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Gowling WLG’s ‘very strong bench’ and ‘good depth of experience in key areas’ marks it as a ‘definite top-tier IP team in Canada’. The sizeable group is among the market’s largest and is represented nationally throughout the firm’s extensive seven-office network — it also plugs into the firm’s global practice. Trademark expert Robert MacDonald jointly leads the IP department and handles the full spread of trademark prosecution, licensing, opposition and contentious matters; he teamed up with IP litigator Christopher Van Barr (‘a leader in his field’) and Martha Savoy to advise Sport Maska (doing business as Reebok-CCM Hockey) in a dispute with Bauer Hockey concerning a motion to intervene in a non-use cancellation proceeding. Anthony Creber is a ‘thoroughbred IP litigator’ and, with Marc Richard, represented Eli Lilly in a claim brought by Teva alleging damages for being kept off the market with its generic version of Lilly’s Zyprexa product. Named lawyers are based in Ottawa.

‘Probably the leading IP firm in Canada’, Smart & Biggar garners rave reviews for its ‘top-quality lawyers’ and its ‘ability to turn its hand to any file in the IP space’. On the trademark front, Toronto-based Mark Evans is a ‘crackerjack lawyer’ and leverages strong experience in precedent-setting cases; he recently represented Randy River in its successful trademark infringement action against Mint Accessories. In Montreal, François Guay had a banner year, which included acting alongside Ottawa’s Jeremy Want to successfully defend Bauer Hockey in a patent litigation case brought by Swedish helmet technology company, MIPS. Guay also paired up with Toronto-based ‘up-and-coming partner’ Mark Biernacki to advise the group of plaintiffs, including Bell Canada and Rogers Communications, in a case brought against the operator of a television content piracy platform. Ottawa-based managing partner Steven Garland and Toronto-based life sciences specialist Gunars Gaikis are also top choices for complex matters.

Boutique firm Bereskin & Parr LLP practises IP law exclusively from its four platforms in Toronto, Mississauga, Kitchener and Montreal. The ‘very professional and practical group’ packs a punch in all the key areas, with its general capability in patents, trademark and copyright matters combining with specialist industry sector expertise in areas such as automotive, cannabis, chemicals, computer technology and life sciences. Toronto’s Daniel Bereskin QC is recognized as a leading light in the trademark area and teamed up with trademark group co-lead Jonathan Colombo to advise Birch Hill Equity Partners on the IP-related aspects of its $110m acquisition of CCM Hockey from adidas. Senior IP litigators Donald Cameron and Donald MacOdrum are also noted.

Among DLA Piper (Canada) LLP’s key attributes, clients applaud its ‘fast response times and customer focus’ as well as its ability to ‘understand and deliver both value and efficiency’. High-profile IP litigator Ronald Dimock is an active figure in the group; he and Sangeetha Punniyamoorthy are representing Hungary-based multinational Richter Gedeon in defending allegations made by Apotex that it, along with a co-defendant, interfered with the supply of famotidine to Apotex. Elsewhere, Canadian IP co-chair Bruce Stratton paired up with Alan Macek to represent Canadian toy giant Spin Master in a patent infringement action against Mattel regarding an expandable toy. Vancouver-based department co-chair Chris Bennett and the ‘very client-oriented’ Geoffrey Mowatt are also recommended. Named lawyers are based in Toronto unless otherwise stated.

‘Exceptionally strong IP litigation firm’, Goodmans, which is best known for its close relationship with Apotex, ‘stands as one of the leading patent litigation practices in the country’, according to many. Its ‘all-star bench’ on the contentious side includes go-to specialist Harry Radomski (‘the best patent litigator in Canada’); Andrew brodkin (‘one of the fastest litigators on his feet’); and Dino Clarizio (‘a top-notch strategist’). Among its key files, the team represented Apotex in a string of patent matters over the past year including in a case brought by AstraZeneca relating to the esomeprazole drug. Amalia Berg (‘extremely responsive, knowledgeable and business-minded’) heads the non-contentious side of the practice and manages the Canadian trademark portfolios of Asahi Europe, Archer-Daniels-Midland and Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts, among others.

A ‘leading IP litigation firm’, McCarthy Tétrault also handles a broad mix of IP prosecution and other non-contentious patent, trademark and copyright matters. The litigation side of the practice, which is commended for its ‘intense concentration of talent’, is led by the ‘effective and pragmatic’ Steven Mason; he is representing the National Football League, Bell Canada, Bell Media and their affiliates in two closely watched copyright appeals stemming from their challenge to the decision by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to ban the practice of simultaneous substitution for the Super Bowl. Alfred Macchione is a key contact for non-contentious work and provides ongoing advice to Constellation Software on trademark portfolio strategy, branding and prosecution. Senior technology specialist Barry Sookman and IP litigator David Tait are also highly regarded.

Norton Rose Fulbright’s ‘very knowledgeable and deep’ group stands out for ‘its excellent expertise and  cost-to-value ratio’, according to sources. The national practice, which benefits from well-staffed platforms throughout the country, is well versed in the full spread of IP-related matters but is particularly prominent in litigation. Montreal-based department lead Judith Robinson is ‘one of the leading litigators in her field’ and represented a client in a judicial review. In Toronto, senior partner Patrick E. Kierans and the ‘excellent’ Kristin Wall represented two biotech clients, as interveners, before the Supreme Court of Canada in a leading patent case. Toronto’s Allyson Whyte Nowak and Vancouver-based Chris Wilson are also recommended.

Ottawa-headquartered boutique Aitken Klee LLP is an ‘impressive IP litigation outfit’ staffed by ’very capable litigators’. The practice, which is widely admired for its track record in complex patent litigation, houses broad expertise spanning pharmaceuticals, medical products, IT and natural resources. Ottawa-based David Aitken is a recognized expert in patent litigation in the life sciences space and — together with Toronto’s Jonathan Stainsby and Ottawa’s Bryan Norrie — successfully represented Teva Canada in securing damages against Eli Lilly Canada in a case concerning Teva’s olanzapine product.

The ‘extremely responsive and business-savvy’ Bennett Jones LLP is held up by multinational clients as a ‘preferred agent for trademark matters in Canada’. The team’s patent capability is equally robust and it also handles designs, copyright and trade secrets. In Calgary, Martin Kratz QC is a senior figure and advised Triwest Capital Partners on the IP aspects of its acquisition of Prostar Well Service and Prostar Manufacturing. Toronto is the seat of ‘super pragmatic, solution-oriented and creative’ IP litigation head Dominique Hussey; she represented Aurobindo Pharma in a number of patent matters involving several drug products. Calgary’s Stephen Burns, who jointly leads the innovation, technology and branding unit, is also noted.

Borden Ladner Gervais LLP’s IP practice is particularly prolific in patent, trademark and design applications and registrations. It also has strong experience in licensing and technology transfers, transactional support matters and IP litigation. Ottawa-based Jamie Mills maintains a broad IP practice but is best known for his record in pharmaceutical patent litigation. Justine Wiebe, who is regional IP lead for Toronto, specializes in trademark law and covers the full gamut of contentious and non-contentious trademark matters. The national team, which is additionally represented in the firm’s Calgary, Montreal, Vancouver offices, also houses a sizeable anti-piracy and anti-counterfeiting enforcement unit.

A ‘strong performer in IP litigation’, Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP also advises on patent and trademark prosecution, copyright, IP portfolio management and transactional support matters. Ottawa-based national group lead Bradley White is a ‘top-tier patent litigator’ and led the firm’s advice to Mylan Pharmaceuticals on several matters over the past year, including patent disputes, class actions and ongoing cases seeking early market entry. Elsewhere, copyright expert John Cotter represented York University in a suit filed by Access Copyright seeking to enforce an interim tariff in relation to the copying of published works by post-secondary institutions. Ottawa’s Donna White, who leads the trademark practice, and Toronto-based May Cheng are also recommended.

A ‘superior IP firm’, Montreal-headquartered Robic LLP is widely lauded as ‘a force in the Quebec market’. On the non-contentious front, the specialist boutique has a national reputation for its trademark filing practice and it also maintains a robust record in patent filings. On the IP litigation side, it has deep and broad experience spanning traditional enforcement through to civil and commercial cases relating to technology and trade secrets, among other areas. Key contacts include trademark and copyright specialist Laurent Carrière and of counsel François Grenier, who is a seasoned IP litigator — both are based in Montreal.

Torys LLP’s comprehensive practice benefits from senior firepower in all the key areas of IP law, with IP litigation standing out as a notable sweet spot. In a recent example, Andrew Bernstein successfully represented Resource Well Completion Technologies in a patent infringement proceeding brought by Packers Plus Energy Services. Bernstein also, together with Andrew Shaughnessy, represented Bell, Rogers and Telus in defending a patent infringement claim relating to cellular phone technology. On the non-contentious front, IP chair Eileen McMahon provides ongoing advice to CONMED on Canadian patent and trademark strategy and prosecution matters. Counsel Michelle Nelles is also noted for her specialist focus on trademark law.

The ‘incredibly responsive and nimble’ team at Baker McKenzie finds favour for its ability to marshal support from its global network and sources say, ’we feel hugely supported by them around the world’. Group head Christopher Aide ‘takes the time to get to know the client and its business’ and handles trademark and design portfolio management and brand protection matters for clients such as Unilever. Stephanie Vaccari, who heads the luxury and fashion group, is ‘extremely knowledgeable, practical and business-friendly’.

Belmore Neidrauer LLP acted in a string of patent cases for major pharmaceutical companies over the past year. Most notably, star litigator Peter Wilcox successfully represented Janssen on Teva’s appeal from an award of damages and costs connected to Teva’s infringement of the patent covering Janssen’s Levaquin product. Jason Markwell, who successfully represented Gilead in a patent case relating to antiviral compounds for use in the treatment of Hepatitis C, is also recommended.

Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP’s group remains a popular choice for advice on the IP aspects of corporate transactions and it also acts on a steady stream of contentious cases. Group head Anthony Prenol is experienced across a broad range of patent, trademark and industrial design matters and recently acted with Antonio Turco to successfully represent Essential Energy Services in a patent infringement case brought by Packers Plus Energy Services. Sheldon Burshtein retired in 2017. All named lawyers are in Toronto. In 2018, IP litigators Andrew Skodyn and Melanie Baird joined from Lenczner Slaght LLP.

Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP focuses mainly on IP issues related to copyright and the entertainment industry. The Toronto-based group also fields notable expertise in trademarks, sound marks and patents.Casey Chisick, who jointly chairs the intellectual property and sports and entertainment teams, is widely regarded as the leading authority on copyright matters. Trademark specialist Shane Hardy and litigator Peter Henein are also key contacts.

IP and IT boutique Deeth Williams Wall LLP is well versed in the full spread of IP law, with trademark matters standing out as a notable strong suit. Among the names to note, Douglas Deeth — who handles both patents and trademarks — is well known for his expertise in litigation and regulatory matters. Marijo Coates is a key contact for non-contentious IP and has a strong focus on trademark licensing and protection.

FASKEN’s group — spread between British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec — is best known for its increasingly prominent patent litigation practice. Additionally, it advises clients on contentious and non-contentious trademark, copyright and design matters. Montreal-based global IP head Julie Desrosiers is noted for IP litigation and represented three newspaper publishers and CEDROM-SNi, the entity responsible for granting licences for the electronic use of the journalistic content published by the three publishers, in a copyright case. Montreal-based Marek Nitoslawski is also recommended.

Lenczner Slaght LLP’s IP practice, in line with its signature strength, exclusively handles contentious matters. The firm is a key contender for complex and precedent-setting patent litigation and brings to bear unrivalled trial experience on biologic-related cases. Other significant areas of expertise include IT, trade secrets, copyright, trademarks and confidential information. Sana Halwani is the name to note. Andrew Skodyn and Melanie Baird joined Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP.

In 2018, the Ottawa outpost of Marks & Clerk merged with Toronto firms Sim & McBurney and Sim Ashton & McKay, to create one integrated Canadian IP firm. The ‘absolutely terrific’ Toni Polson Ashton stepped down from the partnership to become a counsel. Counsel Kenneth McKay remains a key contact for IP litigation.

Long-established Ontario boutique Ridout & Maybee LLP handles IP law from its three platforms in Toronto, Ottawa and Burlington. The practice is split between several core departments — including life sciences, IT, cleantech and mechanical and industrial — and spans patents, trademarks, copyright, industrial designs and trade secrets. Janet Fuhrer is recognized for her experience in trademark law.

Stikeman Elliott LLP’s ‘efficient and proactive’ IP practice scores highly for its ‘ability to keep clients apprised of significant developments’ and its ‘invaluable business insight’. Among its highlights, Montreal-based co-lead Jonathan Auerbach represented Smart Cloud in trademark litigation and opposition proceedings against IBM. Ottawa-based co-head Justine Whitehead — who ‘demonstrates a pragmatic and down-to-earth approach’ — advised Vance Street Capital on the IP elements of its acquisition of R.S.T. Instruments.

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