Bringing deep thinking to patents and trademarks in the global economy

Ottawa firm Perley-Robertson, Hill & McDougall combines rich experience with a proven ability to stay ahead of constant change in intellectual property protection
Perley-Robertson, Hill & McDougall
The team at Perley-Robertson, Hill & McDougall includes, from left, Paul Braunovan, Marina Stipanac, Wendy Lamson, Jennifer McKay, Adrian O’Donnell.

What do the latest breakthroughs in software, biofuels and craft beer have in common?

They all need meticulously prepared and wisely executed intellectual property protections – patents or trademarks or a combination of both, tailored for an increasingly international marketplace.

This, of course, is no easy feat, particularly as the business world accelerates, regulations evolve and technology becomes ever-more complex. Working with a savvy and agile legal team such as the one at Perley-Robertson, Hill & McDougall can be a make-or-break move in the lifespan of the next great gadget, formula or disruptive tech.

Recognized as one of Ottawa’s leading independent law firms, Perley-Robertson, Hill & McDougall brings a highly resourceful blend of committed expertise and passion for innovation, something of critical value for either the first-time solo inventor or the global entity with hundreds of intellectual properties on the books.

“We’ve got great breadth and depth of experience,” says partner and trademark expert Paul Braunovan. “The firm has been around for 40 years and all of the individual practitioners here have been doing what they do for a long time.”

As a result, Perley-Robertson, Hill & McDougall helps intellectual property clients of any size succeed by recognizing their differing needs and genuinely understanding where they come from. 

“Most of us have already gone through a stage of working either in technology, in business, or in research,” adds patent specialist Adrian O’Donnell. “We have inquiring, inquisitive minds that we like to keep active.” 

The sheer variety of challenges that arise for the Perley-Robertson, Hill & McDougall intellectual property team keep O’Donnell and his colleagues on their toes.

“We never know what’s going to happen when that phone rings or when a new client comes in,” he says. “It can involve any kind of technology and our job is to bring clients up to speed so that they can protect themselves. Then we apply our skills to ensure that that protection happens.”

Shifting landscape

While legal seasoning is critical, so too is the need to keep the skills sharpened. Today’s pace of change makes it impossible for any intellectual property lawyer to rest on his or her laurels.

“You really need to keep up with case law,” explains partner and patent agent Wendy Lamson. 

“There’s just so much changing right now and that means a lot of challenges around getting patents in particular subject matter areas, such as business methods and computer-implemented inventions,” Lamson adds. “You really need to keep your finger on the pulse to craft patents that are broad, yet defendable and can’t be challenged in court.” 

The same goes on the trademark side, says Braunovan, where substantial changes to the Canadian trademark law came into effect this summer. Long in the works, the revised Trademarks Act and trademarks regulations now align Canadian methods with those of our major international trading partners, including the United States and European Union.

One of the welcome developments is what essentially amounts to a centralized, online trademark application process in almost every major trading country in the world.

“When filing an application, you click the boxes that correspond to what you want,” says Braunovan. “So it’s a great tool for Canadians who have broad, global ambition.” 

The standardized application also allows the Perley-Robertson, Hill & McDougall team to add real value for clients by tapping into long-established global connections, Braunovan adds. 

“We can bring in reputable law firms and good assets in countries around the world to help clients navigate the trademark process,” he explains. “Because although there are some similarities, each country has its own nuanced ways to get protection.”

For patents and trademark protections that are prompt, strategic and designed for the global marketplace, start a conversation with the experts at Perley-Robertson, Hill & McDougall.
Reach them at lawyers@perlaw.ca.