Intellectual Property

In today’s knowledge-driven economy, increasingly companies and individuals are coming to realize the value and importance of their intellectual property assets. Shibley Righton’s Intellectual Property Law Group prides itself on providing sound up-to-date strategic and effective advice to clients on a wide range of intellectual property issues. We assist our clients with the management and protection of their intellectual property asset portfolios.

We act for a wide variety of clients, from individuals to large multi-national corporations many of whom consider their intellectual property to be their most valuable asset. Our clients are involved in a diverse range of business activities. Obtaining effective and cost efficient protection and control of their intellectual property is imperative to protecting their business interests.

Our Intellectual Property Law Group of professionals and registered trademark agents have the legal backgrounds necessary to effectively advise clients on a wide spectrum of services, including strategic and general advice on the development, protection, exploitation and use of intellectual property and information technology assets such as patents, trademarks, copyright, industrial designs, rights of personality, trade secrets and confidential information. At Shibley Righton LLP we are committed to timely communications with you and short turnaround times on all matters.

We provide a full range of services, including:

  • Research and opinions regarding availability, registerability, validity and infringement of intellectual property rights;
  • Registration and renewals of trade marks, copyright and industrial designs;
  • Assisting clients with negotiating and drafting agreements relating to the licensing of their intellectual property rights and the acquisition of the rights of others through licensing-in or cross licensing opportunities.
  • We also assist clients in the evaluation of license, joint venture, co-development and distribution agreements;
  • Intellectual property audit services to advise clients with respect to the assessment of existing intellectual property rights and the establishment of internal procedures and policies for the strategic development and management of intellectual property portfolios in the context of our client’s business strategy;
  • Marketplace investigation, policing, protection and prosecution of intellectual property rights in the areas of grey market and counterfeit goods;
  • Prosecution and/or defence of Internet and domain name abuse allegations;
  • The theft or misuse of trade secrets and confidential information;
  • Where appropriate we have negotiated settlement agreements and participated in alternative dispute resolution on behalf of our clients;

Litigation services and proceedings before private mediation and arbitration panels, the Copyright Board, Trade-mark Opposition Board and other regulatory agencies and the Federal Court of Canada, the Federal Court of Appeal, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice and the Ontario Court of Appeal;

Shibley Righton is a very active member of two prominent local, national and international associations of law firms: Multilaw, an organization of more than sixty firms in more than fifty countries around the world, and Lexwork International, whose member firms are based in Europe and North America. These associations enable us to instantly connect our clients with excellent legal counsel from all over the world providing global portfolio development and management for their intellectual property rights.




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Head Shot Bill NorthcoteA Federal Court decision that backs a copyright collective in its battle to collect royalties from an Ontario university cannot be ignored by Canadian post-secondary institutions, says Toronto intellectual property lawyer Bill Northcote.

“It demonstrates that copyright holders of, presumably, mostly academic works are getting more aggressive in terms of enforcing their rights and getting proper compensation,” says Northcote, a partner with Shibley Righton LLP.

Justice Michael Phelan ruled in favour of a collective that administers reproduction rights for Canadian literary works and ordered the university to pay damages for the millions of pages of materials that the university's staff copied for coursework.

The university argued that its copying of book excerpts, articles, videos and other materials fell within the “fair dealing” exceptions allowed for educational users under s. 29 of the Copyright Act, and that it had developed its own “Fair Dealing Guidelines.”

But Phelan found that the university’s use of the material did not fall under the law’s fair dealing exceptions. Its own “Fair Dealing Guidelines” are “not fair in either their terms or their application,” he wrote. The university made “no real effort” to review or enforce its guidelines, he added.

This is an excerpt from an interview with  Please click here for the complete transcript.


SAN FRANCISCO — A federal appeals court Monday cleared the way for a trial in a copyright lawsuit over a YouTube video showing a baby dancing to the Prince song "Let's Go Crazy.''

The lawsuit was filed by the baby's mother, Stephanie Lenz, after Universal Music sent a notice to YouTube demanding the video be taken down for violating the song's copyright.

Toronto intellectual property and entertainment lawyer Bill Northcote tells this case is not surprising given U.S. law, and adds that the Canadian Copyright Act includes parody and satire within the definition of fair use.

Please click here for the full story


The recent copyright dispute over the “monkey selfie” illustrates that as intellectual property rights unfold, novel issues will continue to arise faster than legislators’ ability to develop policy and implement laws, says Toronto business lawyer Bill Northcote.

According to an article in The Telegraph, British photographer David Slater was taking pictures of a group of Indonesian macaque monkeys in 2011, when one of the simians grabbed his camera and snapped off hundreds of pictures, most of which were out of focus. However, the animal managed to capture incredible images in the process, one of which is the infamous monkey's self-portrait.

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