Best Computer & IT lawyers in Canada as ranked by Lexpert
Computer & IT Lawyers advise clients, and for some, conduct litigation on a number of matters, including the following: intellectual property — the protection of software, multimedia products, electronic databases and other information-based assets through copyright, patent, trade secret and trademark laws; criminal law — the manner in which Canada's Criminal Code applies to computer crime activities such as hacking and virus implantation; regulatory laws — the regulation of data protection/privacy, the control of high technology exports, and the regulation of the Internet; commercial law — the impact of contract, competition, sales, bankruptcy and tax laws on the distribution and sale of computers and information-based products and services, including the drafting and negotiation of a wide variety of agreements for the supply of computer-based resources; and electronic commerce/Internet law — the contract, evidence, libel and other laws impacted and challenged by our transformation from a paper-based to a computer/electronic-network-based society.
Through modernisation, globalisation, and the fast economy, the cyberspace has evolved in many unprecedented ways which many people have not foreseen. With these developments comes the laws which generally governs our interactions with each other through the “web” or in the “cloud”, and the computer and IT lawyers who practice this law.
The branch of laws which impact computer and IT lawyers
This branch or area of law may come in different names or terms:
However, these laws may be defined as laws which govern an individual’s or an organisation’s conduct on the internet; the use, transfer, and collection of information through the internet; or, laws governing e-commerce.
What does a computer and IT lawyer do?
A computer lawyer or an IT lawyer is basically concerned about electronic information and may specifically work in one or multiple fields of intellectual property (IP) rights; privacy; cybercrimes; telecommunications; and torts and damages.
Contracts are established through a simple transaction on the internet, especially in e-commerce, such as when buying something or availing of a service online. These “contracts”, even though not physically prepared and signed, are manifested not only between an online provider/vendor and an online customer, but also with the product manufacturers, the physical couriers, or other parties involved in a single or series of transactions.
Computer lawyers or IT lawyers are knowledgeable to enforce these contracts when expressly or impliedly created, such as service agreements or outsourcing contracts, when there’s breach, or when there’s complaints or grievances regarding these contracts. Problems mainly arise about payments but also out of its warranties and guarantees.
Intellectual Property (IP) Rights Law
Intellectual property rights are rights of a person, group of persons, corporations, or organisations with respect his/her/their original creations. Computer lawyers or IT lawyers are concerned with the application of patents, trademarks or licenses, and the registration of copyrights of the original work of these groups or individuals.
The registration or application is done according to the federal regulations of Canada, specifically with the Canadian Intellectual Property Office, in relation with the international treaties and conventions regarding IP rights if there is an international law component in said registration or application.
Corollary with registration and application, litigation is also a part of IP rights law, where the original patents, trademarks, or copyrights of an original owner is illegally used by a competitor. Computer lawyers or IT lawyers also ensure that the persons or groups they represent are also not in contravention of IP law or IP rights of others.
Privacy law can be applied in two ways:
In Canada, cybercrimes are governed by different laws and jurisdictions, which is discussed below. In general, an IT lawyer or computer lawyer ensure that violators of cybercrimes do not go unpunished; and similarly, that persons, corporations, or organizations do not become violators themselves, and that systems are in place prevent internal cybercrimes from occurring.
Government regulations on telecommunications or service providers in Canada are mainly provided under the Telecommunications Act. The Act is implemented by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (or the CRTC), which is under the Industry Canada. IT and computer lawyers guide telecommunication companies with the observance of the Act, and litigations against the government or private individuals when the Act has been violated.
What other areas do computer & IT lawyers impact?
In the judicial sector, computer systems and information communication technology (or ICT) may improve the administrative or bureaucratic system to provide a speedy, reliable and economical disposition of justice. A technology lawyer may help through this process of infusing ICT and the justice system, along with professional computer and IT programmers. This may in the form of:
Technology lawyers ensure that laws are not violated during these processes, and that the integrity of the judicial system is still maintained.
What laws do computer an IT lawyers focus on?
In Canada, there are multiple laws governing cyber security and IT, from federal laws to laws in respective provinces or territories. These are just some of the laws that a computer lawyer or an IT lawyer have a good grasp of.
Canada’s Criminal Code provides for different crimes which may be committed using computers or the internet. The following are some of the acts prohibited by the said Code:
Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA)
PIPEDA is the federal legislation which protects employees’ personal information against their employers from disclosing or using this personal information. The Act may either apply to federally regulated organizations or to private-sector organisations.
Canadian Anti-Spam Law (CASL)
The CASL provides prohibitions against unwarranted sending of commercial electronic messages. It also contains provisions against software installation during commercial activities, including provisions aimed at viruses and spyware.
What are the laws of IT infrastructure?
Bill C-26 is Canada’s proposed bill respecting cyber security and IT infrastructure. Its major propositions are (1) the amendment of the Telecommunications Act and other legislation; and (2) the implementation of the Critical Cyber Systems Protection Act (the CCSPA).
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