Canadian Lawyer InHouse

December/January 2021

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

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www.canadianlawyermag.com/inhouse 27 Patents are an emerging space in the banking industry, so developing expertise across the enterprise to identify, capture and harvest patentable innovation is another important focus. "Other industries like the tech industry have been patent-centric for a long time, but banks are still learning how to better develop the ability to capture innovation and crystalize those rights," says Death. At Dorval, Que.-based computer hardware and software company Matrox, the legal team has not changed its strategy for protecting IP rights as a result of the pandemic, although a remote working environment has made certain aspects more challenging. "Resources need to work in synergy, which is not always evident in a remote working situation, but nonetheless, we've kept our programs going," says Nathalie Rizcalla, senior vice president, legal affairs at Matrox. Financial resources have been reallocated accordingly, she says. "Matrox is in a privileged position, so whenever we've seen a threat, we've been able to act. Whenever there is a slowdown, we try to catch up on rebuilding our IP. We have worked relentlessly to strengthen the marks and the loopholes," says Rizcalla. A slowdown in activity caused by the pandemic allowed more time to tackle trademark issues and to beef up trademarks worldwide. Rizcalla and her team plan to devote more time to building infrastructures around open source technology. "I think it's something that's going to be used exponentially, and the framework needs to be set in place at different levels in the engineering teams, so that it's properly managed within a company, because there's a lot of value in open source," she says. Norwood has noted a large volume of machine learning and artificial intelligence portfolios coming into the patent space. "It will be really interesting to see how those portfolios shake out. It might end up being much like the cellphone and smartphone patent portfolios that were litigated 10 years ago in the U.S," he says. "We've started to see the first skirmishes of trademark and IP battles in the cannabis space, so that's a trend we've been moni- toring in Canada," he says. In the U.S. market, Kaikai is carefully monitoring political developments and the potential impact on federal legalization of cannabis, as well as subsequent changes that may be needed to Cronos Group's IP strategy. At TD Bank Group, a strategy is in place to capture innovations and secure their rights — but the pandemic has created obstacles to this process. "It has been a bit more challenging in the COVID environment where people are all working virtually, to capture those innova- tions," says Josh Death, associate vice president, intellectual property and patentable innovation at TD. "That being said, our volume is higher than last year, but I think it would have been even higher had we not had the COVID situation." Registering and securing the rights and marks that are materially valuable to the business is a top priority for Death. "Other industries like the tech industry have been patent-centric for a long time, but banks are still learning how to better develop the ability to capture innovation and crystalize those rights." Josh Death, TD Bank Group

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