Richard Stobbe

Richard Stobbe

Field Law

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Making a Monkey Out of Copyright

The Monkey Selfie Caper apparently has legs, as they say in the news business. Long legs with opposable toes. (For background, see our earlier post: Monkey See, Monkey Do… However Monkey Does Not Enjoy Copyright Protection)...more

10/6/2015 - Copyright Copyright Infringement Copyright Litigation PETA Photographs Selfies

Dear Trademark: Don’t Ever Change

Change is not always good, particularly in the world of registered trademarks. If your trademark changes over time - due to the vagaries of marketing trends, fashion, style - you may find that your mark no longer matches the...more

10/2/2015 - Trademark Registration Trademarks

Limitations of Liability: Do they work in the Alberta Oilpatch?

Let’s consider that contract you’re about to sign. Does it contain a limitation of liability? And if so, are those even enforceable? It’s been several years since we last wrote about limitations of liability and exclusion...more

9/29/2015 - Energy Sector Limitation of Liability Clause Oil & Gas Supreme Court of Canada Well Drilling

Apple’s Liability for the Xcode Hack

I don’t think I’m going out on a limb by speculating that someone, somewhere is preparing a class-action suit based on the recently disclosed hack of Apple’s app ecosystem. How did it happen? In a nutshell, hackers were able...more

9/24/2015 - Apple Class Action Cloud Computing Cyber Attacks Cyber Crimes Data Breach File Sharing Hackers Malware Mobile Apps Software

Forum Selection in Online Terms

Let’s say you’re a Canadian company doing business with a US supplier - which law should govern the contract? ‘Forum selection’ and ‘governing law’ refer to the practice of choosing the applicable law and venue for resolving...more

9/22/2015 - Apple Class Action Cloud Computing Facebook Forum Selection Google Internet Service Providers (ISPs) Online Platforms Software Developers Suppliers Terms of Service

What Happens When a Franchise Agreement Ends, Part Three: Rescission

In our previous posts (See Part 1 and Part 2), we reviewed restrictive covenants and cancellation rights under franchise laws. In a recent decision out of the Ontario Court of Appeal, the dispute focussed on the right of...more

9/21/2015 - Cancellation Rights Disclosure Requirements Franchisee Franchises Franchisors Rescission Restrictive Covenants

Patent Update: Infringement and “Non-Infringing Alternatives”

If you are a patent owner, you are entitled to damages if someone infringes your patent. The measure of damages is compensatory damages, lost profits or a “reasonable royalty”. Is it fair for the infringer to say that the...more

9/15/2015 - Apotex Appeals Compensatory Damages Merck Patent Infringement Patent Litigation Patents Pharmaceutical Industry Pharmaceutical Patents Popular

Is the Mark used as a Trademark or a Trade Name?

Apple Inc. sells Apple-branded computers. Is Apple a trademark or a trade name? And what’s the difference anyway? And perhaps most importantly, why should you even care? A trademark is a protectable brand that distinguishes...more

9/9/2015 - Apple Blackberry Construction Industry Real Estate Development Real Estate Professionals Trade Names Trademark Infringement Trademark Registration Trademarks

No copyright or trademark protection for metatags

What if a competitor copied the metatags on your website and you watched web traffic bleed from your own site while the competitor’s site enjoyed a bump in hits? Are metatags subject to copyright or trademark protection?...more

9/8/2015 - AdWords Copyright Copyright Infringement Google Metadata Trademark Infringement Trademarks Website Design Websites

Court of Appeal Upholds Injunction Against Google (Equustek Solutions Inc. v. Google Inc.)

Apparently Google does not appreciate being ordered by a Canadian court to remove worldwide search results. In Update on Injunction Against Google (Equustek Solutions Inc. v. Google Inc.) we reviewed a 2014 decision in which...more

6/17/2015 - Appeals Canada Cloud Computing Google Infringement Intellectual Property Protection Misappropriation Popular Search Engines Technology Trade Secrets Trademarks Websites

Competing After Employment (Part 2)

A few weeks ago, Jawbone, a fitness tracking hardware and software maker, sued its arch-rival Fitbit, alleging that Fitbit lured its employees away to obtain access Jawbone’s confidential information and product plans. How...more

6/15/2015 - Breach of Duty Canada Confidential Information Confidentiality Agreements Employer Liability Issues Employment Contract Fiduciary Duty Fitbit Fitness Hiring & Firing Intellectual Property Protection Non-Compete Agreements Non-Solicitation Agreements Restrictive Covenants Software Software Developers

Outsourcing by Canadian Companies after the USA PATRIOT Act

Wondering about outsourcing your data to the U.S.? What follows is an update to one of our most popular posts: Outsourcing by Canadian Companies: Another Look at the USA PATRIOT Act, originally written in January 2013....more

6/15/2015 - Canada Cloud Computing FISA Outsourcing Patriot Act Risk Assessment Risk Mitigation USA Freedom Act

Reverse Engineering Cloud-Based Software

Let’s say you provide web-based software in a SaaS subscription model. What if your reseller or strategic business partner works against you to redesign and reverse engineer your software so they can launch a competing...more

6/5/2015 - Best Practices Cloud Computing Confidentiality Agreements Enterprise Software IP License SAAS Software Software Developers Trade Secrets

What, exactly, does industrial design protect?

What, exactly, does industrial design protect? The recent decision Zero Spill Systems Inc. v. Heide, 2015 FCA 115, reviewed this question. In the trial level decision, Zero Spill sued a competitor for infringement of Canadian...more

6/5/2015 - Canada Industrial Design Infringement Patent Infringement Patent Invalidity Patents

Canadian Copyright Term Extensions

As we noted in our earlier post the bill known as Economic Action Plan 2015 Act, No. 1 was tabled in the House of Commons on May 7, 2015. It passed Second Reading in the House of Commons on May 25th and is now with the House...more

6/5/2015 - Amended Legislation Canada Copyright Pending Legislation The Copyright Act

Apple Watch Design Patent

As we reviewed in our previous post - Industrial Design as a Competitive Tool - the value of strategic industrial design protection (also called a “design patent” in the US) should not be underestimated. The USPTO...more

6/5/2015 - Apple Apple Watch Design Patent Industrial Design USPTO

Patent Licensee’s Standing to Sue for Infringement

Although you might not think so, given the proliferation of litigation, courts are actually very particular about who can bring a lawsuit. In order for a plaintiff to file a lawsuit, it must have ’standing’ or put another...more

6/5/2015 - Contract Negotiations IP License Patent Infringement Patents Standing

Trade Dress Updates: “Beauty” does not cut it

A recent decision of the US Federal Court (see: Apple, Inc. v. Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. May 18, 2015) reviewed the jury decision in Apple’s famous infringement lawsuit against Samsung. You may recall that Apple’s 2011...more

6/5/2015 - Apple Apple v Samsung Canada Design Patent Patent Infringement Patents Samsung Trade Dress Utility Patents

Employee Ownership of Patentable Inventions

A startup in the oil-and-gas service sector sought to improve downhole well stimulation technology. After a few years, differences between the three founders culminated in the ouster of Mr. Groves, one of the founders. Mr....more

6/5/2015 - Canada Employment Contract Entrepreneurs Inventors Oil & Gas Patent Ownership Startups

Competing After Employment (Part 1)

A key employee departs. The employer, worried that confidential information has leaked out of the company, scrambles to respond. After a frenzied period of preparation, the employer starts a lawsuit and seeks an injunction...more

4/20/2015 - Canada Confidential Information Employer Liability Issues Former Employee Non-Compete Agreements Non-Solicitation Agreements

Amendments to Canadian Intellectual Property Laws by 2017

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...more


Online Infringement & Norwich Orders: Best Practices

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...more

4/20/2015 - Canada Copyright Copyright Infringement Disclosure Internet Service Providers (ISPs) Norwich Orders

Copyright in Survey Plans

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. In the course of their work, land surveyors in Ontario...more

4/20/2015 - Canada Class Action Copyright Surveys

What Happens When a Franchise Agreement Ends, Part Two: Cancellation

In some cases, a franchise relationship ends after many years of business. At the point of termination, the parties must wrestle with a number of issues, including customers, inventory, and (as we reviewed in Part 1) the...more

3/13/2015 - Canada Contract Term Franchise Agreements Franchises

Enforcing Keyboard Patents (BlackBerry v. Typo)

A year ago, BlackBerry sued Typo Products LLC for patent infringement, based on the design of a snap-on keyboard. Typo’s physical keyboard was designed to attach to an iPhone, in order to mimic a BlackBerry-style QWERTY...more


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