Privacy Code for Our Practice

Introduction

Privacy of personal information is an important principle in the provision of patent agency and legal services to our clients. We understand the importance of protecting your personal information. We are committed to collecting, using and disclosing your personal information responsibly. We also try to be as open and transparent as possible about the way we handle your personal information.

We have tried to make our office Privacy Code as easy to understand as possible. To ensure that you see how we are complying with the federal privacy legislation, the Personal Information and Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), our Privacy Code is organized to follow the Act’s ten interrelated principles that are the foundation of PIPEDA.

Definitions

Collection – The act of gathering, acquiring or obtaining personal information from any source, including third party sources by any means

Consent – A voluntary agreement with what is being done or is being proposed to be done. Consent can either be express or implied. Express consent may be given explicitly, either orally or in writing.

Disclosure – Making personal information available to others besides the lawyer or the patent agent, or office staff.

Legislation –Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA)

Office – The law office, ANISSIMOFF LAW and the Patent Agent Office, ANISSIMOFF & ASSOCIATES.

Client – An individual about whom the Office collects personal information in order to provide legal or patent agency services, or whatever services the individual has retained the Office to provide and which the Office has agreed to provide.

Personal Information – Information about a client that is recorded in any form, and this includes, inter alia: the client’s name, address, telephone number, social insurance number, fax number, e-mail address, gender, marital status, children, date of birth, occupation, financial or business files, insurance company, insurance coverage, history, occupation, place of work, employer.

Staff Member – Any individual employed by the Office that meets with clients and solicits Personal Information. This may include lawyers, clerks, patent agents, receptionists or students.

Privacy Information Officer – An individual designated by the Office who is responsible for this Privacy Code.

PIPEDA Principles

Principle 1: Accountability

Each Staff Member is responsible for information collected by him/her, or under his/her direction, and under his/her control.

Accountability for the Office’s compliance rests with the designated Privacy Information Officer, even though others in the office may be responsible for the day-to-day collection and processing of personal information.

The identity of the Privacy Information Officer, will be made known upon request.

The Office is responsible for information in our possession or custody, including information that has been transferred to a third party for processing. We will use contractual or other means to provide a comparable level of protection while the information is being accessed and/or processed by that third party.

Our office will implement policies and practices to give effect to the principles, including:

  • implementing policies to protect personal information;
  • establishing procedures to receive and respond to complaints and inquiries;
  • training staff about privacy policies and practices;
  • developing information to explain privacy policies and procedures.

Principle 2: Identifying Purposes for Collecting Information

The purposes for which personal information is collected in this office will be identified before or at the time the information is collected.

This office collects personal information for the following purposes:

  • to deliver the services for which we are retained
  • to identify and to ensure continuous high quality service
  • to assess the client’s needs
  • to provide patent agency or legal services
  • to advise the client of all available options
  • to establish and maintain communication with the client
  • to communicate with other service providers who we may need to contact in furtherance of the services we have been retained to provide the client
  • for teaching and demonstrating purposes on an anonymous basis
  • to comply with legal and regulatory requirements,
  • to comply with agreements/undertakings entered into voluntarily by the Staff Member with the Law Society of Upper Canada, Intellectual Property Institute of Canada, or other relevant professional organization, including the delivery and/or review of clients’ files to the Society or Institute in a timely fashion for regulatory and monitoring purposes,
  • to permit potential purchasers, brokers or advisors to evaluate the legal or patent agency practice
  • to allow potential purchasers, brokers or advisors to conduct an audit in preparation for a practice sale
  • to deliver client files and records to the Office’s insurance carrier to enable the insurance company to assess liability and quantify damages, if any
  • to invoice for goods and services
  • to collect unpaid accounts
  • to assist this office to comply with allregulatory requirements
  • to comply generally with the law

The Office will identify the purposes for which personal information is collected, at or before the time of collection. We will only collect that information necessary for the identified purposes.

The Staff Member collecting personal information will explain to the client the purpose for which the information is being collected.

The Staff Member will ensure that all clients sign the Client Consent Form. Clients will be deemed to understand and accept the Office’s collection, use and disclosure of their information for the specified purposes.

Principle 3: Consent

The Office will seek informed consent for the collection, use and/or disclosure of personal information, except where it might be inappropriate to obtain consent, and subject to some exceptions set out in law.

Consent is required for the collection of personal information and subsequent use or disclosure of that information.

Once consent is obtained, the Office does not need to seek consent again, unless the use, purpose or disclosure changes.

Consent for the collection, use and disclosure of personal information may be given in a number of ways, such as:

  • signed retainer form;
  • taken verbally over the telephone and then charted;
  • e-mail;
  • written correspondence.

You may withdraw consent upon reasonable notice.

Principle 4: Limiting Collection of Personal Information

The collection of personal information by the Office shall be limited to that which is necessary for the purposes identified in this Privacy Code.

Principle 5: Limiting Use, Disclosure and Retention

Personal information shall not be used or disclosed for purposes other than those for which the information is collected, except with the client’s express consent, or as required by law.

The Office has protocols in place for the retention of personal information.

Retention of information records is defined and referenced in Law Society of Upper Canada’s Code of Professional Conduct and elsewhere in statue depending on the particular field of practice.

In destroying personal information, our office has developed guidelines to ensure secure destruction in accordance with the regulations of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Intellectual Property Institute of Canada and the Laws of both the Province of Ontario and Canada.

Principle 6: Accuracy of Personal Information

The Office endeavours to ensure that client’s personal information is as accurate, complete, and as up-to-date as necessary for the purposes that it is to be used.

The extent to which personal information shall be accurate, complete and up-to-date will depend upon the use of the information, taking into account the interest of our clients.

Principle 7: Safeguards for Personal Information

Our office has taken appropriate measures to safeguard personal information from unauthorized access, disclosure, use or tampering.

Safeguards are in place to protect personal information against loss or theft, as well as unauthorized access, disclosure, copying, use or modification.

Personal information is protected, whether recorded on paper or electronically.

All Staff Members are aware of the importance of maintaining the confidentiality of personal information.

Care is used in the storage and destruction of personal information to prevent unauthorized access to the information even during disposal and destruction.

Principle 8: Openness about Privacy

The Office will make readily available to any client, specific information about our office policies and practices relating to the management of personal information.

This information includes:

  • a Client Information Sheet that outlines the name of the Privacy Information Officer who is accountable for our office privacy policies. This is the person to whom you can direct any questions or complaints. The Information Sheet also describes how to access your personal information held in this office;
  • a copy of our Client Consent Form that explains how this office collects, uses and discloses your personal information;
  • our office Privacy Code

Principle 9: Client Access to Personal Information

Upon written request and with reasonable notice, an inquiring party shall be informed of the existence, use and disclosure of their personal information, and shall be given access to that information.

Upon written request and with reasonable notice, our office will advise any inquiring party whether or not we hold personal information about them.

Our office shall allow such parties access to this information.Upon written request and with reasonable notice, our office shall provide any inquiring party with an accounting of how their personal information has been used, including third party disclosures. In providing this information, we will attempt to be as specific as possible.

When it is not possible to provide a list of the organizations or individuals to which there has been disclosure, we will provide a list of such organizations or individuals to which we may have disclosed information about you. Disclosure of probabilities in these cases would satisfy this requirement.

We will respond to requests within a reasonable period of time, and at minimal or no cost. The request for information will be provided or made available in a form that is generally understandable.

Each Staff Member will comply with the regulations of the Law Society of Upper Canada and/or the Intellectual Property Institute of Canada, as appropriate that define client access to records.

Clients are free to challenge the accuracy and completeness of the information and seek to have it altered, amended, or changed. This process is explained in the Client Information Sheet.

When a challenge is not resolved to the client’s satisfaction, we will record the substance of the unresolved challenge.

When appropriate, the existence of the unresolved challenge shall be transmitted to third parties having access to the information in question. This disclosure may be appropriate where a Staff Member has been challenged about services rendered.

Principle 10: Challenging Compliance

Clients shall be able to challenge compliance with these principles with the Office’s Privacy Information Officer who is accountable for the Office’s compliance. The Office has in place procedures to receive and respond to complaints or inquiries.

This information, including the name of our office’s Privacy Information Officer, is included in the Client Information Sheet, available on request.

The procedures are easily accessible and simple to use.

The Office has an obligation to inform clients who make inquiries about how to access the privacy complaint process in our offices, and about how to access that process. This information is outlined in the Client Information Sheet.

The Privacy Information Officer in our office will investigate each and every complaint made to the office in writing.

If a complaint is found to be justified, the Privacy Information Officer will take appropriate measures, including, if necessary, amending any office policies and practices.

Clients will be provided with information about how to contact the Privacy Commissioner of Canada to forward any unresolved complaint. This information is included in the Client Information Sheet, available on request.

 

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