The Canadian Privacy Law Blog: Developments in privacy law and writings of a Canadian privacy lawyer, containing information related to the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (aka PIPEDA) and other Canadian and international laws.

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The author of this blog, David T.S. Fraser, is a Canadian privacy lawyer who practices with the firm of McInnes Cooper. He is the author of the Physicians' Privacy Manual. He has a national and international practice advising corporations and individuals on matters related to Canadian privacy laws.

For full contact information and a brief bio, please see David's profile.

Please note that I am only able to provide legal advice to clients. I am not able to provide free legal advice. Any unsolicited information sent to David Fraser cannot be considered to be solicitor-client privileged.

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The views expressed herein are solely the author's and should not be attributed to his employer or clients. Any postings on legal issues are provided as a public service, and do not constitute solicitation or provision of legal advice. The author makes no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained herein or linked to. Nothing herein should be used as a substitute for the advice of competent counsel.

This web site is presented for informational purposes only. These materials do not constitute legal advice and do not create a solicitor-client relationship between you and David T.S. Fraser. If you are seeking specific advice related to Canadian privacy law or PIPEDA, contact the author, David T.S. Fraser.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Patent petitions reveal inventors' data 

Thanks again for Rob Hyndman pointing me to an intersting story with a privacy angle ...

A couple days ago, the Washington Times reported on the sorts of weird information that may be available in public patent files. It appears that inventors who fail to renew their patents are required to provide a reason why in order to renew without interruption. The files containing their submission are open to the public and contain an ecclectic range of very personal information to support the inventors' failure to renew:

Patent petitions reveal inventors' data:

"More than 1,000 inventors petition to reclaim their patent rights each year. Inventors typically provide the information to prove that hardship prevented them from paying their maintenance fees on time. The fees range from $450 for independent inventors to up to $3,800 for large companies.

The records, which are not required but frequently are submitted as supporting documentation, include divorce decrees, tax returns, records of psychological therapy, professional license suspensions, hospital bills, credit reports, telephone numbers and home addresses.

Richard Pierce, a Brea, Calif., resident who owns a patent on a device to help emergency responders administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation with flashing light signals, has his credit report listed in patent office records...."


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