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Archive for June, 2009

Registered Industrial Designs

When we think of intellectual property potection, we usually think of patents, trade-marks and copyright. Less top of mind are registered industrial designs. They protect unique, non-utilitarian design aspects of an article. While they are thought of as a patent – indeed, in the US they are called design patents and are contained within the utility patent database – they are really more akin to trade-marks and copyright.

Read more in my Free Press article on my blog, or on the Free Press site. (For some reason it hasn’t made the Canoe Tech page yet this week.) . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Law Librarians Lovin’ the Facebook

I recently helped the Toronto Association of Law Libraries (TALL) set up a Facebook group. I’ve long suspected it: law librarians *love* Facebook. It is a place where we can talk to each other one-on-one, share photos about our personal lives, play word games, and join groups of interest. Almost immediately after creating the TALL group, we had over 30 people sign up by word of mouth. Official word about the group went out a few weeks ago, and we now have more than double that signed up.

Some of our thinking behind creating the group:

  • members were asking
. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information, Miscellaneous, Technology

Oxford Law Dictionary Now for iPhone

White Park Bay, a company that seems to specialize in porting Oxford University Press books to the iPhone, has published a number of OUPs technical dictionaries as iPhone apps, among them the Oxford Dictionary of Law. (This link will take you to it in the app store on your iTunes.) The dictionary sells for CD14.99 (who’s kidding whom with this penny less pricing?). You will note that while rich for an iTunes app, many of which sell at just under a dollar, it’s a whole lot cheaper than the Black’s Law Dictionary, which sells for CD50 (with a penny . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Legal Information, Legal Information: Publishing, Reading, Technology

British Columbia – Becoming a Renewable Energy Powerhouse

I’m a big believer in the idea of a solar panel on every rooftop. It just makes sense to me. I would also like to experience an electric car traffic jam, and to have the power of the ocean used to light my home. Some may say I live in a dream world. Maybe now I do, but our world is changing—and in British Columbia my dream has a chance to become reality, thanks to the provincial government’s commitment to renewable energy. 

Premier Gordon Campbell proclaimed on April 23, 2009 that “We are going to be the alternative energy . . . [more]

Posted in: Firm Guest Blogger, Substantive Law

Focus on Employees: The Hidden Costs of Restructuring a Business

The world wide economic downturn is prompting companies to sell non-core business units, consolidate operations and generally downsize. Lately, everyone seems to have at least one article devoted to some aspect of restructuring a business—see, for example, the cover story in the June 2009 edition of LEXPERT magazine.

Despite the fact that restructuring initiatives often have a profound impact on employees, few articles are talking about the human resources implications of restructuring a business. Employees have valuable know-how, technical knowledge, and relationships with customers, so their departure or disaffection can have significant and unintended financial consequences for a company.

CNET . . . [more]

Posted in: Firm Guest Blogger, Substantive Law

Online Legal Research in a Buyer’s Market

Real competition has finally arrived in the market for legal information. The existence of alternative product offerings from multiple sources has shifted the legal information market in Canada from a seller’s to a buyer’s market. Making matters worse from the perspective of a commercial publisher, although not from that of the legal profession, is the dramatic growth in the number of free sources of online legal information.

To simply stay in the game, commercial publishers will have to offer more content for less money. This shift in the nature of the business is something new in the world of legal . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Legal Information: Publishing

Your Facebook Can Be Hacked

Despite all the warnings about using privacy settings we’ve been hearing about, here comes a stark revelation: your Facebook account can be hacked anyway.

FBHive, a new blog all about Facebook, premiered today with a revelation that they can access certain profile information, even if the user has made it private.

Robin Wauters of TechCrunch confirmed that they were indeed able to access his private information.

FBHive claim that it has taken over 15 days for Facebook to fix they security hole. And they promise to give their secrets on how they do it within the next few days. . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

This Week’s Biotech Highlights

The “me” generation was out in full force in the world of biotech this week:

General Electric offered $100 million of loans as part of its healthymagination program, which is bound to — not coincidentally — boost sales of GE’s medical records systems. Good press and good sales. Good job!

In the U.S. Senate, a new version of the Comparative Effectiveness bill tries to allay Republican concerns by focusing more on the individual patient … leading comparative effectiveness right to the doorstep of personalized medicine.

In Wisconsin and Jerusalem, everyone was vying to divy up the biotech pie . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Substantive Law

The Justice Reporter

The Justice Reporter [PDF] is a fairly new online publication that focuses on issues affecting journalism and the law, conceived and edited by Tracey Tyler, legal affairs reporter at the Toronto Star, and Tony Wong, a litigation partner at Blakes specializing in media law. The editors say in the first edition [PDF] that they aim to

catalogue these problems [i.e. problems with free reporting] and change policies that thwart the media’s ability to inform the public about its justice system.

The current edition leads with an article by three Ontario Court of Appeal judges, Russell Juriansz, James MacPherson and . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Publishing, Substantive Law

Stuck at the Border: New Challenges To the Registration of Judgments

Having spent two of the last three weekends in Las Vegas and San Francisco, I got to thinking about cross-border legal issues. I know that’s pathetic, but bear with me.

British Columbia is one of several provinces with reciprocating jurisdictions in the US for the enforcement of judgments. (In BC, this arises pursuant to Part II of the Court Order Enforcement Act, RSBC 1996, c.78). Rather than commence a new action on the foreign judgment, a judgment from a reciprocating jurisdiction can be registered in BC, and it becomes enforceable as if it was a BC judgment. This is . . . [more]

Posted in: Firm Guest Blogger, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Foreign Law

Canada Best Market for Business Access to Capital in 2008

Surprise, surprise. Canada, with its stable equity market and a sound economic policy framework, was able to withstand some of the global credit market issues and moved to first place in the Milken Institute’s 2008 Capital Access Index.

The Index looks at such factors as macroeconomic environments, financial and banking institutions, the development of the equity and bond markets, and alternative capital sources. Because a firm’s access to capital allows it to implement innovative ideas and contribute to technological advancement, job creation and quality of life, the index is a tool for measuring how countries can act to reduce . . . [more]

Posted in: Firm Guest Blogger, Substantive Law

H&K’s Boyd Neil and Jane Shapiro @WCDM

The World Conference on Disaster Management (@WCDM) started today in Toronto, with a heavy emphasis on social media. I attended the afternoon workshop sessions Boyd Neil (@BoydNeil) and Jane Shapiro of Hill & Knowlton on Best Practices in Crisis Communications.

The session started by stating that lawyers and accountants will almost always interfere with best practices in a crisis by wanting to wait before speaking to the public. They typically want to collect all of the information to assess liability and costs to the company before deciding on a course of action.

I’ve said before . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Substantive Law