International Women's Day Spotlight - IPIC Director - Jordana Sanft
Marked annually on March 8th International Women's Day (IWD) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. Participation is witnessed worldwide as groups come together to celebrate women's achievements and rally for women's equality. This year's campaign theme is 'Embrace Equity' because true inclusion and belonging require equitable action, and because when we embrace equity, we embrace diversity and inclusion. In celebration of this day IPIC will highlight prominent women members who are just some of the many incredible women within the IP profession.
Jordana Sanft, IPIC Director, Partner, Lenczner Slaght LLP
Jordana practices in all areas of intellectual property law, and is particularly well known for her experience in patent and trademark disputes. She is recognized for treating clients as partners, providing practical and strategic advice and obtaining successful results in and out of the courtroom.
Jordana has particular expertise in the pharmaceutical and life sciences industry. She also works with clients in the technology, biotechnology, consumer goods, energy, food and beverage, hospitality, and horticulture industries. She regularly acts in proceedings under the Patented Medicines (Notice of Compliance) Regulations, patent impeachment and infringement actions, judicial review proceedings, and damages actions.
As part of her approach in leading Canadian IP litigation, Jordana works with clients to maximize success on a local and global level. Jordana has an interest in legal issues at the intersection of IP and artificial intelligence. She regularly works with clients concerning the protection and optimization of their intellectual property portfolios and enforcement of their intellectual property rights.
Jordana has appeared as counsel in matters before the Federal Court of Appeal, the Federal Court, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, and specialized tribunals such as the Trademarks Opposition Board. Jordana is a registered patent and trademark agent.
Why is equity, diversity, and inclusion important to the IP profession?
EDI is important to all professions, including IP. EDI supports an environment of respect and is key to creating a culture of trust. EDI can enhance innovation, collaboration, productivity and engagement. Because certain aspects of the IP profession are founded in science and technology which are disciplines that have historically been less inclusive of marginalized communities, the need to address EDI within IP is particularly important. We need to actively work to overcome historic boundaries and inequities. The benefits of EDI are directly linked to the underpinnings of the IP profession i.e. of innovation and creativity. With this in mind EDI should be a core tenet of the IP profession.
Which of your accomplishments are you most proud of?
I chose a career in IP because I believe that this area of law is challenging, ever-evolving and at the forefront of innovation and creativity. I am fortunate to have the opportunity to work with incredibly talented and smart people such as inventors of life-saving medicines and companies that advance science and art. I have had many meaningful career accomplishments. What I am most proud of is having a growth mindset to take on new challenges to grow professionally and personally. This is not easy but is very rewarding.
What do you believe are the best ways individuals can Embrace Equity to collectively impact positive change?
One way to collectively impact positive change is to remember that small steps can have a big impact. Connect with people. Be open to opportunities. Create opportunities. Recognize others. Echo voices. Create and contribute to a work environment of psychological safety.
What advice do you have for aspiring women IP professionals?
Women may face challenges in the IP Profession in part because of a scarcity of role models, sponsors, mentors and allies. However, we are starting to see more attention being paid to issues of equity, diversity and inclusion within the practice and among clients. We are also starting to properly recognize the incredible women leaders in IP. These shifts will help younger people more easily envision their own career paths. Women interested in a career in IP should be encouraged to pursue that path and look for supporters to guide you in meeting your goals. Additionally, we should start with young boys and girls and encourage them both equally to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, arts, and math, as well as law. Opening opportunity at the early stages of education and life is an important way to encourage and support future leaders.
What will be the biggest challenge for the next generation of women leaders in the IP profession?
If the legal profession and society as whole work hard to #EmbraceEquity, engage in discussion, take meaningful action, and continue to break down barriers for women and marginalized communities then we can hope that the biggest challenge for the next generation of women leaders will be the same challenges faced by all leaders in the IP profession.