Every commercial dispute should be approached from an economic perspective, and should be analyzed for total costs, likely results, risks and time before any decision is taken to proceed.
Commercial disputes are business problems to be solved, not just cases to be won, and litigation tools are only one set of options. A multi-disciplinary approach focusing on early resolution, combining legal strategy with business strategy and with rigorous financial analysis, can lead to solutions of even the most difficult problems at a cost that is proportional to what is at stake.
Robbie began his career as a prosecutor, and has tried hundreds of cases. In commercial litigation he has experience with:
* shareholder, partnership and sale of business disputes
* fraud and Mareva injunctions
* commercial leasing disputes
* franchise disputes
* product liability: warranty, fitness, and wrongful death
* fundamental breach and contractual limitations of liability
* debt collection
* international jurisdiction and forum conveniens
* joint ventures
* application of family law to businesses and other non-family members
* engineering disputes and industrial accidents
Intellectual Property Law
Robbie has business experience in technology firms as well as legal experience with intellectual property litigation.
When you are involved in an intellectual property dispute, whether it be copyright, patents, trade marks, or trade secrets, you should expect your lawyer to understand your business model and your technology as well as you do, and you should expect that he will be able to explain the legal issues in this complex field in clear, practical language – a lawyer who can do that is also a lawyer who can help you to develop a plan forward through both your IP and your business problems.
If your former employee has stolen your confidential information or technology, your lawyer's focus should be on how quickly you can get to court on an injunction application before any more damage is done, what your chances of success are, what it will cost to get there, and what will happen after you take these first steps.
If your patent is being infringed, you don't want a long opinion telling you what you already know – that your patent is being infringed. You want to know is how much it will cost to pursue, how long it will take, and what will be the likely result.
If your trademarks are being abused by a competitor, you don't want to pay for a long legal opinion about the tort of passing off or s. 7 of the Trade-Marks Act – you want to be told how to save your brand before it is too late.
And if you suddenly find yourself being accused of using someone else's brand name, you want clear and practical advice that will get you to a lasting solution as quickly as possible – not something that will later get you investigated under s. 45 of the Competition Act as a criminal allocation of territories, customers, or markets.
Of course, IP is not only about technology – all businesses have intellectual property. Names, recipes, websites, software, business plans and almost everything else that a modern business does has elements of intellectual property.
In all cases, the key to intellectual property disputes is a solid understanding of the IP in issue, combined with a solid understanding of its business context.
Labour and Employment Law
Canadian law is generally very favourable to employees, but the economics of litigation are invariably on the side of the employer.
For both employers and employees, resolving a severance or dismissal claim involves comparing the range of damages a court will award with the cost of the litigation required to get there. Because they have more resources, employers always have a stronger bargaining position but in many cases there is also business value for employers in maintaining their reputations by treating all employees fairly.
The resolution of employment disputes depends on the balance between these three factors. Robbie has acted for employers, employees, and union members, and has experience with:
* Wrongful dismissal
* Employment Standards
* Duties of unions to their members under s. 12 of the Labour Code