives

In an oil and gas patent proceeding, the court ordered a 27% royalty rate for sales made prior to the grant of the patent at issue and did not consider a manual process as being a non-infringing alternative. In a recently issued decision, Frac Shack Inc. v. AFD Petroleum Ltd., 2017 FC 104, the defendant was found to infringe several of the claims in a patent relating to a fuel delivery system used for hot refueling of equipment used for hydraulic fracturing.

If a patent is found to be infringed, the patentee, or person claiming under the patentee . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property

Five More Questions About Digital Copyright Law

In my first post on Slaw last summer, I highlighted 5 questions that face digital copyright law. There are of course many unanswered questions in this remarkably dynamic area of the law. Below I discuss 5 more issues that are elaborated upon in my Digital Copyright Law book:

1. What is a copy in the digital age?

The copy concept in copyright law was simple before the internet. An author received compensation for copies purchased by consumers. Digital technologies, which are copy dependent for the production and transmission of content has created new kinds of copies. These are “technical copies” . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property

Implied Consent Under Privacy Law Reconsidered

The federal private sector privacy regime operates on a consent basis. Unless an exception is applicable consent is needed to collect, use or disclose personal information of another. That consent can be express or implied.

In Royal Bank of Canada v. Trang[1] the Supreme Court of Canada took a practical and pragmatic approach to implied consent under the federal private sector privacy law, Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act[2] (PIPEDA).


The plaintiff, Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), loaned the Trangs about $35,000. The Trangs defaulted on the loan and RBC obtained a judgment against the Trangs. . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property

Protecting FinTech Innovation

“FinTech”, the combination of technology and financial services is taking off with numerous startups and established players all trying to optimize, expand and disrupt the industry. The increasing use of mobile technology, cloud services and changing regulations is causing rapid change in the way services are being provided in many areas, including for financial services. Examples including new payment methods, mobile apps, lending and funding systems, such as crowdsourcing platforms, cloud based budgeting, accounting and finance software, and back office processing.

For companies innovating in this space, there are several types of protection being employed to try to maintain a . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property

Impending Importance of Patent Office Procedures to Canadian Patent Litigation?

A recent decision of the Federal Court[1] explicitly and repeatedly criticized a lottery ticket patentee for taking a “remarkable” “breathtaking” position on construction in an infringement action that was “entirely opposite” with prior representations to the Canadian Patent Office. At the same time, the court refused any inference of a “greater presumption of validity” because the patent had withstood 12 protests over 13 years brought by the impeacher/alleged infringer, and surprisingly (although reluctantly) accepted the patentee’s “new” construction approach in any event. The court found Scientific Games’ patent for lottery ticket codes to be obvious, ambiguous and not infringed . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property