Canadian Lawyer InHouse

December/January 2021

Legal news and trends for Canadian in-house counsel and c-suite executives

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26 www.canadianlawyermag.com/inhouse FEATURE now, is sufficient. Knowing you can get that relief in less than a year does provide a backstop on those kinds of negotiations." Filing a note of application may result in a hearing within six to nine months for trademark matters, Norwood says. Several of his clients have taken this route and were able to get some relief from the courts relatively quickly. With the Canadian Intellectual Property Office essentially on pause for several months as a result of the pandemic, filing trademark applications resulted in delays, therefore creating vulnerabilities. Doing defensive work to assess competitor applications is a strategy used by Andrew Kaikai, senior legal counsel, intellectual property at global cannabis company Cronos Group. "Our biggest strategy has been to overlap and look at trademarks, copyright and industrial designs to cover all our bases instead of focusing on just one kind of IP," says Kaikai. While trademarks and industrial designs have been slow to process, copyright registrations are less severely impacted and, therefore, can be used as an interim solution. "We also do a lot of defensive work where we assess our competitor applications and then tailor what we do to make sure we're not getting ourselves in trouble that way," says Kaikai. As in-house counsel, Kaikai is privy to the entire company trajectory, which enables him to make decisions in the most cost-effective way. As the cannabis industry starts to mature, Kaikai notes that competitors are starting to get into trademark infringement battles. PROTECTING INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY rights has never been so critical as pandem- ic-induced court closures and delays in setting up remote hearings have presented opportu- nities for IP infringement in Canada. "Defendants in IP infringement cases have had a little bit of a vacation. We've had a few clients who have been really frustrated, but what we have advised them to do is seek injunctive relief," says Matt Norwood, a partner at Ridout & Maybee LLP. "It's just a matter of deciding if getting that injunction, at least for Intellectual property infringement on the rise In-house counsel adopt defensive strategies for protecting IP rights in challenging times "Our biggest strategy has been to overlap and look at trademarks, copyright and industrial designs to cover all our bases instead of focusing on just one kind of IP." Andrew Kaikai, Cronos Group

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