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Wednesday May 20, 2020

Can Your Business Survive
COVID-19?

Authored by: Tim Hill, Q.C. Posted in: Business Litigation COVID-19
Many, if not most, businesses in Canada have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Some major businesses are already looking at restructuring options. Many of these will be hoping that they are “too big to fail”. They may be right.

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Monday March 9, 2020

Why do I need a Copyright Notice on my Website?

Authored by: Marc J. Belliveau Posted in: Intellectual Property

The ubiquitous use of Copyright Notices on websites isn’t always understood by business owners. Let’s review why internet websites almost universally display Copyright Notices.

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Wednesday March 4, 2020

Trademarks: Five Wake-Up Calls About Brand Value

Authored by: Marc J. Belliveau Posted in: Intellectual Property

Trademarks can become extremely valuable. For example, Amazon, Apple and Google are each currently valued at well over $300 billion. So, the small cost to register them is money well spent.

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Tuesday January 14, 2020

Copyright Law: A Brief History

Authored by: Marc J. Belliveau Posted in: Intellectual Property

Looking back at Canadian copyright law over the last decade, one of the biggest developments was the 2012 Copyright Modernization Act, which expanded fair dealing user rights and recognized numerous socially acceptable means of reproducing copyrightable works without infringing them.

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Thursday November 7, 2019

Trademark Basics: What is a Trademark?

Authored by: Marc J. Belliveau Posted in: Intellectual Property

Canadian trademark practice is evolving every year due to technological advancements in brand marketing and changes in the law itself, whether through legislative amendments to the Trademarks Act or as a result of new judicial interpretations.

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Tuesday October 8, 2019

Supreme Court finds Crown owns Copyright in Land Surveys

Authored by: Marc J. Belliveau Posted in: Intellectual Property

It is not often that our Supreme Court of Canada (“SCC”) decides a copyright case. So, it’s always exciting to read their latest thoughts on the interpretation of the Copyright Act (“Act”).

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Tuesday September 17, 2019

What are Statutory Damages for Copyright Infringement?

Authored by: Marc J. Belliveau Posted in: Intellectual Property

When you sue someone for copying your original work of art, music, drama or fiction without your permission, it’s often difficult, time consuming and very costly to calculate and prove the full amount of your financial losses.

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Wednesday August 28, 2019

What’s the Buzz in Music Plagiarism Lawsuits?

Authored by: Marc J. Belliveau Posted in: Intellectual Property

During the last century, composers, musicians and their copyright lawyers held a traditional belief and legal understanding that copyright infringement lawsuits related only to stolen lyrics and copied melodies, but not for more abstract compositional elements.

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Wednesday August 21, 2019

The Importance of Trademark Searches for the Nova Scotia Craft Brewing Industry

Authored by: Marc J. Belliveau Posted in: Intellectual Property

A recent dispute over a peanut butter flavoured craft beer (produced locally in Bedford) provided an excellent example of the importance of searching the availability of your proposed brand before it is officially launched in your marketplace.

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Wednesday July 24, 2019

Copyright Law: From Beyond the Grave

Authored by: Marc J. Belliveau Posted in: Intellectual Property

In Canada, the Copyright Act governs all matters related to an artist’s rights to her or his creative works, including how long those legal rights subsist and how they devolve upon the artist’s death.

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Wednesday June 26, 2019

Trademarks: Free Speech Strikes Again

Authored by: Marc J. Belliveau Posted in: Intellectual Property

Two years ago, I blogged about a U.S. Supreme Court (USSC) decision striking down a trademark law prohibiting the registration of “disparaging” words and phrases because the prohibition was found to unduly restrict “free speech” and was therefore unconstitutional.

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Thursday June 13, 2019

Canadian Official Marks: Qu’est-ce que c’est?

Authored by: Marc J. Belliveau Posted in: Intellectual Property

The Trademarks Act (the “Act”) contains a unique provision that allows “public authorities” to by-pass the normal trademark registration application process and to protect their “official marks” indefinitely. There is no similar provision in any other country’s trademark protection regime.

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Tuesday May 21, 2019

Can Copyright Law Apply to Public Documents?

Authored by: Marc J. Belliveau Posted in: Intellectual Property

Two recent and interesting Canadian copyright infringement cases have bubbled up to the highest courts in the land and threaten to carve a new exception in the intellectual property behemoth that has become copyright law. The issue is whether certain works should not be copyrightable.

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Tuesday April 30, 2019

Canadian Trade-mark Law is Losing the Hyphen!

Authored by: Marc J. Belliveau Posted in: Intellectual Property

On June 17, 2019, five years after the Harper government made countless amendments to the Trade-marks Act (the “Act”) in omnibus budget legislation (Bill C-31 of 2014), the famous Canadian hyphen (inside the word “Trade-marks” of the Act’s title) will become a thing of the past.

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Tuesday April 9, 2019

Must Trade-mark “Use” Always be at a Profit?

Authored by: Marc J. Belliveau Posted in: Intellectual Property

There is an old maxim about brands and trade-marks: “Use it or Lose it”.

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Friday June 1, 2018

NDAs: Are They Worth The Paper They’re Written On?

Authored by: Marc J. Belliveau Posted in: Business Law Employment Law Intellectual Property

Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs), sometimes called Confidentiality Agreements, are a type of contract which compels its parties to come under the proverbial “cone of silence.”

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Tuesday March 6, 2018

Are Cover Bands Copyright Pirates?

Authored by: Marc J. Belliveau Posted in: Intellectual Property

When your favourite local cover band performs an exact rendition of Brown-Eyed Girl, Sweet Home Alabama or Wagon Wheel, are they infringing the copyright of the song’s owner?

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Thursday February 8, 2018

Why Should I Register My Trade-mark?

Authored by: Marc J. Belliveau Posted in: Intellectual Property

While a trade-mark does not have to be registered, the legal advantages and significant benefits of registration are undeniable.

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Tuesday October 3, 2017

Who Owns the Copyright in Your Tattoo?

Authored by: Marc J. Belliveau Posted in: Intellectual Property

Tattoos have existed for over 5,000 years and are becoming more popular than ever. Few people may realize though, that they do not own the copyright to the beautiful artwork inked forever into their skin.

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Thursday September 7, 2017

Copyright Law: Should Canada Adopt Photoshop Disclaimers?

Authored by: Marc J. Belliveau Posted in: Intellectual Property

This fall the Federal government will undertake a mandated review of the Copyright Act. 

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Friday July 21, 2017

The York University Case: Crisis in Copyright Law

Authored by: Marc J. Belliveau Posted in: Intellectual Property

You’ve often heard the old legal saying “hard cases make bad law.”  Well, it still happens.

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Thursday July 6, 2017

Trade-marks: Bring out your Worst Words

Authored by: Marc J. Belliveau Posted in: Intellectual Property

On June 19, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court (USSC) delivered a unanimous decision that the 1946 trade-mark law (Lanham Act) prohibiting the registration of “disparaging” words and phrases, violated the country’s constitution as an unacceptable restriction on free speech.

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Friday May 26, 2017

Three-Dimensional Trade-marks

Authored by: Marc J. Belliveau Posted in: Intellectual Property

On May 17, 2017 the UK Court of Appeal's denied Nestle's decade-long efforts to register its iconic four-finger shape of a KitKat bar in Britain. The shape of the candy is registered as a trade-mark in several countries, including Canada, Australia, France, and Germany.

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Tuesday April 18, 2017

Copyright Law: Moral Rights in Sculpture Placement

Authored by: Marc J. Belliveau Posted in: Intellectual Property

A heated debate is emerging in the copyright world this week; can an artist’s moral rights be infringed merely by placing an object next to a sculpture. This debate poses the questions, what are moral rights and how does the Canadian Copyright Act protect artists.

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Wednesday March 29, 2017

When A Cease & Desist Letter Backfires

Authored by: Marc J. Belliveau Posted in: Intellectual Property

During the most popular week for burgers in Halifax, it was reported that lawyers for McDonald’s Corporation sent a cease and desist letter to a Halifax restaurant. A cease and desist letters can have a strong deterrent effect, if it's without solid legal foundation, the sender loses credibility.

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