Serving the Agricultural Biotechnology Community of North America  

Frequently Asked Questions

What do you do?

I help strategize, negotiate and draft agreements that enable a person or institution to create wealth from their intellectual property or from the intellectual property the client wishes to license in. I do what is technically called in Canada and other commonwealth nations “solicitors’ work” and what most people would simply call contract negotiating and drafting.  I help a client determine what they will license and on what terms and draft the applicable agreement.

What is your specialty?

My focus is plants, crops and flowers, or technically field crops, ornamentals and horticulture. I am familiar with the scientific and regulatory regimes for genetically modified plants and plants with novel traits, including attendant international treaties and issues.

What international experience do you have?

I have dealt with American and European multi-nationals in technology transfer.  Furthermore I was the Canadian Legal Delegate to the UN Food and Agricultural Organization meetings concerning the International Treaty for Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) and The Cartagena Protocol under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). I worked effectively and successfully with the US Delegation to the UN FAO as a co-partner in the North American Region. I also worked exceedingly well with the Australian and New Zealand delegations. I am presently listed as an arbitrator under the ITPGRFA

What is your approach to contracting?

Fit the law to the deal, not the deal to the law best sums up my approach. So I consider myself a facilitator not a spoiler.

My starting point is to ensure the parties understand each other.  It is astonishing how often one party speaks of “sweet” and the other party thinks “sour” (flavour), when the context holds the counterpoint as “dry” (wine) or “spicy” (culinary).

My second point is the architecture of the deal – use of recitals, covenants, headings, table of contents – helps the readers readily understand the deal, where it came from and where the parties are headed.

Thirdly I draft the document for the different “generations” of readers: negotiators, successors, administrators, arbitrators, advocates and regulators.  

In summary I view the contract as the manifestation of a deal long in process that is understandable to the various generations of users of the contract.

What is your approach to client relations?

I focus on the goals, negotiations and wording to give effect to what was agreed and what was understood.   Thus I consider myself a blend of student, investigator, problem solver and writer.

Who are your clients?

My clients tend to be institutions (research centres, university technology transfer offices) agricultural boards and advanced technologies entrepreneurs.
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