Because intellectual property issues arise in a wide variety of contexts, Stikeman Elliott takes a multi-disciplinary approach to the practice of this area of law. Our Intellectual Property Group is composed of a team of dynamic and highly creative professionals who bring a wide range of training and experience to this and related practice areas.
How Our Strengths Work For Our Clients
New technologies and new ideas drive today's economy, which makes intellectual property a key factor in business success. While intellectual property is especially vital for high-technology firms, its importance cuts across industry sectors as well as national boundaries. Businesses have a growing need for innovative legal advisers in Canada and around the world to help them exploit their intellectual property to the fullest extent and in as many markets as possible while reducing the risks of that exploitation.
Among the areas in which Stikeman Elliott provides intellectual property expertise and assistance are:
Registration of trademarks, patents, industrial designs and copyrights
Stikeman Elliott regularly files Canadian trademark, patent, industrial design and copyright applications on behalf of clients and assists in filing similar applications applied for in other countries.
Acquisition, protection and exploitation of intellectual property rights, in Canada and abroad
Stikeman Elliott counsels Canadian and foreign clients on the manner in which they may protect their intellectual property, acquire the intellectual property of others and best exploit their intellectual property portfolio. We also regularly advise clients and draft agreements on the franchising, licensing and assignment of intellectual property rights in a wide variety of contexts, including character licensing, as well as agreements respecting merchandising, sponsorship, and use of intellectual property as security. Stikeman Elliott has also acted for clients with regard to clarifying ownership of rights in major international sporting and entertainment events.
Intellectual property litigation
Stikeman Elliott represents clients in all areas of intellectual property litigation, including trademark, patent, industrial designs or copyright infringement actions before Canadian courts and proceedings before administrative tribunals such as the Trademarks Opposition Board, the Copyright Board and the Patent Medicine Prices Review Board.
Stikeman Elliott represents clients in a variety of corporate transactions, such as licensing, public offerings, joint ventures, mergers, acquisitions and divestitures, many of which involve significant intellectual property rights. The Intellectual Property Group works with corporate, tax, trade and other lawyers to evaluate intellectual property aspects of corporate transactions, such as carrying out intellectual property due diligence searches in corporate acquisitions and assisting clients throughout the transfer of technology process. We have acted in a divestiture of flight simulation technology, an acquisition of rights in a manufacturing business in the food sector, and in a global acquisition of a leading specialty chemical business.
Advanced technology interests
Stikeman Elliott has been increasingly called upon by clients to assist them with the intellectual property implications of their involvement in advanced technologies, such as computer software or hardware, multimedia productions, tele-communications, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology, to name a few. To this end, we have negotiated and drafted licence, distribution, maintenance and support, confidentiality, joint development and research agreements, as well as employment and other agreements setting out the rights of business enterprises - both established and budding - as well as the rights of their founders, employees and contractors. In the computer industry, Stikeman Elliott has acted on behalf of OEMs, VARs, system integrators, retailers, software developers and users. We also have attended to the full range of needs of clients specializing in the public distribution of data encryption and decryption hardware, software and firmware intended for commercial transmission of signals. Finally, international clients also rely on our global perspective and expertise in such areas as trans-border data flow to assist them with technology transfers.
Intellectual property on the Internet
Stikeman Elliott has represented clients with respect to a variety of Internet matters, including a public offering for a major Internet provider, drafting online agreements, data protection, potential liability for copyright infringement and the regulatory environment applicable to the Internet. Among the Internet regulatory issues in respect of which we have given advice are the protection of intellectual property rights, freedom of speech, the implications of the application of new audio-visual technologies to the Internet, gambling on the Internet, and the applicability of Canada's collective copyright regime to copyrighted works accessible on the Internet.
Trade secrets and confidential information
Stikeman Elliott regularly advises clients on how to protect trade secrets and confidential information in a variety of situations, including with respect to contracting out of services, departing employees and joint ventures, and also acts on behalf of clients in trade secrets litigation.
Entertainment and cultural industries
Stikeman Elliott has worked with a variety of clients in such diverse entertainment and cultural areas as endorsements, print, music and audiovisual publishing and performance, telecommunications, and multimedia productions.
Public Policy and Advocacy
Clients frequently consult Stikeman Elliott to assist them in monitoring, understanding and influencing ongoing policy developments in a number of intellectual property areas. Stikeman Elliott is very active in negotiations concerning amendments to Canadian intellectual property legislation, in particular the Copyright Act. Drawing largely on our Ottawa office, which is the heart of Stikeman Elliott's regulatory practice, clients regularly benefit from our experience and understanding of the federal legislative and regulatory processes.
Value-Added Client Resources
As part of our effort to remain at the forefront of client service, we have developed an intellectual property and technology law focused blog, www.CanadianTechnologyIPLaw.com, the first major site of its kind to be launched by any of the leading national law firms in Canada. The blog provides information and commentary on Canadian intellectual property and technology law developments including: outsourcing, e-commerce, corporate transactions and privacy. The site is fully searchable with extensive archived materials, indexed by topic, and allows users to subscribe for updates via email, RSS feed or Twitter. The blog is available at www.CanadianTechnologyIPLaw.com.