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

June 14th, 2016 by Barry Sookman No comments »

I gave my annual presentation today 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 on Computer, Internet and E-Commerce Law (1988-2015).

Reimagining the Copyright Board – my ALAI presentation

May 29th, 2016 by Barry Sookman No comments »

I had the pleasure of attending ALAI’s symposium this week on The Copyright Board of Canada: Which Way Ahead. I was on a panel titled “Reimagining the Copyright Board” along with Ariel Katz, Howard Knopf, Adriane Porcin, and Judge David Strickler of the U.S. Copyright Royalty Board.

My slides from the talk are shown below.

Privacy injunctions in the age of the Internet and social media: PJS v News Group Newspapers

May 24th, 2016 by Barry Sookman No comments »

You’re a celebrity and had a threesome. Your partner wasn’t one of them. You want the affair to remain private. You go to a court in England where your family resides and get an interim injunction. It prevents the English press from publishing the tawdry details to protect your privacy and the privacy of your family. The affair becomes widely known in other countries including the US, Canada, and Scotland. The English public finds out about it through foreign web sites. They also find the story when using search engines, even when not looking for it. The English public is incited to access websites where details about the encounter can be found by the tabloids which thrive on selling papers filled with salacious details of sexual encounters. The tabloids create a frenzy working up the public claiming they are being censored when their foreign counterparts are not, then move to set aside the injunction.

My appearance before the Trade Committee on the TPP

May 5th, 2016 by Barry Sookman No comments »

Here are my introductory remarks to the House of Commons Standing Committee on International Trade studying the TPP earlier today.

I would like to thank the committee for inviting me to appear today to provide input on the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

I am a senior partner with the law firm McCarthy Tétrault and am the former chair of its Intellectual Property Law Group.

I am an adjunct professor at Osgoode Hall Law School where I teach intellectual property law.

I am here today in my personal capacity and not representing any clients.

New Zealand term extension estimate clearly inaccurate says study

April 27th, 2016 by Barry Sookman No comments »

Opponents of the TPP such as Michael Geist have claimed that extending the term of copyright by 20 years if Canada joins the TPP could cost Canadians hundreds of millions of dollars. These claims, which are inconsistent with a Canadian study conducted for Industry Canada by Prof. Hollander, have been premised on a 2009 New Zealand estimate which suggested that the costs of a term extension to New Zealand could be (NZ) $55 million per year.

My Senate Committee appearance on the TPP

April 21st, 2016 by Barry Sookman No comments »

Earlier today I appeared before the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade – Multilateral, Regional and Bilateral Trade Agreements. The Committee’s focus was on CETA and the TPP.

My initial remarks to the Committee are set out below.

I would like to thank the committee for inviting me to appear today to provide input on the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

I am here today in my personal capacity and not representing any clients.

The TPP has been heralded as a 21st century trade agreement. The e-commerce and IP chapters reflect this in my view.

Clarifying what the TPP IP provisions mean in Canada for the Innovative Life Sciences Sector

April 20th, 2016 by Declan Hamill No comments »

This is a guest blog post by Declan Hamill, Chief of Staff and Vice President, Legal Affairs, Innovative Medicines Canada.

Innovative Medicines Canada is the association of leading innovative pharmaceutical companies dedicated to improving the health of Canadians through the discovery and development of new medicines and vaccines. Our community represents the men and women working for more than 50 member companies which invest more than $1 billion in research and development (R&D) each year to fuel Canada’s knowledge-based economy, contributing over $3 billion to the Canadian economy.

Grasping at straws: the trouble with “The Trouble with the TPP”, a further reply to Michael Geist

April 17th, 2016 by Barry Sookman No comments »

I recently had the privilege of speaking about the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) at the Fordham 24th Annual Intellectual Property Law and Policy Conference, a stellar international IP conference. The other speakers on my panel were Probir Mehta (lead U.S. negotiator of the IP portion of the TPP), Pedro Velasco Martins (lead EU negotiator of the IP portion of the TTIP), and Daren Tang (lead Singapore negotiator of the IP portion of the TPP). The title of the panel was “Examination of TPP & TTIP”. My talk focused on how the IP provisions of the TPP are being inaccurately depicted to the public.

John Kasich Trumped by CASL, Canada’s anti-spam law?

March 22nd, 2016 by Barry Sookman 1 comment »

Last week I received several unsolicited emails including the one shown below asking for a donation to support Republican party leader hopeful John Kasich. The e-mail was sent without the remotest chance of there being an express or implied consent and without compliance with the prescribed information requirements of Canada’s much vilified anti-spam law, CASL.

kasich email

There is no doubt that Canadians have an important interest in who wins the US Presidential party nominations. Given the importance of the stakes, Canadian residents eligible to make a donation might have welcomed receiving the solicitation.

CD Howe rejects IP criticisms of TPP and CETA

March 3rd, 2016 by Barry Sookman No comments »

The C.D. Howe Institute released a report earlier today, National Priorities 2016: At the Global Crossroads: Canada’s Trade Priorities for 2016, authored by Daniel Schwanen. One of the key recommendations is to boost market access for Canadian producers by ratifying the CETA and the TPP.

The report also touches briefly on two key intellectual property issues associated with the treaties, pharmaceutical patents and copyright. On these issues, the report stated the following:

Patents seek to encourage innovation by providing firms or individuals a monopoly over new and useful products for a limited period of time before competitors are allowed to offer their own versions.