Brion Raffoul wishes all the budding scientists, computer scientists, engineers, and mathematicians a Happy National STEM Day. Without STEM careers, patent law would not have developed to what we know it as today. If any budding scientists or engineers need some motivation to continue on the STEM path, here are some historical Canadian patents for inspiration!
For example, one of the first electric light prototypes (before Edison’s) was patented in 1874 by Canadian inventors Henry Woodward and Mathew Evans. Unable to secure investors, Woodward sold the rights to the US Patent to Edison in 1879. Edison later bought a share in the Canadian rights.
A fantasy novel set in Toronto is the centre of a trademark controversy. The cover of James Bow’s new book, The Night Girl, features shadowy fantastical figures running along a rooftop with the iconic CN Tower on their left. The image of the CN Tower was obtained from a stock photo site under a Creative Commons license.
But, to the surprise of Bow and the book’s publishers, the CN Tower’s owner is alleging that the cover violates their trademark. According to representatives of Canada Lands Company Ltd. (CLCL), the Crown corporation that manages the CN Tower, every image of the CN Tower is protected as a trademark. They are asking that the cover be redesigned for subsequent print runs, but Bow and his publishers are pushing back.
A lawyer for Bow is asking CLCL to drop the matter. Ren Bucholz points out that ‘confusion’ is the basic yardstick for trademark infringement, and that The Night Girl is a fantasy novel “featuring a strong female protagonist who helps trolls and goblins succeed in the human world through her work at an employment agency”, rather than a guidebook or map. It is unlikely, according to Bucholz, that anyone would see this cover and think that CLCL believes the CN Tower to be overrun with trolls.
The matter is still ongoing, but one thing is clear: stock
photo licenses might not always tell the full story.
IAMPATENT1000 is one of the most respected rankings for patent professionals globally because of peer review in validating its research. The IAMPATENT1000 published the following about Brion Raffoul:
Ottawa-based IP specialist Brion Raffoul is the recipient of emphatic feedback from the market: “Its professionals are extremely organised, proactive and very easy to work with. They have an excellent grasp of their subjects, execute with speed and precision, all while being very responsive.” Cited as being “entrepreneurial and driven practitioners with world-class skills”, Art Brion and Natalie Raffoul form the fulcrum around which the practice turns. Brion is an influential figure in the start-up community and a sought-after representative for companies spun off from universities. Business methods and software patents are bread and butter for Raffoul, who is a “creative, cost-effective, efficient and solutions-oriented partner”.