U.S. Offers $10M Reward to Help Fight Against Ransomware

The U.S. started cranking-up the heat on cybercriminals responsible for recent important ransomware attacks on American businesses and organizations. This include offering a reward for millions of dollars to anyone who provides specific information as to the criminals behind those recent attacks.

The move is part of several initiatives by the U.S. to try and start getting a handle on the problem of ransomware, a problem which is fast reaching epidemic proportions. Who knows, large rewards like these may help motivate citizens and businesses to investigate recent attacks and, who knows, even track down those responsible for these cyberattacks. Can’t hurt!

In addition to those rewards, it seems the U.S. is also continuing to tighten banking regs (to squeeze those trying to cash cryptocurrency paid as ransom) and increase international collaboration.

It is hoped initiatives such as these may help obtain more information, in particular, as to recent sophisticated attacks which were, more than likely, sponsored by foreign States such as Russia, China and North Korea.

Canada a Little Closer to Recognising Right to be Forgotten

The Federal Court recently issued a decision further to a reference triggered by the Privacy Commissioner and involving Google, and in particular the extent to which search engine may be considered businesses that are governed by rules pertaining to the protection of personal information. In short: yes, Google should be considered a normal business and, yes, search engines may be considered as holding and using personal information.

In practice, one consequence of the recent ruling at issue is that individuals the personal data of whom is held and displayed by the likes of Google, when third parties make searches on the Web, would seem to be covered by normal rules requiring that the information be up-to-date, exact and still relevant. In short, in certain cases, it could be that individuals may require search engines to stop their algorithms from referencing inaccurate or obsolete information.

Though the Federal Court decision at issue was technically NOT about the right to be forgotten, this judgment does open the way for Canadians to claim a right to deindexation of erroneous or obsolete Web search results, akin to the right to be forgotten that European law now grants citizens. This could happen with or without legislative changes to provide for it expressly.

Though people are already invoking the right to have stuff about them deindexed (by search engines), for now, providers like Google aren’t too keen to start recognizing that such a right does indeed exist in the U.S. or Canada. Now, as the Privacy Commissioner starts investigating and processing complaints about search engine results, to be seen whether a right to deindexation will indeed materialize in Canada, and how fast.

Canadian Trademarks Office Updates Rules on Refusing Extensions of Delays

According to a new practice notice published by CIPO this week, the Trademarks Office (the “TMO“) will no longer grant extensions, as a matter of course, when an applicant needs more than 6 months to respond to an examination report.

As you may remember, until now, the TMO allowed applicants to request one (1) extension of delay, without having to show cause or provide any sort of real explanation. This allowed applicants to get 12 months to respond to the report of an examiner who objected to the registration of the mark at issue. From now, however, the TMO will require applicants to show the existence of “exceptional circumstances” if they want to obtain such an extension. No more of those quasi-automatic extensions, if you will.

No doubt tired of being stuck with average registration delays that we can’t seem to get under control, CIPO basically decided to opt for the homework approach: if the teacher gives you until Friday, you have until Friday -or the dog better really have eaten your homework.

The notice repeats some previously published typical examples of what may be considered “exceptional circumstances”, adding that the concept will apply not only to responding to office actions from an examiner, but also to cases where the TMO is asking a registrant to classify the goods/services associated with his/her/its trademark according to the Nice classification.

Interestingly, the notice also explains (as a similar notice did last year) that, due to a technicality, applicants should note that no governmental fees will generally be payable to request an extension to respond to an examiner report, as the delays at issue are not technically provided by the statute or its regulation. Good to know.