Canada’s Intellectual Property Firm


The strong, interconnected relationship of robotics and IP

The tremendous potential and progress in robotics have brought pervasive and significant changes to many industries. 

Robotics is at the intersection of mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and computer science, and the rapid expansion of data availability and more sophisticated computing power have allowed the robotics industry to enter traditional human territory with cheaper and smarter machines.

As with any emerging and rapidly developing area of innovation, companies ranging from startups to long-established institutions must implement precise strategies using the full scope of intellectual property protection. While many of these protections are the same as those that apply to traditional industries, there are a number of key strategies used to develop patent, trade secret, and design protection that are specific to robotics.

Canada – a robotics powerhouse

Canada is at the forefront of robotics technology in North America. Canadian firms in a wide range of industries have been quick to adopt new technologies and heavily invest in robotics and automation innovations in sectors including health care, agriculture, energy, automotive, space exploration, law enforcement and military, and manufacturing. 

With a particular focus on unmanned aerial vehicle technology, industrial robotics, personal and service robots, and factory automation, Canada is one of the best regions in the world for robotics innovation due to its cost advantages, highly engaged governments, well-established research institutions, and an attractive regulatory environment for testing and development.

With a significant cost advantage over the U.S., Canada offers the best economic landscape to conduct research and development.  Along with domestic Canadian innovators, foreign investment in the robotics sector has increased, with global leaders making sizeable investments in their robotics divisions in Canada. 

The Government of Canada continues to be focused on innovation, offering exciting incentives in conjunction with provincial governments that have made the country a world technology leader. Programs such as the Automotive Supplier Innovation Program, the Strategic Aerospace and Defence Initiative, the Scientific Research and Experimental Development Program, the Technology Demonstration Program, and the Industrial Research Assistance Program provide crucial support to investors engaged in robotics technology innovation in Canada. 

In addition, Canada’s world-renowned universities and highly specialized technical training ensure that top talent is available for domestic companies and foreign companies wanting to invest in Canada. Researchers and scientists in leading academic research clusters at Canadian universities and institutions have laid a foundation for breakthroughs in robotics technology.

Technical expertise

Companies around the world that are developing and using robotics technology are facing unique intellectual prop­erty issues. Smart & Biggar’s practice group has unmatched experience as it relates to rapidly evolving technologies and understand that these distinct challenges require a focused and strategic IP.

Our extensive expertise and technical training in relevant subspecialties enable us to offer unparalleled services relating to the protection of robotics innovation, including patenting, trademark clearance and procurement, litigation proceedings, acquisition and licensing of new technologies, strategic management of international patent portfolios, and assistance with regulatory aspects related to IP. The breadth and depth of our experience allows us to provide the best possible technical expertise to robotics innovators.

Legal expertise

As robotics transforms many industries, it is forcing necessary revisions to the traditional intellectual property framework. While many of the same strategies that apply to traditional technologies are still applicable, there are key aspects to infringement and developing patent, trade secret, and copyright protection that are specific to the field of robotics. 

The Smart & Biggar team stays on the cutting edge of IP law and robotics innovation. We have a distinguished record across all aspects of intellectual property, including patent, trademark and trade secret cases. Our team of litigators has appeared at the highest appellate levels of common law and civil law courts, representing clients in both of Canada’s official languages. Having appeared in the Supreme Court of Canada on more than 50 occasions, we have handled a significant share of Canada’s most commercially important and technically complex intellectual property law cases, many of which are leading Canadian precedents. 

The global impact of robotics

The global robotics market is experiencing a strong upswing in demand, mainly driven by the automotive, health care, and electronics industries. It is projected that the global demand for robotics will almost triple by 2025, fuelled by cheaper, smarter machines.

The global market value of industrial robots is estimated at $14 billion with China, Singapore, Korea, and Japan taking their place as the leading users of industrial robots. North America is home to a large percentage of leading robotics manufacturing firms. 

The International Federation of Robotics estimates that there are 1.3 million industrial robots in use around the world. With a global shortage of skilled workers, the integration of robots into the aerospace, automotive, material handling, and healthcare sectors is only expected to accelerate.

In an effort to increase productivity while lowering costs, robotics will steer the future course of manufacturing. The enormous potential for robotics to contribute to global economic activity and impact international trade has made the industry extremely competitive around the world. To compete, companies need to take a global perspective in the rapidly evolving world of robotics.

Smart & Biggar’s depth of experience is unmatched

Like other industries, intellectual property is vital to protect and encourage innovation and creativity in the robotics industry. 

Our team of IP lawyers has unmatched experience in advising, structuring, and negotiating a wide variety of domestic and international IP-related transactions, and other agreements in the rapidly evolving field of robotics. Our team includes lawyers with practical and business-oriented knowledge gained from in-house experience who can offer vital insights on issues surrounding patents for inventions, including patentability, inventorship and infringement liabilities of robotics innovations. We help our clients exploit, leverage and license their IP assets, as well as secure reasonable terms for IP assets that our clients look to in-license or acquire. 

We are regularly called upon by in-house counsel, commercial law firms, investors and companies seeking investment to advise on the IP and technology aspects of commercial projects, collaborations and transactions. With our depth of IP and industry-related experience, our clients have a focused team to develop and implement IP management and strategy that strengthens and protects their business objectives and corporate strategy.

Our services include:

  • Patent procurement
  • Licensing and partnership negotiations
  • Due diligence 
  • Mergers and acquisitions