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Music Infringement: Would the "Blurred Lines" Case Be Different in Canada?

November 25th, 2015
12:00 pm- 1:30 pm


7.4 million dollars. That’s about how much a U.S. jury recently awarded Marvin Gaye's estate after finding that singers Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams ‘copied’ his music to create the song "Blurred Lines", one of the biggest hits of 2013.

Artists are terrified that this case sets a dangerous precedent and will have a chilling effect on musicians who attempt to emulate or pay homage to the sound of other artists.

Sign up for an in-depth look at why the jury reached this decision and whether, based on the Copyright Act and the previous copyright cases in Canada, the "Blurred Lines" case might have turned out differently in Canada.

Register today!

Message from the Chair: Your IP Section Update

As I write this welcome message, the summer days are getting shorter, the air is slowly becoming cooler, and as students head back to class for another school year, your IP Section Executive also begins another year. I’d like to first extend my sincere thanks to our outgoing chair, Christopher Wilson, who had a remarkable year as our Chair in 2014-2015. As I take over the reins from Chris, I hope to be able to serve the members as thoughtfully as Chris.

The officers and I also wish to welcome you back to the IP Section this year and thank you in advance for renewing your CBA membership. With these periodic reports, we are hoping to update you on the work of your IP Section Executive and committees and bring to your attention any upcoming opportunities and key dates.

Over the summer months, your IP Section has been busy working on:

  • Providing detailed comments to the Competition Bureau on the Intellectual Property Enforcement Guidelines (Draft Stage 2 Update), spearheaded by Kamleh Nicola and Alan Macek of the Patent Committee;
  • Liaising with the ABA IP Section Meeting in Chicago, IL;
  • Representing the IP Section at the CLC in Calgary, AB;
  • Preparing a membership survey regarding the Annual Spring IP Day in Ottawa. Please keep an eye out for this survey in the fall.

I’d like to invite you to attend IP Day 2016 and the Judges’ Dinner in Ottawa on Thursday, May 12. New for this year will be an IP diversity breakfast preceding the Federal Court Town Hall.

We are seeking new members to participate in our committees, particularly the Patents and Industrial Design, Biotechnology, Copyright Policy, Essay Competition, and Transactional IP committees.

As you can surmise, there are many opportunities to get involved in your IP Section and we strongly welcome your participation. If you have any questions or suggestions, please feel free to reach out to me directly at mala@joshilegal.com.

Best regards,
Mala Joshi
Chair, IP Section
Joshi Intellectual Property Law

IP Case Summaries

This edition of the e-newsletter summarizes 20 orders in intellectual property cases issued by the Federal Court and Federal Court of Appeal between April 1 and June 30, 2015.

Our thanks to the reviewers including Megan Hodges, Hung Nguyen, Kathryn May, Greg Moore, Rosamaria Longo, Tracey Doyle, Bria M. Brown, Pablo Tseng, Etienne de Villiers, Scott Widdowson, Peter W. Choe, Phil Goldbach, Kiernan A. Murphy, David Wood, Katie L. Wei and Alan Macek.

If you become aware of a decision issued by either court in the period that is not reviewed please advise us and we will include it in the next quarter.

The next edition of the case summary service will be covering cases for the period of July 1 to September 30, 2015.

Chantal Saunders
Chair, Newsletter Committee, National Intellectual Property Section
Borden Ladner Gervais LLP
Direct dial: 613-369-4783

Federal Courts Bench & Bar Liaison Committee

The Intellectual Property Section is represented on the Federal Courts Bench & Bar Liaison Committee by Angela Furlanetto. This national CBA committee provides a forum to raise issues of federal court practice with the Federal Court and Federal Court of Appeal judges and staff that are of concern to the Bar and to the Bench.

The next committee meeting is scheduled for November 6 in Ottawa. We are asking IP Section members who appear before the Federal Courts to provide us with their concerns, comments and feedback on issues of importance to their practice before those Courts.

Here is a link to the minutes of past Committee meetings, to give you a sense of the issues addressed. Please note that the Committee addresses only practice matters that fall outside the mandate of the Federal Court Rules Committee. Matters within the responsibility of Parliament or the government will be referred to a CBA Section for appropriate action.

Please contact Angela Furlanetto directly with your feedback.

Law Student Essay Contest – Intellectual Property

Do you want to:

  • Build your profile within the legal community?
  • Connect with senior members of the bar?
  • Hone your research and writing skills?
  • Win a cash prize?

Then enter the contest today!


  • Certificate and cash prize of $250
  • Complimentary registration for IP Day: May 16 in Ottawa ($450 value)
  • Ticket to the CBA IP Federal Court Judges’ Dinner in Ottawa ($250 value)
  • Publication on the CBA National Intellectual Property Section webpage
    (Limited funding may be available to assist with travel and accommodation if needed.)

Topics related to Canadian:

  • Intellectual property law


  • Students currently enrolled at a Canadian law school


  • February 29, 2016


CBA Young Lawyers International Program 2015-17

If you are aware of young lawyers who may be interested in applying for an international internship, please forward them the following link: http://www.cba.org/CBA/IDP/yiip/.

Intellectual Property Quarterly Case Summaries

Updated Case Summaries are now available: April 1 to July 31, 2015

IP Day 2015: Discussion, Debates and Dinner

IP Day 2015 was a tremendous success. Chief Justice Crampton and Justice Manson led an engaging Town Hall discussion with presentations from Justice Hughes, Justice Locke, Prothonotary Tabib, and Prothonotary Lafrenière. The Federal Court provided an update on Federal Court issues, including an update on the Rules Committee (and the various subcommittees thereto), prothonotary compensation and replacement, workload and scheduling, and the ongoing strategic plan.

The afternoon professional development session commenced with retired federal court justice Judith Snider as the luncheon speaker where she presented her insightful and witty Top 10 Tips for Litigators. This was followed by the IP Debates, which returned by popular demand. The IP Debates are a series of engaging and entertaining debates amongst various members of the Intellectual Property Bar.

The day’s grand finale was the Federal Courts Judges’ Dinner, honouring the extraordinary accomplishments of The Honourable John Evans and Mr. Bruce E. Morgan upon their retirements from the Courts and the Intellectual Property Bar. Pictures of the 2015 gala event can be viewed on the CBA Flickr page.

The IP Section Executive thanks and congratulates everyone who contributed to the success of IP Day, particularly the Federal Courts for their involvement with the Town Hall, John Cotter, Chair of the IP PD Committee, and Christopher Van Barr, Chair of the Court Practice Committee.

Don’t miss out on next year! Mark May 12 in your calendars now as the date for IP Day 2016.

Call for Committee Members

The National IP Section is seeking participation in its biotechnology and patent committees. Please contact staff liaison Inika Anderson if interested.

LinkedIn: All members are welcome to join our CBA Intellectual Property LinkedIn Group.

Winner of 2015 Law School Essay Competition
Congratulations Pradeepan! Pradeepan Sarma of McGill University, Faculty of Law, is the winner of the 2015 CBA National Intellectual Property Law School Essay Competition for his paper entitled, “Aereo Dynamics: ‘User Rights’ and the Future of Internet Retransmission in Canada”. Pradeepan will be recognized for his work at the IP Debates during IP Day in Ottawa.

Read the winning paper

Trademark Agent Exam Prep Course - March 6 to May 29, 2015

Top 5 IP issues of 2014
The last year has been a busy one for IP lawyers – from advising on new anti-spam legislation to observing passage of a new Combatting Counterfeiting bill. Toronto lawyer Mala Joshi takes us through the currents of change in 2014.

Top 5 IP trends to watch for in 2015
Toronto lawyer Mala Joshi lets us know what to watch for in the year ahead.

Request for Action: Please contact your MPs re: Bill C-31, Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 1, Part 6 Division 25 – Trade-marks Act amendments

We seek your assistance. Please contact your local MP to request that the impugned sections of Bill C-31 which impact the Trade-marks Act and Regulations implementing them be deferred or struck from the legislation altogether.

As many of you are aware, Bill C-31, among other things, fundamentally changes the nature of Canadian Trade-mark law. Of particular concern is the fact that Bill C-31 will allow an applicant for a trademark to obtain a registration without any requirement to use the trademark in Canada or elsewhere. To our knowledge there were never any specific consultations with any interested parties on the effect of these amendments. Although the CBA Intellectual Property Section made a formal submission and the Section appeared before the relevant Parliamentary subcommittee this past Spring, the Bill received Royal Assent in June 2014 without further amendment.

We are continuing our efforts to convince the government that the provisions of Bill C-31 relating to trademark use should not be proclaimed into force and deferred, pending full consultation with interested parties.

At this late stage in the legislative process, the steps that can be taken are limited. On behalf of the CBA Intellectual Property Section, Trade-marks Sub-Committee, we ask that you please contact your local MP and express your concerns regarding the substance and implementation of Bill C-31. Please email John McKeown, chair of the Trade-marks Subcommittee at mckeown@gsnh.com if you would like further details about this initiative.

CBA Intellectual Property Section on LinkedIn

In order to create networking opportunities and a forum for discussion and exchange on subjects relevant to our Section, we have recently created a group on LinkedIn. This professional networking site allows you to establish connections with other professionals interested in Intellectual Property law, share cases and accomplishments, and will provide the Section with another means to keep you up to date on Section activities. We look forward to meeting you on LinkedIn.

Opportunities for Involvement

General call for committee members
The Intellectual Property Section committees provide Section members with the opportunity to comment on proposed changes to legislation and regulatory policies, keep abreast of developments in intellectual property law and to network with others with similar interests. The Section committees depend on the contribution of Section members to deliver relevant services to members and to prepare submissions to legislative and regulatory bodies that reflect the full range of member perspectives.
View the mandate and current members of all Section committees.

We welcome you to join our committees by sending an e-mail to the Section, with indication of your reasons for wishing to join, acknowledgement of the committee mandate and guidelines (as posted on the CBA website), and an express acknowledgement that by applying, you are willing and able to be an active participant of that particular committee.

Committee Guidelines have been introduced in an attempt to encourage participation and increase productivity. These guidelines seek to maintain fair and transparent criteria for selection of Committee members.
View the Committee Guidelines.

Recent Submissions

More CBA Submissions

CBA PracticeLink and National Magazine Business and Corporate Edition – August 2015

Recent issues of the Business and Corporate Bulletin - from CBA PracticeLink and National Magazine.



Professional Development 

  • Missed a conference? See the Intellectual Property Section PD archive or purchase course materials through the CBA Store.



  • Save the date now for IP Day 2016: May 2016
  • Section Executive Meeting, May 2016 (Ottawa)



The Section is currently looking for articles for its next newsletter. If you would like to contribute to the next edition, please contact CBA Newsletters.

View previous newsletters



Law and practice relating to all forms of ownership, licensing, transfer and protection of intellectual property and related property rights, including patents, trademarks, copyright, industrial designs, plant breeders' rights, as well as trade secrets.

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