snIP/ITs Insights on Canadian Technology and Intellectual Property Law

Author Archives / Daniel G.C. Glover

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The Aereo Decision – Canadian Content?

Posted in Copyright, Intellectual Property

Careful observers of the United States Supreme Court’s 6-3 decision yesterday in American Broadcasting Cos., Inc. et al v. Aereo, Inc. may have detected a small Canadian flavour in the majority’s reasoning. As will be revealed, this was no coincidence, and McCarthy Tétrault played a small role by filing an amicus brief on behalf of a coalition of international rights holders and copyright scholars that drew the Court’s attention to the need to interpret the US Copyright Act in a technologically neutral way, as similar copyright laws have been construed by the Supreme Court of Canada and the European Court … Continue Reading

A Massive House-Cleaning: Canadian Government Tables Five New IP Treaties

Posted in Intellectual Property, Patents, Trade-marks

On January 28, 2014, the Government of Canada signalled its intent to transform  its intellectual property regimes by tabling five intellectual property law treaties in Parliament. If implemented into domestic law, these treaties would harmonize Canada’s trade-mark, patent and industrial design legislation with its major trading partners. Following a 21-sitting-day waiting period, the Government will be able to introduce legislation to implement these treaties. Such legislation will transform important aspects of the trade-marks practice in Canada, and will lead to significant changes in the industrial designs field as well.

Some key points and concerns about the treaties include the … Continue Reading

The Treacherous Gap Between Goods and Services in Trade-marks Law

Posted in Intellectual Property, Trade-marks

Although it may seem arbitrary to a layperson, the gap in legal treatment between trade-marks for goods and trade-marks for services is treacherous for trade-mark owners. This gap can result in the loss of valuable rights, or the inability to enforce important trade-mark registrations. The recent NetJets case discussed below highlights how even a valuable mark can be deemed “abandoned” because it falls between the cracks of use for goods and use for services. While NetJets is a U.S. case, a very similar result could arise under Canadian law.

Use for Goods  – A Strict Standard

To understand how this … Continue Reading

SCC Strikes Down Alberta Privacy Legislation on Speech Grounds

Posted in Privacy

This morning, the Supreme Court of Canada released Alberta (Information and Privacy Commissioner) v. United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 401, 2013 SCC 62, an important decision relating to the intersection of freedom of expression and protection of privacy and, in the process, struck down Alberta’s Personal Information Protection Act, SA 2003, c. P-6.5 ( “PIPA”). At issue were the privacy rights created by the PIPA and the right to free expression, which is constitutionally enshrined as section 2(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (the “Charter”).

The case arose from a strike in 2006, at … Continue Reading

Manitoba Joins the Ranks of Other Provinces in Enacting its Own Private Sector Privacy Legislation

Posted in Privacy

The government of Manitoba recently enacted the Personal Information Protection and Identity Theft Prevention Act (“PIPITPA”) to regulate the collection, use and disclosure of personal information by the private sector in Manitoba.[1] The statute has not come into force but this enactment is momentous, as it will enable Manitoba to join the ranks of Alberta, British Columbia and Quebec, which all have their own private sector privacy legislation that is “substantially similar” to the federal Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (“PIPEDA”).[2] Manitoba is also the first province to move in this direction … Continue Reading

New Electronic Health Records Legislation on the Horizon in Ontario

Posted in Privacy, Regulatory Compliance

The Liberal government in Ontario has introduced significant new amendments to its health privacy legislation, the Personal Health Information Protection Act (PHIPA).

While there are many important aspects to the new legislation, one key aspect involves significant new responsibilities imposed on “prescribed organizations” or “PO”s in the proposed amendments to PHIPA. Sections 55.1 and 55.12 of the proposed amendments appear to contemplate a process by which Lieutenant Governor in Council may regulate the organizations responsible for “creating or maintaining [an] electronic health record”. A definition in s. 55.1(1) suggests that this means to:

The Lion Roars – But Can It Be Trade-marked?

Posted in Intellectual Property, Trade-marks

As followers of the Canadian trade-marks scene will almost certainly have learned, last week Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer succeeded in a long-running battle with the Canadian Intellectual Property Office in getting a trade-mark registration for its longstanding “roaring lion” sound mark. As was widely reported, the Federal Court issued an order setting aside the decision of the Trade-marks Office refusing MGM’s application. The Office then quickly issued a new sound mark practice notice indicating that it would accept other sound mark applications.

The practice notice cautions that “where a sound mark is considered to be functional and/or clearly descriptive or deceptively misdescriptive, an … Continue Reading