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Archive for August, 2012

Canada’s “First to File” Change to Patent Law Harmed Small Inventors

Way back in 1989 Canadian patent law changed from a first-to-invent system to a first-to-file system. Now the United States, a last hold-out along with the Philippines, will soon switch in the same way, pursuant to §3 of the America Invents Act, which will come into effect in March of next year.

A recent article in the New York Times (Steve Lohr, “In Canada, the Impact of America’s New Patent Law Is Seen“) points us to an article by two University of Pennsylvania professors (economics, law) that uses the Canadian experience in the years before and after . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Foreign Law, Substantive Law: Legislation

The Most Successful Court Mediators Are Not Necessarily Lawyers – and Other Findings From the Court Mediation Program

 Mediation is gaining popularity in Canada but promotion of mediation is still mostly anecdotal. To develop further, the field needs a more solid foundation of deep empirical research. Mediate BC is attempting to fill some of the gaps based on fourteen years of data collection by its Court Mediation Program (the “CMP”). The CMP has administered the mediation program in the Provincial Court of BC, Small Claims Division, since 1998 and now mediates claims up to $25,000 in Vancouver and up to $10,000 in four other locations. The CMP recently celebrated its 20,000th referral! It has thousands of mediations in . . . [more]

Posted in: Dispute Resolution

Dropbox Adds Two-Step Verification

Dropbox is still the most popular cloud-based file sharing and storage system, so its success and failures will inevitably signal how quickly the legal community warms up to the cloud.

Dropbox has recently come under scrutiny for a number of security failures. In response to breaches discovered earlier this summer, they have just introduced a new two-step verification on their accounts.

The two-step verification will be optional for users, and allows them to impose a new security code on top of passwords. The code is sent directly to a cell phone, and can be used whenever the account . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet

The Practical Purposes of Law School

Law students are increasingly frustrated with the utility of legal education during a difficult economic market. As Cooley law school graduates realized recently, their lack of foresight over job prospects may not be compensable by law.

But still law students and prospective law student are still trying to figure out what the purpose of law school is supposed to be. Law schools insist that the philosophical underpinnings of law are an essential background for entering practice, arguably one of the several distinguishing characteristics from paralegals or other professionals working in the legal field.

Michael Plaxton discusses this question in a . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools

The Google Challenge

A nice little infographic, challenging us to take account of our online personae.

Has your cellphone number leaked out by accident? Are your eHarmony details jangling cacophonously with your LinkedIn resume? Do your Dad’s Facebook updates invite snark from your hipster webdev team?

Some may be surprised to learn that they can control some of this info. Others may be surprised to learn how little of it can be controlled. For instance, deep web data is now being exploited by US political fundraisers, in ways similar to established marketing practices. This data, scooped from banking transactions and the . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Technology: Internet


Attention: what follows is not me, my head shot above is not representative of the following paragraphs. Over the course of the summer Veronika Kollbrand has been of invaluable assistance working with us as a reference assistant. Veronika has completed her first year as an Information Management student here at Dal and will be embarking on her 1st year at Schulich Law in about a week+. As I have done previously I wanted to give her a Slaw blank slate to post on a topic she was interested in, the only guidance I provided was to generally keep it . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Education & Training: Law Schools

Facing the Articling Crisis

by Sukhpreet Sangha*

The “articling crisis” has a face. It is mine and it might be yours and it is certainly many others’. It belongs to me less than to others, but for approximately eighteen hours my face, and my selfhood, had this crisis written all over it.

As those fortunate enough to be absented from the articling mêlée might not be aware, August 13th-15th marked the main, Law Society of Upper Canada-governed, Toronto articling recruitment process. Those in downtown Toronto might have noticed an odd confluence of anxiety-ridden baby lawyers running around looking out of place . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training

The Friday Fillip: Sleep

It’s an astonishing thing to me at least that we human beings, who prize our consciousness, spend a third of our lives blithely unconscious. That jumped up little homunculus who sits on the tiger’s neck giving orders left and right simply . . . goes away at night, only to reappear as if by magic in the morning without so much as a “Didja miss me?” and as full of itself as ever.

There’s a lot that’s fascinating, if not astonishing, about sleep. We all do it (“birds do it, bees do it…” No, no, they really do.) every . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Online University Courses

Are online courses changing the teaching structures of the traditional university?

The traditional university instruction model is perhaps best represented by Cambridge and Oxford in the UK. There, the teaching involves a mixture of lectures and tutorials (or supervisions). Typically the tutorials are hour long sessions in which the students meet weekly with a member of the teaching staff. The relative importance of these methods varies according to the needs of the subject.

It is intellectually enriching for most students to be in the same room with a stimulating teacher. And it is equally important for most students to be . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

You Might Like … a Short Spell With Yellow, Canucks, Ice, Munro, Colorado, Tolokonnikova, Bananas and More

This is a post in a series appearing each Friday, setting out some articles, videos, podcasts and the like that contributors at Slaw are enjoying and that you might find interesting. The articles tend to be longer than blog posts and shorter than books, just right for that stolen half hour on the weekend. It’s also likely that most of them won’t be about law — just right for etc.

Please let us have your recommendations for what we and our readers might like.

. . . [more]
Posted in: Miscellaneous, Reading: You might like...

Re-Purposing Law

Bob Tarantino wrote an interesting piece for the National Post recently which commented on the fact that legal fees have become so ridiculously high that even a former Attorney General of Ontario has problems paying the legal fees associated with his self-inflicted legal woes. Bob and I entered into a good-natured Twitter chat in which I pointed out that the former AG did not have my sympathy as he freely chose his legal service providers and likely could have found less expensive personnel to achieve the same result.

That access to justice is impeded by high legal fees is, like . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice