Internationalising IP and managing mergers: In conversation with Robert MacDonald

52 minute read
20 October 2021


How has the intellectual property landscape changed over the last 40 years and how has this impacted IP case law globally? And, what was it really like acting on largescale cases in Soviet Russia?

We conclude Season 1 of our 'In Conversation with Gowling WLG' podcast series with a special two-part episode, as global intellectual property partner Gordon Harris speaks to Robert MacDonald – a veritable legend of the IP world, a former colleague and long-time friend.

We delve deep into IP, hearing Robert's high points and challenges, anecdotes, and advice garnered from an illustrious international career spanning four decades.

In Part 1, we explore:

  • Robert's entry into IP, earning his stripes in the profession, and some of his most important and challenging moments over a memorable 40-year career to date;
  • his time spent in Russia representing Canadian companies and joint ventures with the USSR, and doing business during the Perestroika and Glasnost era;
  • Robert's role as a strategic adviser to numerous multinationals, acting in a number of landmark trademark cases, including Adidas AG v. Globe International (2015); Hortilux Schreder v. Iwasaki Electric (2013); Apotex v. Canada (2010); Jose Cuervo v. Bacardi (2010); and Merrill Lynch v. Bank of Montreal (1996);
  • reflections on career moments in the courts, and times where Robert may have done things differently; and
  • leading the Canadian arm of Gowling WLG's IP team as Head of Sector and growing the firm's global offering.

In Part 2, Gordon Harris continues his conversation with IP legend Robert MacDonald, as the pair talk:

  • Robert's role and his memories from the merger of Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP in Canada and Wragge and Co in the UK, and the longstanding relationship between the two firms;
  • Intellectual property litigation in Canada, international client work and the seeds of transatlantic collaboration at the sharp end of IP; and
  • hopes for the future of the sector, moving onwards and upwards, and handing over the leadership reins to the next generation of IP stars.

Our 'In Conversation' series delves into the world of intellectual property, speaking with leading figures in industry. Throughout the series, we build a picture of how the IP world works, gathering insight into the latest trends and developments.

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