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  • Intellectual property

Intellectual property law

The force of reputation and the spirit of innovation are engines that contribute to your success in today’s competitive business environment. The gears which turn these motors include your patents, trademarks, industrial designs, copyright, know-how and trade secrets. At De Grandpré Chait, our role is to ensure that these gears are dovetailed with each other and reinforce your position on the market.

Since our team of intellectual property experts represents a diversified clientele comprised of entrepreneurs, family-owned businesses, partnerships and public companies, both domestic and international, they are able to understand your particular issues and concerns. Our lawyers have years of hands-on practical experience serving companies in key sectors, such as pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, apparel, food, sporting equipment, entertainment, multimedia, toys, games, and advertising.

Intellectual property advice

"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" is a familiar saying which guides our approach to counselling clients in the area of intellectual property. We pay close attention to your business goals and recommend smart strategies to enforce your intellectual property rights in the marketplace, as well as protect you against inadvertent infringement of your intellectual property by third parties.

In a world of reduced market barriers and vast Internet penetration, you need a proactive team to provide advice and practical legal solutions that protect your intellectual property and maximize opportunities in the Canadian cross-border and international markets. Moreover, considering Canada’s two official languages (English and French), and  Quebec laws promoting the use of French in business, we will make sure your initiatives comply with language laws governing commercial activities in Canada and Quebec.

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Intellectual property agreements

A handshake to seal a deal can be risky business. The best way to reduce future problems is to have a concisely, clearly and simply written intellectual property agreement. We have custom-tailored a wide range of these agreements to fit the needs of all types of transactions, including  acquisitions, development or licensing of intellectual property rights, joint ventures, software development, marketing, advertising, distribution, or confidentiality and non-disclosure. Intellectual property agreements fit the needs of the deal while determining the obligations of each party, identifying their representations and warranties, and foreseeing clauses pertaining to the end of the business relationship. In addition, we will assist you in setting up the legal structure for the operation of a franchise, a research and development venture, as well as the operation of an online business or an interactive website.

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Registration of intellectual property rights

We strongly recommend the registration of your intellectual property rights in Canada and in any other country in which your company operates. There are many advantages to registration and the procedure is relatively inexpensive (apart from patent applications). Registration, whether regarding trademarks, domain names, copyright, patents or industrial designs, serves to protect your intellectual property rights by rendering your exclusive rights public. Registration also serves to dissuade third parties from copying or using without consent your intellectual property assets, and to increase your revenues through licensing.

Investing in the registration of your intellectual property rights provides an exclusivity which often repays many times over. In fact, registration can help obtain financing and be pledged as security. Registration allows you to have access to effective legal recourse and can represent a clear advantage when you are involved in a dispute over your intellectual property rights. Moreover, registering your intellectual property rights reinforces the credibility of your business and gives you access to courts of national jurisdiction, such as the Federal Court. Finally, when considering a sale, merger, acquisition or financing, registering your intellectual property rights increases the value of your business from an investor’s perspective.

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Intellectual property portfolios

All businesses have an intellectual property component in their assets. It starts with something as basic as a corporate name, a trademark, a business plan or an invention. A well-managed intellectual property portfolio comprises the core assets of a company whose products and services are intellectual property driven. Whether you are a provider of intellectual property or asking for intellectual property information with respect to a transaction, our competent lawyers can guide you through the process.

As the seller or borrower, your intellectual property portfolio must allow you to make credible representations and warranties about your intellectual property rights. Therefore, you have to make sure your portfolio is well-structured and that all the maintenance and protection steps have been undertaken. However, if you are a buyer, investor or lender, an intellectual property due diligence of the target business is essential before you close the deal. Our team is experienced in handling the intellectual property due diligence process and has earned a solid reputation in this area over the years.

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Intellectual property disputes

Our intellectual property experts have successfully represented clients before courts at all levels, as well as specialized administrative tribunals such as the Trademarks Opposition Board. We have proven expertise in obtaining special remedies such as injunctions, seizures and Anton Piller orders.

However, when weighing the benefits against the cost of resolving a dispute related to trademarks, domain names, copyright, industrial designs, patents, and trade secrets, litigation may not always be your best option. It is often advisable to consider the advantages of alternate dispute resolution methods. Because we understand the importance of confidentiality, limiting risks and respecting budgets, mediation or arbitration can often lead to business solutions that are not available in court and better meet each party’s needs and concerns. You can count on our intellectual property team to suggest, when appropriate, options that lead to shorter delays, lower costs and speedier settlements.

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Technology law

Proprietary technology is a complex area when it comes to intellectual property. It usually involves not just one but a bundle of intellectual property rights, including rights licensed from a third party. Technology is a field that implies very technical terms and concepts. The challenge is to keep ahead of the market, understand the ins and outs of any transaction and protect your investment in a constantly evolving environment. To structure your technology rights and agreements properly, our lawyers will work with you to help you understand the technology and what is crucially at stake. They will propose protection measures such as escrow agreements, intellectual property and information technology guidelines, due diligence on the chain of title of intellectual property rights, and review the proposed agreements with your business partners.

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