Québec Finally Does Away with Requirement to Register International Contests Here

On June 2, 2021, Québec amended the rules as to the Loi sur les loteries, les concours publicitaires et les appareils d’amusement, so as to exempt international contests (i.e. held from outside the province and also opened to foreigners outside of Canada) from being declared to Québec’s Régie des alcools des courses et des jeux (the “RACJ”).

This change will also exempt foreign businesses from having to pay fees to the RACJ that are (were) calculated on the value of prizes.

Until now, the sponsors or holders of international contests often excluded Québec residents from participating in promotional contests they held, so as to avoid the hassle of complying with the Québec statute at issue -and pay the related fees. From now on, provided the business is from outside Québec and holds a contest that is opened to residents of other countries, the RACJ will consider that it does not need to hear about it or otherwise deal with it.

It is hoped this may incite multinationals from refraining, in the future, to (almost systematically) exclude Québec residents from participating in their various promotional contests.

CIPO Ends Regional Courier Services Counters

The Canadian Intellectual Property Office (“CIPO“) recently elected to abandon its practice of allowing third parties, such as applicants and agents, to send correspondence and documents through regional counters, considered until now as “Designated Establishments”.

This change will be effective August 16, 2021.

Until now, those who needed to exchange with CIPO otherwise than by fax or electronically, could avoid having to resort to mailing stuff, by visiting a counter in certain major Canadian cities (e.g. Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver, etc.), in order to hand-in their documents. This will no longer be possible, once this change comes into effect.

This may happen, for example, to documents and evidence to be submitted in opposition or Section 45 proceedings which may not be sent by fax, due to the limitations of this antiquated technology. From now, if it gets to that, CIPO will expect use of registered mail or the like to send-in your documents.

On the bright side, CIPO is providing us with more and more links and forms which may now be used to communicate electronically and, hopefully, having to resort to obsolete means such as the fax and the mail.

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.