Monthly Archives: June 2009

No love for Amazon’s One Click patent in Canada

Michael Geist reports on an important recent decision of the Canadian Patent Appeal Board (CPAB) regarding business method patents. These are patents that companies started collecting in the United States in the 1990s but which have not been embraced as enthusiastically in Canada. The most notorious business method is probably’s patent on the method of processing a customer’s online order in one click.

At first blush, the CPAB could have relied on the Manual of Patent Office Practice to support’s claim for a business method patent.  The 2005 Manual provides that “[business] methods are not automatically excluded from patentability, since there is no authority in the Patent Act or Rules or in the jurisprudence to sanction or preclude patentability.”

Yet the panel delivered very strong language rejecting the mere possibility of business method patents under Canadian law.  The panel noted that “since patenting business methods would involve a radical departure from the traditional patent regime, and since the patentability of such methods is a highly contentious matter, clear and unequivocal legislation is required for business methods to be patentable.”

In applying that analysis to the one-click patent, the panel concluded that “concepts or rules for the more efficient conduct of online ordering, are methods of doing business. Even if these concepts or rules are novel, ingenious and useful, they are still unpatentable because they are business methods.”


Read the whole post here.

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CRTC extends exemption for new media and calls for a national digital strategy

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (the CRTC) today released a very important decision reviewing their original New Media decision of 1999. In the 2009 review of that decision, the CRTC has essentially extended their policy of not regulating new media.

OTTAWA-GATINEAU —The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) today announced that, after a careful examination and a full process, it will maintain its approach for broadcasting content distributed over the Internet and through mobile devices. The Commission will continue to exempt new media broadcasting services from its regulation and monitor trends as they evolve.

“While broadcasting in new media is growing in importance, we do not believe that regulatory intervention is necessary at this time,” said Konrad von Finckenstein, Q.C., Chairman of the CRTC. “We found that the Internet and mobile services are acting in a complementary fashion to the traditional broadcasting system. Any intervention on our part would only get in the way of innovation.”


Read the full release and decision for details. Basically, the Commission was not convinced in the hearing process that regulation was needed in this sector. But there will be some changes. For one, it will be five years, not another 10, before they review this again. And they are asking the Federal Court of Appeal to clarify whether internet service providers are subject to the Broadcasting Act if they provide access to traditional broadcasting content.

But most intriguing is the CRTC’s endorsement of the National Film Board’s call for a national digital strategy, as some countries already have in place. New media itself has evolved tremendously since the CRTC first considered it 10 years ago, and is likely to change even more dramatically before they reconsider this decision in 2014. Let’s make sure there is a national policy in place before then to ensure a safe market for innovative media developers.

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POST is a systematic approach to social media strategy

What do most companies do wrong when they enter the social world? No, it’s not that they’re being fake, or don’t “get it.” It’s that they don’t really know their objectives.

Is your company doing its social strategy backwards?

If you started by saying “we should do a blog” or “we should create a page on a social network” or “we should create a community” the answer is probably yes.

In any other business endeavor we start by figuring out what we want to accomplish. Social technologies are not magic. They accomplish things, too. It’s time to stop doing social because it’s cool. It’s time to start doing it because it’s effective.


Absolutely critical for any company’s social media strategy. If you find that you are on facebook and twitter but you still don’t know why they’re valuable to your business, this post may help you understand why and what you can do about it.

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Contribute your Ideas for a Roundtable on E-Democracy

On June 11, 2009, I will be leading a “Roundtable on E-Democracy” on Parliament Hill in Ottawa for parliamentarians . At that meeting, I want to present and discuss the ideas that I heard people talking about at ChangeCamp Ottawa. But instead of just writing an outline for a presentation/discussion based on the topics that I think are important in terms of citizen engagement, I thought I would use some of the very technology that has sparked an interest in citizen participation, like

So if you’re interested in how changing technologies, trends, behaviours, expectations and standards present challenges and solutions for citizen engagement with government in Canada, please head over to this very easy-to-use page at and contribute your thoughts. And please pass on the link — the more people who contribute, the more I can bring your thoughts to decision makers on the Hill.

When you get there, please feel free to add to the list of topics, take topics out, move them around, restructure the list, or even suggest formats for delivering the information to the intended audience. If you want to, you can do it anonymously. If you leave me your name or handle, I’ll give you credit at the Roundtable.

Once again, you can find the page to edit right here.

Thank you,

[image “Peace Tower Clockby jpctalbot licensed under a Creative Commons licence]
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