snIP/ITs Insights on Canadian Technology and Intellectual Property Law

Category Archives: Intellectual Property

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Federal Court Strikes Claim Where Allegations of Patent Infringement Were Speculative

Posted in Intellectual Property, Litigation, Patents

On June 12, 2017, Prothonotary Aylen of the Federal Court issued her decision in Mostar Directional Technologies Inc. v Drill-Tek Corporation et al., 2017 FC 575. Prothonotary Aylen struck the Plaintiff’s claim, holding that the pleading was speculative and failed to provide sufficient material facts for the allegation of patent infringement.

In this case, the Plaintiff alleged that the Defendants infringed Canadian Patent Nos. 2,666,695, 2,544,457, 2,584,671, and 2,634,236 which relate generally to down hole drilling technologies. The Plaintiff’s claim identified the Defendants’ model names and listed the patent claims that were alleged to be infringed. After demanding … Continue Reading

The Power of an Inference: Federal Court Restores $125 Million S. 8 Damages Award

Posted in Intellectual Property, Litigation, Patents

In Teva v. Pfizer Canada, 2017 FC 526, the Federal Court reaffirmed and reissued a judgment awarding Teva a section 8 damages award in excess of $125 million relating to the drug EFFEXOR XR® (venlafaxine). This decision offers insight into the legal limits on what inferences can be drawn about a generic’s ability to source sufficient drug supply in the but-for damages world.

The key issue at this redetermination[1] was whether Teva would have had and could have had access to sufficient quantities of venlafaxine at the relevant time to support its notional sales in … Continue Reading

Internal Technology Transfer Gone Wrong: Composite Technologies Inc. v. Shawcor Ltd., 2017 ABCA 160

Posted in Intellectual Property, Litigation

Intellectual property is transferrable. And you should be careful with how you transfer your IP among your corporate family, especially if it constitutes the principal value in your business – and in your life’s work!

One IP owner in Alberta had the misfortune of making a transfer to a subsidiary which he eventually allowed to be dissolved. When it came time to assert his ownership rights in the technology in a court, his suit was summarily dismissed as meritless.

Recently, the Alberta Court of Appeal ruled that this outcome was correct.… Continue Reading

Fair, Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory: UK Patent Court Enjoins Huawei from using Standard Essential Patents Owned by a Non-Practicing Entity

Posted in Intellectual Property, Patents

On April 4, 2017, the Honorable Justice Birss of the High Court of Justice (Chancery Division) issued his decision in Unwired Planet International v Huawei Technologies, [2017] EWHC 711 (Pat). The decision provides a comprehensive review of the application of Fair, Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory (FRAND) principles to the licensing of Standard Essential Patents (SEPs).… Continue Reading

Information location tool and fair dealing copyright defenses rejected: Trader v CarGurus

Posted in Copyright, Intellectual Property

If you’ve ever shopped for a used car, you likely know the two popular services, autotrader.ca and CarGurus. In a decision released earlier this week in Trader v CarGurus, 2017 ONSC 1841, Trader (the owner and operator of autotrader.ca) was awarded statutory damages of $305,604 against CarCurus for infringements of its copyrights in photographs of vehicles. The decision written by Justice Conway of the Ontario Superior Court contains some important interpretations of the Copyright Act including in relation to the scope of the new making available right, the copyright defenses for information location tools and fair dealing, and the calculation … Continue Reading

LOT Network

Posted in Intellectual Property, Patents

In a previous blog post, we briefly discussed the LOT Network’s initiative in in the fight against patent assertion entities (PAEs), more commonly known as patent trolls. Since the publication of that post, the LOT Network has overhauled its member agreement and published new information and statistics on how the program is working to protect companies from PAEs We have provided below a brief summary of some of the key changes.… Continue Reading

Drug testing in Canadian patent suit not permitted to be used in foreign litigation

Posted in Intellectual Property, Litigation, Patents

In a rare case where drug samples were given under consent in an NOC proceeding Novartis sought, but was denied, to use these samples in a related litigation in Portugal (2016 FC 1091).

Samples are rarely provided in NOC proceedings. Nevertheless, production may be compelled if samples were provided to the Minister as part of the drug submission (Patented Medicines (Notice of Compliance) Regulations (SOR/93-133), s. 6(7)). This was not the situation in this case where Mylan consented to producing the samples, subject to the existing protective order.… Continue Reading

Website operator jailed for distributing copyright infringing copies of musical works: R v Evans

Posted in Copyright, Intellectual Property, Litigation

Is operating a website that provides links to torrent websites which facilitates unauthorized downloading of musical works a criminal offence? If so, can the operator of such sites expect jail time as punishment for this crime? In a recent decision of the English and Wales Court of Appeal in Evans, R. v [2017] EWCA Crim 139 (14 February 201), the accused, Mr Evans, was convicted of two offences of distributing infringing copies of musical works and was sentenced to 12 months in prison for these crimes.… Continue Reading

TPMs Are Alive and Well: Canada’s Federal Court Awards Nintendo $12.7-million in Damages

Posted in Copyright, Intellectual Property, Litigation

Five years ago, Canada enacted legal protection for technological protection measures (TPMs) as part of the Copyright Modernization Act. The Federal Court has now  rendered the first decision  interpreting  these important rights. In short, the court  made it clear that legal protection for TPMs were meant to foster innovation in the creative industries and that businesses blatantly engaging in industrial scale TPM circumvention activities will be dealt with harshly by the courts.

In Nintendo of America Inc. v. King & Go Cyber Shopping (2005) Ltd., 2017 FC 246 (docket here; decision available soon on the Federal Court website and … Continue Reading

Availability of non-infringing product is relevant in determining profit recovery for infringing activities

Posted in Intellectual Property, Patents

In a recent decision (Apotex Inc. v. ADIR, 2017 FCA 23), the Federal Court of Appeal determined that the Federal Court erred in law by rejecting the relevance at law of any available non-infringing product and failed to adequately consider the evidence adduced as to the ability and willingness of three suppliers to provide non-infringing product. According to the Court of Appeal:

  • To the extent the Federal Court rejected the relevance of non-infringing perindopril because the defendant sold perindopril, this conclusion was inconsistent with Monsanto Canada Inc. v. Schmeiser, 2004 SCC 34 where the Roundup Ready
Continue Reading

Copyright Infringement Class Action Over University Course Packs Certified in Quebec: Copibec c. Université Laval

Posted in Copyright, Intellectual Property, Litigation

On February 8, 2017, the Quebec Court of Appeal certified a class action by Copibec against Université Laval, for copyright infringement.

This decision overturns a Superior Court ruling from 2016, which would have dismissed the claim on the basis that Copibec did not satisfy the eligibility requirements under the province’s Code of Civil Procedure for an association to bring a class action on behalf of its members.

Copibec is a collective management organization representing book publishers, visual artists, and newspaper and periodical authors and publishers in Quebec.

Copibec alleges that, in 2014, Université Laval declined to renew its license agreement … Continue Reading

NPEs Beware: Contorted Construction of a Patent Will Attract Elevated Costs

Posted in Intellectual Property, Patents, Telecommunications

On January 4, 2017, the Honourable Justice Locke of the Federal Court of Canada released his decision in Mediatube Corp. et al. v. Bell Canada, 2017 FC 6. This was a patent infringement action in respect of Canadian Patent No. 2,339,477 (the “‘477 Patent”) by the plaintiffs, NorthVu Inc. (patent owner) and MediaTube Corp. (licensee) against Bell Canada  (including former Bell Aliant Regional Communications, Limited Partnership, together “Bell”). The plaintiffs alleged that Bell infringed the ‘477 Patent through the delivery of its digital Internet Protocol Television (“IPTV”) services called Fibe TV and FibreOp … Continue Reading

Cheese, olives and other agricultural products to get geographical indication protection under CETA

Posted in Intellectual Property, Trade-marks

Canada’s latest trade deal is set to expand the protection of geographical indications to a wide array of agricultural products.

On October 30, 2016, Canada and the European Union signed the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (“CETA”). A day later, the Government of Canada tabled Bill C-30 (the “Bill”) for the purpose of implementing CETA into the country’s legislative landscape. One of the primary operative effects of CETA, as a trade agreement, is that it will eliminate 95% of all existing tariffs applied to goods traded between the two jurisdictions. Apart from the direct economic impact … Continue Reading

CETA Implementation in Canada: Bill C-30 Brings Significant Changes to the Canadian Patent System

Posted in Intellectual Property, Litigation, Patents

Changes are coming swiftly, as the federal government moves to implement the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (“CETA”) just days after it was signed by Prime Minister Trudeau in Brussels at the end of October 2016.

These changes will significantly impact biologic/pharma patents in two major ways. First, they will implement, for the first time, a Canadianized version of patent-term restoration. Second, they will revamp the current framework for linkage between patents and the approval of biosimilar/generic drugs in Canada by giving innovators the right of appeal, by changing the nature of the PM(NOC) proceedings to a more U.S.-style approach, … Continue Reading

New Rules for US DMCA Agent Registration

Posted in Copyright

One of the central features of the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act (or DMCA)for online service providers is the combination of the Notice and Takedown regime and the corresponding Safe Harbour provision. Provided that online service providers properly carry out their obligations under these provisions, including by promptly removing infringing content when they receive compliant notices, they are shielded from liability for copyright violations by their users.

This system has critics among service providers, right holders, and users. But it has underpinned the explosion of user content-based services ranging from Facebook and YouTube to small community bulletin boards.

A critical … Continue Reading

Canada’s Federal Court of Appeal Confirms Different Patent Claims Can Have Different Promised Utilities

Posted in Intellectual Property, Patents

In Teva Canada v. Novartis Canada 2016 FCA 230, the Federal Court of Appeal confirms that in assessing the utility of a patented invention, different patent claims can have different promised utilities.

This decision was made in Teva’s appeal from the Federal Court’s judgment (2015 FC 770) in which the Minister of Health was prohibited from granting an NOC to Teva in respect of its generic version of Novartis’ EXJADE® (deferasirox).

The only issue on appeal was whether the lower court erred in law in its construction of the so-called “promise of the patent”.… Continue Reading

Federal Court Dismisses Motion for Particulars of the Patent’s Inventive Concept and Promise of Utility

Posted in Intellectual Property, Litigation, Patents

In a recent decision, the Federal Court dismissed a motion by Apotex seeking particulars from (or to strike paragraphs from) Allergan’s pleading relating to the prior art,  inventive concept, promised utility and sound prediction of utility of the patents at issue.

In this case, Allergan Inc. (“Allergan”) brought an infringement action against Apotex and AA Pharma in respect of two patents relating to Allergan’s drug ALPHAGAN P. Apotex filed a statement of defence and counterclaim, seeking to impeach Allergan’s patents.  In its defence  to counterclaim, Allergan denied Apotex’s invalidity allegations.… Continue Reading

Claim For Section 8 Damages Struck But Novel Cause Of Action Survives In Ontario Suit Re: Viagra® Patent

Posted in Intellectual Property, Patents

In this decision (2016 ONSC 4966), the Ontario Court dismissed Apotex’s claim for damages under s. 8 of the NOC Regulations in the face of a motion to strike. Apotex’s other relatively esoteric claims were, however, left for another day. These claims include alleged false and misleading statements under s. 7 of the Canadian Trade-Marks Act, unjust enrichment, nuisance, and conspiracy. Pfizer failed to establish that these claims were doomed to fail. The high standard applicable on these motions was not met.

Apotex pursues Pfizer in the Ontario Court for alleged losses relating to Apotex’s delay in … Continue Reading

Allegations Against Canadian Tenofovir Patent Found Unjustified (Again)

Posted in Intellectual Property, Patents

Gilead’s Canadian Patent 2,261,619 (the “619 Patent”)—the compound patent for tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (“TDF”)—is no stranger to Canadian courts. Adding to its litigious history, the Federal Court recently dismissed each of Apotex’s claims in an application under Canada’s NOC Regulations to find—for a second time—allegations relating to the 619 Patent’s validity unjustified.… Continue Reading

Chung c. Brandy Melville Canada Ltd.: When Using Photographs Posted on Instagram Can Result in Copyright Infringement

Posted in Copyright

Photographer Edmond Chung’s fashion photos of Brandy Melville Canada Ltd. (“Brandy Melville”) employee Catherine Moisan were destined to be viewed on Instagram and Facebook. However, Brandy Melville’s unauthorized use of one of his photographs led Edmond Chung on a years-long effort to seek redress from the retailer for breach of his copyright. Edmond Chung finally succeeded in his efforts this April 2016 when the Court of Quebec’s Small Claims Division condemned Brandy Melville to pay Edmond Chung $5,000.00 for copyright infringement. [1] This decision is good news for creators seeking to share their work with a larger audience as it … Continue Reading

New IP3 patent purchase program is industry’s latest attempt to combat trolls

Posted in Intellectual Property, Patents

In May 2016, the Allied Security Trust, a non-profit industry group, announced the launch of the Industry Patent Purchase Program, otherwise known as IP3. This new initiative brings together technology industry leaders including Facebook, IBM, Microsoft, and Adobe, to establish a patent marketplace in an effort to create an opportunity for patent owners to both protect their intellectual property, and acquire valuable patents.

The IP3 follows the footsteps of previous initiatives by tech industry leaders, including an initiative spearheaded by Google last year, the Patent Purchase Promotion Program, that invited companies and start-ups to sell their patents to Google.… Continue Reading

Reining in the Cable Killers: Federal Court Orders Crackdown on TV Set-top Boxes with Copyright-infringing Applications

Posted in Copyright, Intellectual Property

On June 1, 2016, the Federal Court granted an interlocutory injunction against retailers of television set-top boxes with pre-loaded applications that permit the unauthorized streaming and downloading of copyrighted content. Recognizing the “emerging phenomenon” of “pre-loaded set-top boxes” in Canada, this injunction comes at a time of rapid growth in the popularity of such devices. Finding for the plaintiff broadcasting companies, the Court’s Order in Bell Canada et al. v 1326030 Ontario Inc. et al., 2016 FC 612 also permitted the plaintiffs to identify and add other retailers of pre-loaded set-top boxes as additional defendants to bring them under … Continue Reading

Historical Facts and Copyright: the Maltz v. Witterick Case

Posted in Copyright

On May 10, 2016, the Federal Court of Canada rendered its decision in Maltz v. Witterick,[1] denying the Applicants, Judy Maltz, Barbara Bird and Richie Sherman, producers of a documentary called No. 4 Street of our Lady (the “Documentary”), an award in damages for breach of copyright and infringement of moral rights allegedly caused by Jennifer L. Witterick, author of the book My Mother’s Secret (the “Book”).

In re-examining the question of whether a particular set of facts can be subject to copyright protection, this case sheds light on the “substantial taking” test as … Continue Reading

The year in review: developments in computer, internet and e-commerce law (2015-2016)

Posted in Defamation, E-Commerce, Intellectual Property

On June 14, I gave my annual presentation to the Toronto computer Lawyers’ Group on “The year in review in Computer, Internet and E-Commerce Law”. It covered the period from June 2015 to June 2016. The developments included cases from Canada, the U.S. the U.K., and other Commonwealth countries.

The developments were organized into the broad topics of: Technology Contracting, Online Agreements, Privacy, Online/Intermediary Liability/Responsibility, Copyright, and Trade-marks and Domain names.

The cases referred to are listed below. My slides can be viewed after the case listing. These and many other cases will be added to my 7 volume book … Continue Reading