Archive for April, 2015

Privilege for IP Advisors in Canada

It’s budget time… therefore, time for changes to Canada’s IP laws!

No, there is no logical connection between the two, but that seems to be how the government functions these days (the last budget brought in major changes to Canada’s patent and trademark laws without any consultation, but hey, who’s keeping track of these things anyway?). The Intellectual Property Institute of Canada has noted that the latest budget bill has introduced statutory privilege for communications between IP advisors and their clients.

“With this,” IPIC notes, “Canadian businesses are better assured that they can speak openly with their intellectual property advisors in order to obtain the best possible advice, knowing that these conversations will not be revealed to their competitors through a court process or litigation.”

Calgary – 07:00 MST

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Copyright in Survey Plans

By Richard Stobbe

As a follow-up to our earlier post about Copyright in House Plans, an class action case is proceeding in Ontario on the subject of ownership of copyright in survey plans (See:  Ontario land surveyors can sue land registry managers for copyright infringement, court says).

In the course of their work, land surveyors in Ontario prepare a survey document, and that document is routinely scanned into the province’s land registry database. Copies of survey documents can be ordered from the registry for a fee. The Ontario Court of Appeal has certified a class action which permits the province’s land surveyors to continue their copyright lawsuit against Teranet Inc., the manager of the land registry system. The case is Keatley Surveying Ltd. v. Teranet (Case No. cv-10-414169).

Calgary – 07:00 MST

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Amendments to Canadian Intellectual Property Laws by 2017

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By Richard Stobbe

The Canadian Intellectual Property Office has indicated that the amendments to the Trade-marks Regulations (and in particular the accession to international trademark treaties), the amendments to the Industrial Design Regulations and amendments to the Patent Rules will not be finalized until later 2016, and possibly as late as 2017.

A note on the CIPO website says that stakeholders will have the opportunity to comment when the proposed amendments/regulations are pre-published in Canada Gazette, Part 1 (expected late 2016). If the proposed regulations are published in late 2016, then the regulations will not be finalized until 2017 at the earliest.

 

Calgary – 07:00 MST

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Online Infringement & Norwich Orders: Best Practices

By Richard Stobbe

When a copyright owner suspects online infringement, but lacks evidence of the identity of the alleged infringers, it can seek an order to disclose those details. Canadian law is clear that “A court order is required in every case as a condition precedent to the release of subscriber information.”

A Norwich order is a “litigation tool requiring non-parties to a litigation to be subject to discovery or being compelled to provide information.” In a recent case, Voltage Pictures LLC v. John Doe, 2014 FC 161, a decision released in February, 2015, this tool was used by the Plaintiff (Voltage) to obtain the names and addresses of some 2,000 subscribers of an ISP known TekSavvy Solutions Inc.

Teksavvy said it would only disclose subscriber information if Voltage obtained a court order compelling disclosure. Voltage did obtain its so-called Norwich order, and Teksavvy was compelled to release subscriber information to Voltage, with some controls.

Then Voltage and Teksavvy argued about who should bear the costs for correlating and compiling the subscriber info. The resulting court opinion in Voltage Pictures LLC v. Teksavvy Solutions Inc. 2015 FC 339, makes for interesting reading (if you’re into this sort of thing) regarding best practices for copyright owners and ISPs to manage costs:

  • The copyright owner should first ascertain, in advance “with clarity and precision”, the method used by the ISP to correlate IP addresses with subscriber information, and the investment in time and costs based on a hypothetical number of IP addresses. In other words, the copyright owner should ask the ISP: “What methods do you use, how long would it take and how much would it cost if we wanted you to correlate 100 or 1000 IP addresses?”
  • Next, the copyright owner and ISP should agree on these timelines and costs in advance (in writing if possible) before the copyright owner files and serves its motion for a Norwich order.
  • For smaller ISPs, the copyright owner should not make the assumption that the smaller ISP will handle IP address and subscriber info in the same way as larger ISPs, where such processes are likely automated.

 

Calgary – 07:00 MST

 

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