snIP/ITs Insights on Canadian Technology and Intellectual Property Law

Monthly Archives: March 2016

Watch Out: NPEs are Coming to Canada!

Posted in Intellectual Property, Patents

NPEs, otherwise known as non-practicing entities, or pejoratively referred to by some as “patent trolls”, have seen a significant negative impact on their business model south of the border. NPEs are analogous to private equity businesses–their business model is to acquire undervalued patent assets and turn around and sell or license them to others, which often leads to expensive patent litigation. If their assets are depreciating in value, the model becomes significantly less attractive. This is exactly what is happening in the US.

Recent US Supreme Court decisions including Alice, which restricted the scope of patent-eligible subject matter, and … Continue Reading

Marrakesh Treaty Implementation Bill Revived in Parliament

Posted in Copyright, Intellectual Property

In June 2015, the previous Conservative government tabled legislation to implement the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired, or Otherwise Print Disabled. However the bill was introduced shortly before the summer break and, as it turned out, Parliament was dissolved before the legislature returned.

On March 24, 2016, the new Liberal government tabled a substantially identical bill, now known as C-11.

As was the case for its predecessor, the bill broadens the existing exception in section 32, including by removing the exclusion of large print books and by expressly … Continue Reading

Canadian Trademark Law Adapts to Online Software Licence Sales

Posted in Intellectual Property, Technology License Agreement, Trade-marks

The online sale of a software licence constitutes a “use” in relation to a good for the purposes of Canadian trademarks. This was the recent holding of the Federal Court of Canada in Specialty Software v Bewatec, 2016 FC 223. This decision strengthens trademark protection for software in Canada and demonstrates that courts will adapt legal concepts to modern technology. Here, the traditional model of purchasing software on tangible media, such as a CD-ROM, is simply outdated. Software as a service (SaaS) offerings have greatly increased in recent years with the explosion of cloud computing, which essentially provides … Continue Reading

Old Law Continues to Frustrate Innovator Protections for Combo-Drugs in Canada

Posted in Intellectual Property, Patents

On May 4, 2016, the Federal Court of Appeal upheld a summary motion ruling that Gilead’s ‘619 Patent is ineligible for listing against the combo-product, TRUVADA(R) (decision published as Gilead Science, Inc. v. Apotex Inc., 2016 FCA 140).

Canada’s PM(NOC) Regulations allow innovative drug manufacturers to list patents on the public Patent Register pertaining to their drug products. This provides a public notice function to potential copycat generic manufacturers of all listed patents that must be addressed or, else the patent expired, before obtaining marketing authorization from the Canadian Minster of Health to market and sell a generic … Continue Reading

McCarthy Tétrault and IP Osgoode Co-host FinTech IP Symposium

Posted in Intellectual Property, Patents, Startups

On March 9, McCarthy Tétrault and IP Osgoode jointly hosted a symposium titled Effective IP Strategy to Drive Innovation in the Financial Services Sector.  This event brought together academics, business people, and lawyers for a discussion of how technological change is transforming the financial service sector and pushing incumbents and disruptors alike to think carefully about their IP strategies.

After introductory remarks from Barry Sookman and Giuseppina D’Agostino, the event set a brisk tempo and covered a lot of ground in two short hours.  The discussion was organized around three panels.

The first panel, moderated by Matt FlynnContinue Reading

Canadian Patent Law Update: Supreme Court Grants Leave in Utility / Promise / Sound Prediction Case

Posted in Intellectual Property, Patents

Canadian patents have utility requirements. A claimed invention must have some level of utility. A ‘mere scintilla’ of utility is all that the Patent Act requires.  However, where a patent contains an explicit promise of a specific result, the case-law has developed a requirement that this so-called ‘promised utility’ be demonstrated or soundly predicted as of the Canadian filing date of the patent application.

There has been much controversy over this ‘promise doctrine’ as well as the ‘heightened disclosure requirement’ that has been applied in the case of a sound prediction.  The controversy includes a NAFTA challenge by Eli Lilly … Continue Reading

Canadian Patent Law of Obviousness: R.I.P. Fair Expectation of Success

Posted in Intellectual Property, Patents

The question of whether a “fair expectation of success” is the correct legal standard applicable to an obvious to try analysis was finally laid to rest in the Federal Court of Appeal’s recent important decision of Eli Lilly v Mylan (2015 FCA 286). A unanimous panel held that a “fair expectation of success” was not the correct standard. Instead, the higher “more or less self-evident” test articulated by the Supreme Court of Canada in Sanofi-Synthelabo (2008 SCC 61) was reaffirmed as the correct legal standard. The higher standard for obviousness makes it more difficult to invalidate … Continue Reading

Stolen e-signature found on accused’s hard drive used to convict in fraud scheme

Posted in Consumer Protection, Contracting/Outsourcing, E-Commerce

Electronic signatures are frequently used by businesses and organizations to efficiently execute and exchange documents.  The increasingly ubiquitous nature of electronic signatures makes them open to abuse, if not carefully monitored and policed.  Recently, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice considered this issue in R. v. Pusey[1], where evidence on the use of an electronic signature was central to the Court’s decision to convict the accused on charges of fraud.… Continue Reading