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Archive for November, 2013

Homebrewing Laws Worldwide

 [I]l est l’heure de s’enivrer! Pour n’être pas les esclaves martyrisés du temps, enivrez-vous sans cesse! – Charles Baudelaire

[T]his is a case about beer and a case of beer is a serious matter.San Miguel Brewing International Limited v. Molson Canada 2005, 2013 FC 156, Phelan J, February 14, 2013.

People are really serious about their beer. In ancient days, you were flogged in the public square if you sold bad-tasting beer. Bad beer was considered to be “a fraud and a hazard to health”. In Germany in the 15th & 16th centuries, those . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Citation to the Courts

Legal citation to the courts for the past few years has, in some jurisdictions, been different than legal citation in academic works. Here in Alberta, on November 12, 2013 there was a Notice to the Profession from the Court of Queen’s Bench adopting the 7th edition of the Canadian Guide to Uniform Legal Citation (Toronto: Carswell, 2010). There is a lovely example of a law library’s description of the Guide (aka the McGill Guide) from the Lederman Law Library (Queen’s U).

Bob’s column this month references the incongruity of law students being responsible for editorial oversight of law reviews, I . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Can You Trademark a Colour?

This past summer, the Federal Court considered whether Imperial Tobacco could register as a trademark “the colour orange” on its packaging, under the Trade-marks Act. Imperial Tobacco’s application was contested by JTI MacDonald on the grounds that, inter alia, the colour claimed was not sufficiently specific and that the design claimed was not distinctive. The Imperial Tobacco case is just one of many recent instances in which companies have sought to protect a colour within an unclear legislative framework with regard to protecting colour as a distinctive mark. The Court dismissed JTI’s appeal and sided with Imperial Tobacco, . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Tips Tuesday

Here are excerpts from the most recent tips on SlawTips, the site that each week offers up useful advice, short and to the point, on technology, research and practice.


Two Simple Rules for Avoiding the Dangers of Email Attachments
Dan Pinnington

While email attachments are frequently used to share documents between lawyers, law firm staff, and clients, they are also one of the most common delivery mechanisms for malware. While most . . .


Contact Us
Shaunna Mireau

Through opportunities presented by the Canadian Association of Law Libraries and through my firm, I was able to attend . . . [more]

Posted in: Tips Tuesday

Should Law Firms Accept Guest Blog Posts?

If your law firm maintains a blog, or if you blog personally, there’s a reasonably good chance that you’ve received one of these emails:

Hi Steve!

My name is Joe Schmo and I am a writer at, a relatively new social media agency.

I was just wondering if you would be interested in us contributing a guest post for your site?

We’ve done many before, and can provide examples of published work if desired. Looking forward to hearing from you! :)


My advice? Don’t do it. Don’t publish guest post content on firm-owned blogs, and don’t let marketing . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Marketing

Dreamforce 2013: The Shape of Legal Conferences to Come?

This week I’m attending my first Dreamforce conference, the annual “user conference.”

I put user conference in quotes because, although that’s where Dreamforce started, over the years it has evolved into something much, much larger. There are nearly 100,000 attendees and over 1,000 sessions covering topics ranging from starting up a new company to collaboration to meditation. Keynote speakers include Marissa Meyer from Yahoo and Sheryl Sandberg from Facebook. Green Day and Blondie are playing a concert for attendees. The breadth and depth of the topics is simply mind-boggling.

The vibe and energy at the conference is amazing. . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology, Technology: Internet, Technology: Office Technology

A U.S. Court Decision on a Bank’s Duties to a Firm in a Bad Cheque Scam

Lawyer Ethics Alert Blogs has a post describing an Illinois appeals court case in which the court ruled that a law firm had no recourse against its financial institution in a counterfeit cheque matter.

While the laws dealing with financial institutions in the U.S. are different than here, the takeaway for lawyers is to make sure they’ve read the fine print of the contract with their banks (and of course, learn how to recognize the red flags of these scams). The LAWPRO counterfeit cheque coverage may offer a measure of protection if a lawyer is victimized (lawyers outside Ontario should . . . [more]

Posted in: Reading: Recommended

Technology and Law’s Future: A Twitterchat

Richard Susskind’s popular book “The End of Lawyers” highlights a future where disruptive technological change and increased commoditization of legal services fundamentally changes the practice of law. Susskind and others have written on the power of automation, of computers not just changing the way we practice law, but possibly bypassing lawyers completely.

As algorithms take over an increasing amount of the investment market, and surgeons rely more on the precision of robots, what is to stop computers from taking over the practice of law?

There are examples of this sort of automation already occurring in Canada, with companies like Diligence . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Alberta’s Personal Information Protection Act Violates Charter

The Supreme Court of Canada has just held that the collective right to freedom of expression in a lawful strike situation trumps an individual’s right to control their information in a public setting, striking down the Alberta Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA).

In its decision, Alberta (Information and Privacy Commissioner) v. United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 401, 2013 SCC 62, the Supreme Court weighed the collective rights of a union’s freedom of expression under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms against the rights of individuals whose personal information was collected, used and disclosed without consent by the . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

It’s the End of the World as We Know It …

Mobile devices! Google everywhere! Is this the end of the world as we know it? Is it the end of legal research as we know it?

Of course, it isn’t any such thing. Even so, the rise of mobile devices does seem to be related to changes in how legal research is conducted and what results are expected.

A recent post from Raymond Blijd of Wolters Kluwer predicts the death of legal research on desktop. As mobile devices become even more easy to use, and as information is organized and formatted to make it more accessible on those devices, the . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

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 forty-one 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. Employment & Human Rights Law in Canada   2. First Reference Talks   3.   4. Off the Shelf    5. All About Information
Posted in: Monday’s Mix

Racial Profiling Class Action Against Toronto Police

A class action was filed by Munyonzwe Hamalengwa on Friday on behalf of the Black Action Defence Committee against the Toronto Police for the practice of racial profiling. The issue of racial profiling of African-Canadians has been closely examined by several academics and media sources, with findings that have been troubling to some.

The claim seeks $65 million in damages, as well as the following remedies:

A declaration that police have breached the Charter and an order requiring them to “desist from engaging in and condoning racial profiling” of blacks and other “colourful” minorities.

A declaration that racial profiling is

. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law