Canadian Lawyer InHouse

August/September 2021

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

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Page 39 of 43

38 DEPARTMENT PROFILE WHILE MANY LEGAL departments rely heavily on external counsel support to navigate litigation cases, the team's expertise at Valcourt, Quebec-based BRP (Bombardier Recreational Products Inc.) allows them to keep most litigation work in-house. As director, legal department, litigation at BRP, Julie Morel manages international litigation cases concerning product liability, product quality, commercial, intellectual property and employment matters, with the assistance of her five-person legal team. Morel also sits on BRP's local emergency response and corporate emergency response committees, and she works closely with the human resources department. The company employs more than 14,500 people around the world. BRP — a global manufacturer of boats and powersports vehicles including snowmobiles, three-wheeled vehicles, personal watercraft and all-terrain vehicles — has manufacturing facilities in Canada, the United States, Mexico, Finland, Australia and Austria. So, Morel and her team often have to integrate the legal realities from different jurisdictions when handling litigation. Together with her team of four lawyers, one paralegal in Quebec, and one lawyer in Mexico, Morel regularly handles lawsuits for BRP, Innovating and bringing litigation in-house including product liability claims and trademark cases. The team has recently represented BRP in several significant litigation cases. For example, they worked on a highly publicized series of intellectual property lawsuits against a competitor, Arctic Cat Inc. — a Textron Inc. company — in a 10-year battle that ended in 2020. The Federal Court of Canada issued a permanent injunction last year, which prohibits the sale in Canada of all Arctic Cat snowmobiles that infringe upon BRP's engineering, design and manufacturing patents. The team at BRP successfully untangled numerous complex patent claims in the cross-border cases, navigating between US and Canadian courts. BRP and Arctic Cat later announced that they had reached a global settlement of their ongoing IP disputes. Under the terms of the confidential settlement agreement, the two court cases between the US and Canada parties were dismissed. Travel restrictions and court closures during the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a shift to virtual depositions for the team at BRP — often with witnesses in Quebec and lawyers in the US. "We had to rethink everything we were doing Agile approach allows BRP's litigation team to adapt to a world of virtual depositions in multi- jurisdictional cases FAST FACTS: BRP Company founded in 1942 as Auto-neige Bombardier Limitée Bombardier sold its recreational products division, officially launching BRP in 2003 Headquartered in Valcourt, Quebec Global work force of approximately 14,500 people Produces annual sales of CA$6.1 billion from over 120 countries Has 11 manufacturing plants

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