Organization strengthens intellectual property professional services for Canadian businesses
OTTAWA, Aug. 9, 2019 /CNW/ - Encouraging Canadian entrepreneurs to protect and leverage their valuable intellectual property (IP) for business success includes ensuring they can trust and rely on the professionals guiding them through the process. The Government of Canada knows that this confidence is key to helping Canada's entrepreneurs drive their next big idea forward.
Today, the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, announced that Jeffrey Astle, Karima Bawa, Thomas G. Conway, Ruth McHugh and Douglas B. Thompson will serve as directors on the board of Canada's new College of Patent Agents and Trademark Agents, which will govern the profession and promote the highest quality of IP support. Mr. Conway will serve as the Chair. The members embody a full range of expertise from the fields of intellectual property, corporate governance and professional regulation.
Over the coming months, the board's priority will be to establish the College and a licensing system to govern this important profession. The College will operate as an independent regulator responsible for enforcing a code of professional conduct and implementing requirements for professional development. It will be responsible for maintaining the high standards that are expected of trusted patent and trademark advisors, making sure that only qualified professionals are authorized to provide agent services.
The College is another important initiative under Canada's Intellectual Property Strategy, which is helping establish Canada as a leader in generating and strategically leveraging IP investments.
"The College of Patent Agents and Trademark Agents, together with the distinguished new board members, will raise the bar of IP professional services in Canada, making sure Canadians have the highest quality of IP support to grow their businesses and create good middle-class jobs. I congratulate the members on their appointment and know that they will be strong leaders in building this important institution."
– The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development
- Jeffrey Astle and Douglas B. Thompson were recommended by the Intellectual Property Institute of Canada.
- The College of Patent Agents and Trade-mark Agents Act was passed in December 2018 as part of the Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 2.
- Patent agents and trademark agents are currently regulated by the Canadian Intellectual Property Office, with the Commissioner of Patents having limited authority to discipline patent agents. There is no equivalent authority to discipline trademark agents.
- FAQ: College of Patent Agents and Trademark Agents
- Notice of Opportunity for Ministerial Appointments: Directors, College of Patent Agents and Trademark Agents
College of Patent Agents and Trademark Agents: Board of Directors
Thomas G. Conway
Thomas G. Conway is a partner at Conway Baxter Wilson LLP, a law firm based in Ottawa, Ontario. Mr. Conway has practised litigation for 30 years and is recognized by his peers as a leading practitioner in corporate and commercial litigation.
From 2012 to 2014, Mr. Conway served as treasurer of the Law Society of Ontario, the highest elected office of the largest regulator of the legal professions in Canada. He led several important regulatory initiatives during his tenure at the Law Society. In 2014–2015, he served as president of the Federation of Law Societies of Canada, the umbrella organization of Canada's 14 provincial and territorial regulators.
Mr. Conway is an honorary member of the law societies of Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan. In 2017, the Law Society of Ontario awarded him an LLD (hon. causa) in recognition of his contributions to the regulation of the legal professions in Canada and to the cause of access to justice.
Jeffrey Astle is an intellectual property (IP) lawyer, patent and trademark agent, and business executive with over 30 years of experience. Mr. Astle is Associate General Counsel—Intellectual Property for Pratt & Whitney Canada Corp. (P&WC), based at the company's head office in Longueuil, Quebec.
Mr. Astle oversees P&WC's IP legal team responsible for implementing the company's corporate IP strategies and processes, managing its patent and trademark portfolios and IP litigation, and providing legal and business support for IP aspects of all P&WC agreements and IP- and technology-related legal matters.
Mr. Astle joined P&WC in 1994, moving in-house from the Toronto law offices of Smart & Biggar. He is a registered Canadian and U.S. patent agent, is a member of the Law Society of Ontario and is licensed by the Barreau du Québec as corporate counsel. He obtained his BASc in chemical engineering from the University of Windsor (1985), MASc in chemical engineering from the University of Toronto (1987) and LLB from Osgoode Hall Law School (1990). Mr. Astle is also a Fellow and former president of the Intellectual Property Institute of Canada (IPIC), Canada's professional association of patent agents, trademark agents and lawyers practising IP law.
Karima Bawa is a senior fellow with the International Law Research Program of the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI). Her research focuses on issues surrounding the commercialization of university research and development and capacity building in intellectual property (IP) strategy for Canadian innovators.
For the past several years, Ms. Bawa has been involved in various initiatives designed to help organizations better protect and leverage their IP rights. Most recently, she joined the Standards Council of Canada Technical Committee as an expert, representing Canada's interests for the forthcoming IP Management Standard (ISO 50505). Ms. Bawa advises and supports technology start-ups and scale-ups.
Prior to her role at CIGI, Ms. Bawa was the chief legal officer and general counsel at Research In Motion (BlackBerry). In the 12 years she served at Research In Motion, she was a member of the senior leadership team and oversaw a global legal team. She was also a member of various strategic and operational senior management committees.
Ms. Bawa is a graduate of Simon Fraser University's Executive MBA program and BSc program. She also obtained a law degree from the University of British Columbia and is a graduate of the ICD-Rotman Directors Education Program.
Ruth McHugh is an FCPA, an MBA and a governance specialist. As demonstrated throughout her career as a business leader and most recently in her role as chief operating officer at the Office of the Auditor General of Alberta (OAG), she has a proven history of creating a vision, building fantastic teams, sharing stories to inspire stakeholders and delivering results.
Before joining the OAG, Ms. McHugh was chief financial officer and director of operations at the Art Gallery of Alberta and had a distinguished career as director of operations and controller of Company's Coming Publishing Limited.
Ms. McHugh also served as co-chair of the Alberta Accountants Unification Agency and in that capacity had a major role in the creation of single chartered professional accountant designation for Alberta. Prior to that, she served two consecutive terms as board chair for CMA Alberta and a term as vice-chair of the CMA Canada Council of Chairs. In 2011, she was named a Fellow of the Society of Management Accountants of Canada for her distinguished service to the Canadian accounting profession.
Ms. McHugh holds an MBA from Heriot-Watt University and is a graduate of the ICD-Rotman Directors Education Program.
Douglas B. Thompson
Douglas B. Thompson is lawyer (Alberta bar 1976 and B.C. bar 1979), Trademark Agent (since 1979), and Patent Agent (1988). After 10 years of general legal practice, Mr. Thompson decided to focus exclusively on IP law beginning in 1988. Since that time, he has helped inventors and companies that develop new products to make the most of their IP.
Mr. Thompson is a founding partner at Thompson Cooper LLP, and senior counsel at Thompson Woodruff Intellectual Property Law. He has been active in numerous organizations, including the Intellectual Property Institute of Canada (IPIC), the Licensing Executives Society (LES), the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce and the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME).
Mr. Thompson obtained a law degree from the University of Alberta.
- News release: Minister Bains appoints directors to oversee new college governing patents and trademark agents
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SOURCE Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
For further information: Dani Keenan, Press Secretary, Office of the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, 343-291-1710; Media Relations, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, 343-291-1777, email@example.com