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SOOKMAN_barry_bio_1306bThis site is published by Barry Sookman personally. It is not affiliated with McCarthy Tétrault or any of its clients. This site is intended to be informational only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. Nothing on this site should be understood to create any solicitor/client, contractual, fiduciary or other relationship.

Barry Sookman is a senior partner with McCarthy Tétrault in the Toronto office. He is the former Co-Chair of the firm’s Technology Law Group and was the head of the firm’s Internet and Electronic Commerce Group. Prior to that, he was head of its Intellectual Property Group for six years. He is one of Canada’s foremost authorities in the area of information technology, intellectual property, and privacy/anti-spam law.

Barry Sookman is the author of the leading seven-volume treatise, Sookman: Computer, Internet and E-Commerce Law (Carswell, 1999-2015); Copyright: Cases and Commentary on the Canadian and International Law, co-authored with Steven Mason and Prof. Carys Craig (2nd. Ed. Carswell, 2013), Intellectual Property Law in Canada: Cases and Commentary, co-authored with Steven Mason and Dan Glover (2nd. Ed. Carswell 2013); Computer, Internet and E-Commerce Terms: Judicial, Legislative and Technical Definitions (Carswell, 2001-2015); and Sookman: Computer Law: Acquiring and Protecting Information Technology (Carswell, 1989-1999). He is a contributing author to the following books: Gordon Henderson’s Copyright Law in Canada (Carswell, 1994); Barbara McIsaac’s The Law of Privacy in Canada (Carswell, 2000-2003), which was published by McCarthy Tètrault authors; George Takach’s The Software Business (McGraw Hill 1999); and Marco Giovanoli’s International Monetary Law: Issues for the New Millennium (Oxford 2000). Mr. Sookman is also the author of numerous articles dealing with information technology and intellectual property. As well, he is an adjunct Professor who teaches copyright and intellectual property at Osgoode Hall Law School.

Barry Sookman also has a substantial following in social media. He is a leading Canadian blogger on copyright, Internet, and information technology issues at his blog barrysookman.com which has been recognized in the 2012 and 2013 Clawbies. He also has a large following on Twitter @bsookman and LinkedIn @bsookman.

Mr. Sookman has consistently been ranked by authoritative Canadian and international guides as the top or among Canada’s top information technology, intellectual property and privacy lawyers. For example:

  • Chambers Global (2005-2015) Information Technology: Consistently ranked as a “Star Individual” (higher than Band 1). “He wears the IT crown”. “Barry Sookman’s clients consider him to be in a class of his own in Canada – no one else has his depth and breadth of knowledge and technological expertise.” “Peers especially highlight his commercial IT and IP work, particularly in relation to copyright litigation and procurement transactions.” Clients describe him as “lucid in his approach and capable of absolutely brilliant advice.” “Barry Sookman is reputed for his top-rated copyright practice. He leads the firm’s technology law group and is recognized as a leading practitioner in this area.” “He is very talented”. He “is a leading light in Canada for IT and comes highly recommended for his knowledge of computer, internet and e-commerce law.” “He has an IQ of 190 zillion; he is remarkable. He is incredibly thorough, is very perceptive and quick.” He “is recognised for his knowledge of both IT and IP law, and is also well regarded for copyright work.” “He is one of only a few lawyers with that type of expertise.” “Barry Sookman is a name that stands out in Canada for IT. He is widely acclaimed for his knowledge of computer, internet and e-commerce law. One interviewee enthused: “He is terrific, awesome – a great speaker and educator.”” “Sources describe Barry Sookman as “the pre-eminent lawyer in the sector,” and say: “He puts law in the context of business and keeps on top of the legislation.” He is a renowned authority on IT, internet and copyright matters.” “Barry Sookman is outlined as being “in a class of his own.” One of the pioneers of Canadian IT law, he offers unparalleled depth in outsourcing work and litigious matters, and utilises his IP expertise to assist clients with a range of multidisciplinary work.”
  • Chambers Global (2015) Intellectual Property (ranked highest in Band 1): “Barry Sookman is universally regarded as one of Canada’s foremost authorities on information technology and intellectual property issues. One client enthused: “He is excellent – he has the knowledge, the passion and the experience of how to navigate a matter to a successful conclusion.” “Barry Sookman is a renowned copyright expert, who recently acted for Music Canada as an intervener in an infringement case before the Supreme Court of Canada. Sources refer to him as “top-notch,” and say he “has his finger on the pulse of new market developments.”” “Barry Sookman is a recognised leader in the area of copyright, where he holds a wealth of experience.”
  • Chambers Global (2015) Canada, Privacy & Data Protection (ranked in Spotlight Table) “Barry Sookman of McCarthy Tétrault LLP is a major player in the e-commerce and IT space, and is widely viewed as a “thought leader” on CASL issues. One client enthused: “He provides wise counsel and has a great sense of the broader picture. He gives us great confidence in dealing with the regulators.”
  • Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory (2003-2015): Listed in Computer and IT Law (Most Frequently Recommended Lawyer), Technology Transactions (Most Frequently Recommended), and Intellectual Property Law (Consistently Recommended) categories.
  • Best Lawyers (2008-2015) Ranked as the best Technology Lawyer of the Year, 2010, 2011, and 2015.
  • Who’s Who Legal: Canada (2011-2015) Canada: Technology Media & Telecommunications: “Most Highly Regarded” Individual. “Peers describe him as a “seasoned lawyer” who is in a “class of his own”. “He is “the doyen on internet work” and is a “legend”. “Barry Sookman is described by peers a ‘world class’ and ‘an inspiration for other lawyers operating in this space’.” “Barry Sookman is in “a class of his own” according to our sources. Based in Toronto, his practice encompasses information technology and intellectual property matters including outsourcing, joint ventures, and licensing”. “Barry Sookman is a “major player” in the field and one of Canada’s “pre-eminent” practitioners advising upon information technology, internet, copyright and privacy law matters. He is described as practising at the forefront of the discipline and “has a close eye on industry developments.””
  • Euromoney Legal Media Group’s Managing IP (2013) award for Canada’s Outstanding IP Practitioner.
  • Lexpert/American Lawyer Guide to the Leading 500 Lawyers in Canada published by Lexpert and American Lawyer (2003-2015): Top-ranked lawyer in Computer & IT Law and Technology Transactions.
  • Iam: The World’s Leading patent and Technology Licensing Lawyers (2011-2015): “Barry Sookman garners plaudits for his commercial awareness and ‘enterprising approach’ to licence agreements”; among “’the absolute elite of licensing experts’. He maintains a thriving practice encompassing IP and IT transactions for an international clientele.” “Barry Sookman has a wealth of experience in tech. he excels in transactions.” Barry Sookman “brings experience and quality to the table and is a pleasure to learn from.”
  • Guide to the World’s Leading Technology, Media & Telecommunications Lawyers (2008): Ranked as the number one lawyer in Canada and among the world’s top three lawyers in the technology, media and telecommunication category.
  • Lexpert Magazine (2006): Top-ranked lawyer on list of “Canada’s 100 Most Creative Lawyers.”
  • Who’s Who Legal: The International of Who’s Who of Business Lawyers (2008-2013): Described as the “highly capable Co-Chair of the Technology Group and former head of the Internet & e-Commerce Group.”
  • Guide to the Leading US/Cross-border Corporate Lawyers in Canada (2010) published by Lexpert. Leading Lawyer in Technology Transactions.
  • Legal Media Group Best of the Best, Guide to the World’s Leading Lawyers (2009): Listed as one of the top Information technology experts in the world.
  • Legal Media Group Best of the Best, Guide to the World’s Leading Lawyers (2005): Ranked as the top lawyer in Canada and listed among the Top 10 lawyers in the world in the fields of technology, media and telecommunications.
  • PLC Which Lawyer? (2008): Ranked as a “Highly Recommended Individual” in the outsourcing category and as one of two leading individuals in the telecom and IT category.

Mr. Sookman has appeared on the cover of Lexpert magazine three times:

  • June 2006 “Patent Trolls and Jury Trials, RIM’s Cautionary Tale”
  • October 2003 “Getting IT: First-Mover Advantage in Information Technology”
  • September 2000 “The Rise of the e-Commerce Lawyer”

Mr. Sookman has also appeared on the cover of CBA National magazine’s September 2013 “Is your law firm exposed to cyber-espionage?”

Mr. Sookman is very experienced in providing advice in connection with complex information technology/intellectual property transactions including outsourcing and other strategic procurement relationships, joint venture transactions, and licensing. He has been involved as lead lawyer in Canada’s biggest and most complicated domestic and international outsourcing deals.

Mr. Sookman is also very experienced in intellectual property and information technology litigation and arbitration proceedings. In addition to providing strategic advice in connection with high-profile IP litigation, he has been involved in numerous cases, including the following:

  • Canadian Broadcasting Corp. v. SODRAC 2003 Inc., 2015 SCC 57 (Supreme Court of Canada)
  • Cinar Corporation v. Robinson, [2013] 3 SCR 1168 (Supreme Court of Canada)
  • Entertainment Software Association v. Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada, 2012 SCC 34 (Supreme Court of Canada)
  • Alberta (Education) v. Canadian Copyright Licensing Agency (Access Copyright), 2012 SCC 37 (Supreme Court of Canada)
  • SOCAN v. Canadian Assn. of Internet Providers [2004] SCC 13 (Supreme Court of Canada)
  • CCH Canadian Ltd. v. Law Society of Upper Canada [2004] SCC 13 (Supreme Court of Canada)
  • Robertson v. The Thomson Corporation [2006] 25 C.R. 363 (Supreme Court of Canada)
  • Planification-Organisation-Publications Systèmes (POPS) Ltée v. 9054-8181 Québec Inc., 2014 FCA 185
  • Equustek Solutions Inc. v. Google Inc., 2015 BCCA 265
  • Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association v. SOCAN [2008] FCA 6
  • Apple Canada Inc. v. Canadian Private Copying Collective 2008 FCA 9
  • Delrina Corp. v. Triolet Systems Inc. [2002] 17 C.P.R. 289 (Ont. C.A.)
  • Nintendo of America Inc. v. Camerica Corp. [1991], 34 C.P.R. (3d) 193 (Fed. T.D.), affirmed [1991] 31 C.P.R. (3d) 352 (Fed. C.A.)
  • Keatley Surveying Ltd. v. Teranet Inc., 2013 ONSC 1361
  • Robertson v. ProQuest Information and Learning LLC, 2011 ONSC 262
  • Tariff 22 Proceeding (the Internet Copyright Tariff) [1999] 1 C.P.R. (4th) 417 (Copyright Board)
  • Gemologists International Inc. v. Gem Scan International Inc. [1986], 7 C.P.R. 225 (Ont. H.C.)
  • Sega Enterprises Ltd. v. Codemasters Limited (unreported UK proceeding)

Barry Sookman also provides advice in connection with protecting and exploiting intellectual property and new media products, and has extensive expertise on legal issues related to copyrights, privacy and data protection, E-Commerce and the Internet. He is also one of Canada’s leading lawyers on Canada’s anti-spam law CASL.

Mr. Sookman is a member of the Copyright Committee of the Patent Trademark Institute of Canada (PTIC). Mr. Sookman is a past chairman of the Canadian Bar Association ― Computer and Computer-Related Technology section. He is a member of the Association Litteraire et Artistique Internationale, the Computer Law Association and ITAC’s Legal Affairs Committee. Mr. Sookman is a former director of the Canadian IT Law Association. He is also a member and former member of the executive of the Toronto Computer Lawyers’ Group, and a member of the Licensing Executive Society and the Copyright Society of the USA. He is also a member of Osgoode Hall Law School’s IP Osgoode Advisory Board and the advisory board of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s Canadian Intellectual Property Council (CIPC). He is also a member of the advisory board of the global think tank CIGI. He is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School (1980) and was called to the Ontario bar in 1982. Mr. Sookman holds a BA from Concordia University (Interdisciplinary Studies in Science and Human Affairs) and a Master’s in Environmental Studies (MES) degree from York University (1980).

Books and Articles

Sookman: Computer, Internet and E-Commerce Law (seven volume treatise) (Carswell 1999-2015)

Sookman: Computer Law: Acquiring and Protecting Information Technology (three volume treatise)(Carswell 1989-1999)

Sookman: Computer, Internet and E-Commerce Terms: Judicial, Legislative and Technical Definitions (Carswell 2001-2015)

Copyright Cases and Commentary on the Canadian and International Law (2nd. Ed. Carswell, 2013) (co-authored with Steven Mason and Prof. Carys Craig)

Intellectual Property: Cases and Commentary on the Canadian Law (2nd. Ed. Carswell, 2013) (co-authored with Steven Mason and Dan Glover)

Barry Sookman, : The Google Book Project: Is it Fair Use? 61 J. Copyright Soc’y 485, Spring, 2014.


Copyright Reform for Canada: What Should We Do?, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Issue 11, September, 2009

Barry Sookman, Copyright Reform for Canada: Consultation Submission (2009) 2 Osgoode Hall Rev. L. Pol’y 73; also published at 22 IPJ 1.

Why Canada Should Not Adopt Fair use: A joint Submission to the Copyright Consultations, (with Dan Glover) (2009) 2 Osgoode Hall Rev. L. Pol’y 55, also published at 22 IPJ 29

Case Comment: Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada v. Canadian Association of Internet Service Providers Canadian Journal of Law and Technology Vol 3 p149.

More Fickle than Fair: Why Canada Should Not Adopt A Fair Use Regime (with Dan Glover) The Lawyers Weekly,

What Happens When Copyright Goes Digital, August 6, 2009 (with Stephen Stohn), National Post

Case comment on the CCH v. Law Society Case (in the Computer Technology Law Reporter)

Barry Sookman “The SAC Proposal for the Monetization of the File Sharing of Music in Canada: Does it Comply with Canada’s International Treaty Obligations Related to Copyright? 21-2 I.P.J. 159 – 189; also (2008) 1 Osgoode Hall Rev. L. Pol’y. 101

Barry Sookman “Facebook Fair for Copyright of Canada: Replies to Prof. Geist (2008) 1 Osgoode Hall Rev. L. Pol’y. 198

Barry Sookman “The Challenges to Privacy Posed by Technology” in Barbara McIsaac’s The Law of Privacy in Canada (Carswell, 2000 – 2001)

Barry Sookman and Bradley Crawford “Electronic Money: A North American Perspective” in International Monetary Law: Issues for the New Millennium (Oxford University, 2000)

Barry Sookman “Legal Framework for E-Commerce Transactions” [2000] C.T.L.R. 85

Barry Sookman “Protection of Databases” in Copyright in Cyberspace (Otto Cramwinckel, 1997)

Barry Sookman “Copyright and Technology” in Henderson’s Copyright Law of Canada (Carswell, 1994)

Barry Sookman “Protecting Intellectual Property Rights in Computer Products and Related Technology” in George S. Takach’s The Software Business in Canada (McGraw-Hill Ryerson Limited 1997)

Barry Sookman “Knowledge-Based Businesses: The Business of the Future” in Business Law & Litigation: Trend Spotting for the 21st Century (for the 1999 Isaac Pitblado Lectures)

Barry Sookman “E-Commerce, Internet and the Law: A Survey of the Legal Issues” Vol. 48, UNB L.J. 119 (1999)

Barry Sookman “Copyright and the Information Super Highway: Some Issues to Think About” 11 I.P.J. 123 (1997) (Part 1) and 11 I.P.J. 265 (1997) (Part 2)

Barry Sookman et al “International Trade in Computer-Related Technology: The Impact of GATT and NAFTA” in Computer Law & Practice, Vol. 10, No. 3, (1994)

Barry Sookman “Developments in Information Technology Law” [1997] 5 C.T.L.R. 209

Barry Sookman “The North American Free Trade Agreement and Computers: A Summary,” Vol. 1, No. 5 Focus Americas (August, 1995)

Barry Sookman “International Differences and Copyright Protection for Software,” [1995] 5 C.T.L.R. 137

Barry Sookman “Canadian Computer Litigation: Where Are We and Where Are We Going?” Vol. 10, No. 11, Software Protection (April 1992)

Barry Sookman “Computer-Assisted Creation of Works Protected by Copyright” 5 I.P.J. 165 (1990)

Barry Sookman “Création Assistée par Ordinateur d’Oeuvres Protégeés par Le Droit D’auter, Vol. 2, No. 2, Les Cahiers du Propriété Intellectuelle (Jan. 1990)

Barry Sookman “Liability of Geographic Information System Providers” International Computer Law Advisor, (February 1990)

Barry Sookman “ALAI National Report on Computer-Assisted and Computer-Generated Works” in L’informitique et Le Droit D’auteur, (Les Editions Yvon Blais Inc., 1989)

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