There is a class of Trademarks in Canada known as “Certification” Trademarks. They differ from normal Trademarks, in that the owner does not directly sell any product or service. Certification marks indicate that the quality of goods or services made by others meet specified standards. For example “Senior Friendly” could be obtained as a Certification Mark by a seniors organization who wishes to set standards for businesses to meet regarding conducting business with elderly persons. For example “Green Shores” could be obtained as a Certification Mark by an environmental organization wishing to set standards for proposed shoreline development. At this time, most Canadian Trademarks can be filed based upon “Proposed Use”, Certification Trademarks cannot. On March 1, 2013 first reading was given to a proposed Canadian law (Bill C-56) which will allow Certification Trademarks to be filed based upon “proposed use”. This will simplify the process for any service organization seeking to establish standards for businesses.
All patent offices are wrestling with setting rules as to when a “method” should be patentable. A method that has a series of computer implemented steps has been considered to be good subject matter for invention. On March 8, 2013, the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) issued guidelines as to when a computer implemented invention is patentable. The guidelines require the Examiner to differentiate between inventions relating to “computers” as opposed to solutions to problems that use computers but are not “computer problems”. If the invention is intended to solve a problem that is not relating to the operation of a computer, the Examiner is to determine whether the use of the computer is essential or simply a convenience. The computer is not essential if the same result could be obtained (albeit more slowly) with pen and paper calculations.
World Wide Web – When Do You Cross the line?
In this world of GOOGLE, FACEBOOK, and LINKEDIN, there is also a great deal of information on the web regarding individuals. In most cases, it is completely proper to access this information. For example, I had to examine a witness under oath a few months ago and availed myself of information that was on his FACEBOOK page to assist me. Recently the Ontario Court of Appeal was asked to consider where the line should be drawn with respect to intrusions into one’s privacy in the case of Jones v. Tsige. Winnie Tsige was the common law partner of the former husband of Sandra Jones. Ms Tsige was also a bank employee. Ms. Tsige used her position at the bank to repeatedly access online records that are not accessible to members of the public and inspect Sandra Jones private banking records. Presumably, this information was being passed along to Mr. Jones for use in a dispute with Mrs. Jones. The Court found this intrusion to have crossed a line. This is an unusual situation of an abuse of bank databases by a bank employee and may not have had much application to the rest of us, were it not for the fact that the Ontario Court of Appeal had to create a new cause of action of intrusion of privacy to give Sandra Jones a remedy. That remedy is now a precedent. The boundaries of the remedy will be set by future cases. It will likely be relied upon by celebrities against overly aggressive paparazzi. Should you be so unfortunate as to experience some intrusion into your privacy that is excessive, unwarranted and deserving of sanction, you should speak to your lawyer.