IP & Internet Law in 2007 (Part 1)

Lawyers are known for looking back, but we prefer to look ahead.  Here are some themes and developments in the rapidly evolving world of intellectual property and internet law. 


The courts were busy in 2006 in the copyright arena.  We can expect a few more important decisions (such as the appeal of the Toblerone copyright case) to go to the Supreme Court of Canada in early 2007.  One important theme in copyright is the attempt to use copyright to protect areas which aren’t the traditional domain of copyright: in the Toblerone case, the copyright holder succeeded. In the case of Plews v. Pausch 2006 ABQB 607, an Alberta graduate student attempted to use copyright to protect mere ideas and theories, and lost.


Privacy is not within the realm of intellectual property but it almost always overlaps with technology issues.  Besides the regular reports of missing laptops and hacked data, consider two cases: One, the infamous Sony Rootkit case, in which Sony CDs embedded hidden software on the hard-drives of customers as part of the company’s copyright protection strategy.  The strategy landed Sony in a hornet’s nest of privacy issues.  Class action settlements were finalized in 2006. 

Second, consider the Alberta case of Doctor Dave Computer Remedies.  In that case, the Alberta Information and Privacy Commissioner found that Doctor Dave Computer Remedies used and disclosed the Complainants’ personal information (including names, email addresses, mailing addresses and phone numbers) contrary to the Alberta Personal Information Protection Act by posting that information on websites. 

Privacy issues will continue to be front and centre in 2007 as Parliament continues its review of PIPEDA, while other technologies, such as RFID tags, continue to raise privacy concerns.

IP Litigation

In 2006, the courts helped clarify enforcement issues for IP litigators.   In decisions such as Celanese Canada Inc. v. Murray Demolition Corp., an industrial espionage case, the courts helped clarify the boundaries for the use of Anton Piller orders in civil cases where evidence is being seized.  The cases of Pro Swing Inc. v. Elta Golf Inc. and Disney Enterprises Inc. v. Click Enterprises Inc, dealt with the enforcement of foreign judgements in Canada.

Calgary – 13:17 MST

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