Canada’s Intellectual Property Firm

Smart & Biggar celebrates World IP Day 2023

Featuring Andrea Berenbaum, Linli Liu

Today is World IP Day, and this year’s theme centers around “Women and IP: accelerating innovation and creativity.” To celebrate, we are turning the spotlight on our leading women IP practitioners to showcase what inspired them on their career path into the field of IP in Canada.

We spoke to Andrea Berenbaum a Principal in our Vancouver office, and Linli Liu a Patent Agent based in our Toronto office ahead of World IP Day to learn about their background and experience working in IP. They also shared their personal insight and advice to women considering a career in IP.

Andrea Berenbaum, Principal and Patent Agent

I’m Andrea Berenbaum. I’m a Principal in the Life Sciences group in Vancouver. I have a Ph.D. in inorganic chemistry and a master's degree in biomedical communications.

What inspired you to enter the area of IP in Canada?

I really wanted something where I could use my technical background to help innovators, so I could still think about science every day, [while] helping others.

What advice would you give to women who are considering a career in Intellectual Property?

There are a lot of different paths and a lot of different careers in intellectual property. So, I would say the first thing I would advise is to take some time to learn about the different careers and different paths.

The second piece of advice I’d give is to find somebody that has an educational background similar to yours. I find that most of the people in this area are very giving with their time. So, search them out and see if they have the time to answer some of your questions about what it's like working in the field.

Linli Liu, Patent Agent

My name is Linli Liu and I am an IP practitioner in the Toronto office.

Can you tell us about your career path and journey in IP?

7 years ago, for personal reasons, I left my first job and moved to Canada. I embarked on my career in Canada as a patent agent trainee and I passed my patent agent examination recently.

What unique perspectives do you feel women bring to the fields of technology and IP?

Women are strong collaborators. When I was working as an in-house patent engineer, I acted as a bridge to help the inventors explain how they develop their ideas and to help articulate how the inventor could be delivering in the best way. Secondly, women are gifted communicators. As IP practitioners, we need to explain the legal concepts and the complex technical issues to the inventor and the examiners. Lastly, I think women tend to be understanding, and empathetic [which helps] to understand the needs and demands of clients.

What opportunities should women explore when entering the field of IP?

Entering the IP field is exciting and challenging. When you get involved in the IP field you will find many opportunities which you can explore in your career path. First of all, there are multiple areas in IP. You can identify which area you are most interested in and [which] will align with your proficiency and skills most. Secondly, you can gain lots of experience when you try different roles.

The preceding is intended as a timely update on Canadian intellectual property and technology law. The content is informational only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. To obtain such advice, please communicate with our offices directly.