Canada’s Intellectual Property Law Firm

Daphne Lainson

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Daphne Lainson

Partner, Chair of the Firm
  • Smart & Biggar LLP
Barrister and Solicitor
  • Patent and Trademark Agent

A champion of innovation, protecting exclusivity in the chemical arts and life sciences

Partnering with her clients, Daphne is dedicated to helping innovators secure comprehensive patent protection for their chemical, pharmaceutical and biotechnology-related inventions.

Many of the world’s top innovators rely on Daphne’s advice and counsel. She is regarded by clients in the life sciences sector as an advisor who has “deep knowledge of the area, provides practical, well-grounded advice and is highly responsive” (IAM Patents 1000, 2018), as well as “[providing] unparalleled expertise in a thoughtful and friendly way. [She is] dedicated and knowledgeable” (Expert Guides: Women in Business Law).

With close to 25 years of experience in law and patent agency and an advanced degree in chemistry, she has been entrusted with protecting inventions across the spectrum of chemical innovation. Daphne enthusiastically champions and effectively safeguards her clients’ intellectual property rights relating to new drugs, biologics, medical devices, consumer products, agrochemicals, specialty chemicals, industrial chemical processes, oil, gas and petrochemicals.

A trusted counsellor to navigate the complex life sciences patent-regulatory landscape

Daphne provides strategic advice and counseling to clients across the life cycle of a drug, including during pre-clinical and clinical development through to marketing and loss of exclusivity. She also offers strategic advice regarding patents and data protection, including patent listing under the Patented Medicines (Notice of Compliance) Regulations, Certificates of Supplementary Protection, pricing and reimbursement including Patented Medicine Prices Review Board matters (PMPRB).

She has been recognized as an “experienced and pragmatic partner” to the world’s leading biopharmaceutical companies, and has been described as “brilliant at the intersection of IP and regulatory law” and as having “fantastic legal and business acumen, which she uses to provide thorough, best-in-class legal advice. She also has a tremendous ability to simplify and explain complex issues to non-lawyers, which helps hugely with decision making” (IAM Patents 1000, 2019).

What sets her apart is her experience in advising clients during patent procurement on the various issues that may arise relating to patent linkage under the Patented Medicines (Notice of Compliance) Regulations, regulatory data exclusivity under the Food and Drug Regulations, supplementary protection under the Certificate of Supplementary Protection Regulations, and market access issues, including relating to pricing of patent medicines under the jurisdiction of the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board. She is proactive in her advice, and is constantly looking for practical solutions to complex problems.

A recognized leader in the patent community

Daphne is actively involved in advancing knowledge within the industry through the American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA); she is an AIPLA Fellow, and past Chair of the Food and Drug Law Committee, IP Practice in Japan Committee, Mentoring Committee and Women in Intellectual Property Law Committee. She also served as Chair of the AIPLA Mid-Winter Institutes in 2019 and 2021.

Daphne has also supported BIOTECanada in its mission to lead the advancement of a globally competitive Canadian biotechnology ecosystem.

Within Smart & Biggar, she plays a key role as a practice leader of the firm’s life sciences practice and in client relations management, particularly in key industrial markets, such as the U.S., Japan and Germany.

Her contribution to the IP community was recognized in the inaugural edition of the WIPR Influential Women in IP, where she was listed as one of 80 international female leaders in intellectual property law. She continues to be recognized in a number of other directories, including as an IP Star by Managing Intellectual Property, a World IP Review Leader in IP and a Lexpert ranked lawyer for IP and Biotechnology.


  • News
  • Speaking
  • Industry Involvement
  • In the Media
  • "Best Practices in Pharmaceutical Patents" (co-speakers: John Norman, Lesley Caswell), IPIC Webinar, September 21, 2022
  • “Where Patent Protection Intersects with Market Entry Decisions: How to Set Your Organizations Access Strategy Up for Success in 2022” (speaker), Pathways to Access & Reimbursement, January 2022
  • "The Future of IP in Canada –The Northern Innovation Wave in America" (co-speakers: Matthew Zischka and Mark Evans), Mondaq Webinar - Canada Future Series, May 27, 2021
  • "PMPRB Final Guidelines: An Examination of the Practical Impact on Drug Pricing in Canada" (speaker), Pathways to Access & Reimbursement, January 2021
  • "Introduction to Canadian Patent-Regulatory Exclusivities" (co-speakers: David Schwartz and Nancy Pei), Smart & Biggar webinar, July 2020
  • "Tackling the Wage Gap" (moderator), Canadian Lawyer Women in Law Summit, Toronto, ON, February 12, 2020
  • "Women in IP Law Committee Breakfast" (panelist), AIPLA Annual Meeting, Washington, DC, October 25, 2019
  • "IP Law in Mexico, Canada and the US — What Every General Counsel Needs to Know" (speaker), virtual discussion, In The House, April 25, 2019
  • "Patent Rights in Canada - an update on recent developments," (co-presenter: Yoon Kang), Life Sciences Patent Network (LSPN) North America, San Francisco, CA, October 16, 2018
  • "The increasing challenges of securing worldwide patent protection on living organisms", (speaker), AIPLA Spring Meeting, Seattle, May 15, 2018
  • "Managing Exclusivities in Canada:  The Patent-Regulatory Environment,” (co-presenter: Yoon Kang), C5 Pharma & Biotech Patent Litigation 2018, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, February 2018
  • “Post-Final Practice – Understanding Your Options at the End of the Line,” (speaker), 91st Annual Meeting, Intellectual Property Institute of Canada, October 2017
  • “Strategy Considerations for Patent Procurement Worldwide: A Panel of International Experts,” (speaker) Midwest IP Institute, September 2017
  • “Patent Protection for Pharma and Biotechnology,” (speaker) webcast hosted by The Knowledge Group, Wednesday, July 19, 2017
  • “Canadian IP Portfolio Management within the Global Context,” (speaker) LSIPR Life Sciences Patent Network North America Conference, June 1, 2017 
  • “Hatch-Waxman vs. PMNOC Regs: Claim Drafting & Other Patent-Regulatory Issues,” (speaker) AIPLA Mid-Winter Institute, February 2, 2017
  • “Patent Listing and Data Protection: A Primer for Regulatory Affairs Professionals,” (speaker), CAPRA Dinner Meeting, Dorval, QC, January 2016
  • “Biosimilars are Off and Running: A Litigation and Regulatory Update” (moderator), AIPLA Annual Meeting, 2015
  • "Subsequent Entry Biologics (SEBs) – Canada," (speaker) AIPLA Mid-Winter meeting , Las Vegas, NV, January 2012; AIPLA webinar, March 2012
  • "Making contributions visible," (speaker) 3rd Annual Women in Law conference, Calgary, AB, October 2009
  • "Partnerships: Policy and Research at the Crossroads: University-Industry Research Collaborations," (speaker) 58th Canadian Chemical Engineering Conference, Ottawa, October 2008
  • "Patenting Therapeutic/Diagnostic Delivery Devices—Maximizing Marketing Potential," (speaker) BioNorth Conference on Driving Global Innovation and Commercialization Through Partnerships, Ottawa, November 2007


  • Member, The Canadian Association for Healthcare Reimbursement
  • Member, Canadian Association of Professionals in Regulatory Affairs
  • Member, Drug Information Association
  • Fellow, Intellectual Property Institute of Canada
  • Fellow, American Intellectual Property Law Association; Chair of the Food and Drug Law Committee; Past co-chair of the Japan Practice Committee; past Chair of the Mentoring Committee; and past Chair of the Women in Intellectual Property Law Committee
  • Member, Chemical Institute of Canada, Canadian Society for Chemistry
  • Member, The Women's Business Network of Ottawa
  • Member, Canadian Bar Association; member of the Patent Committee