Saturday, December 18, 2010

Anti-spam law enacted in Canada

On Wednesday, Canada becomes the final G8 country to have laws specifically targeting unsolicited email marketing (spam).

Being a Canadian law, it only applies to spam originating from Canada. So while it may not make that much difference in the number of spam arriving in your inbox daily promoting hot Russian software, it does mean that Canadian businesses will need to be more careful when marketing their products and services to the Canadian public lest they contravene the new anti-spam law and subject themselves to a fine.

Under the new anti-spam law, commercial electronic marketing messages may only be sent when the recipient has consented, explicitly or implicitly, to receiving it.

Consent may be implied if:
  • there is an existing relationship between the sender and the recipient, business-related or otherwise;
  • the recipient has published his email address without an accompanying statement that he does not wish to receive unsolicited commercial electronic messages at that electronic address, and the message is relevant to the person's business, role, functions or duties in a business or official capacity; and
  • the recipient has disclosed his email address to the sender without indicating a wish not to receive unsolicited commercial electronic messages at that email address, and the message is relevant to the person's business, role, functions or duties in a business or official capacity.
Moreover, the format of the message must:
  • identify the person who sent the message, including contact information;
  • identify the person, if any, on whose behalf the message is sent, including contact information;
  • set out an unsubscribe mechanism; and
  • ensure that all contact information referred to above is valid for a minimum of 60 days after the message has been sent.
Violations of the anti-spam law may be made to the CRTC. Additionally, the new anti-spam law includes a private right of action allowing anyone to apply to a court to pursue violators.

The anti-spam law is anticipated to come into force in the fall of 2011, after regulations are in place.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

RIM v. Kik part 2

Yesterday, RIM launched a suit against Kik Interactive for patent infringement.

I just had a look at the statement of claim (available here), and it looks like there's more to the story than simply patent infringement.

Not only does RIM allege that Kik infringed the following Canadian Patents:

It also looks like Ted Livingston, the CEO of Kik interactive, worked at RIM as part of the BBM group in 2007 to 2008. RIM alleged that Ted had access to confidential information regarding BBM development, future plans, and technology and used them to his benefit.

RIM also alleged that Kik had, without obtaining user consent, transmitted end users' personal information, including information from their address books, to Kik's servers and then used that information to send spam.

This is going to be an interesting case to watch, as RIM will certainly ask for an injunction to stop Kik from distributing its software across not only BlackBerry, but all other mobile platforms as well.

RIM sues Kik for patent infringement

If you've been following BlackBerry news lately, you know that Kik Messenger was booted out of the Blackberry app store by RIM on Nov 12, for "breaching contractual obligations".

Kik is an in instant messaging service, much like RIM's BlackBerry Messenger (BBM).  Just like BBM, Kik Messenger also has little indicators that shows when a message has been sent, delivered, read, and even when a user is typing a message.  With 2.5 million users after only a month in existence, Kik certainly presents a credible threat to BBM if it continues to gain users at such a rapid pace.

It looks like RIM just upped the ante on Kik.  On Nov 30, lawyers for Research in Motion filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Kik in Canada's Federal Court in Toronto, in court file T-1996-10.  I haven't read the Statement of Claim outlining RIM's allegations against Kik yet, but I suspect that the patent at issue covers a messaging platform that provides sent, delivered, read, and typing indicators.

And if a Canadian suit has been filed, a US patent infringement suit can't be far behind.  RIM is likely to have a US patent with claims similar in scope as the Canadian patent in T-1996-10.

Update: I took a look at the statement of claim, and it's not just patent infringement that's at issue.

Update 2: Kik has now filed their statement of defence and counterclaim.