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The College is lead by a Chief Executive Officer and Registrar along with a Board of Directors. Once fully operational the Board consists of five appointed and 4 elected Directors.

The Board has approved a Skills & Attributes Matrix outlining the range of experience, knowledge, attributes and skills the Board of Directors should collectively possess.

Appointed Directors

Thomas G. Conway

Chair until 2023

Director until 2024

Thomas G. Conway is a partner at Conway Baxter Wilson LLP, a law firm based in Ottawa, Ontario. Mr. Conway has practised litigation for 30 years and is recognized by his peers as a leading practitioner in corporate and commercial litigation.

From 2012 to 2014, Mr. Conway served as treasurer of the Law Society of Ontario, the highest elected office of the largest regulator of the legal professions in Canada. He led several important regulatory initiatives during his tenure at the Law Society. In 2014–2015, he served as president of the Federation of Law Societies of Canada, the umbrella organization of Canada’s 14 provincial and territorial regulators.

Mr. Conway is an honorary member of the law societies of Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan. In 2017, the Law Society of Ontario awarded him an LLD (hon. causa) in recognition of his contributions to regulating the legal professions in Canada and to the cause of access to justice.

Ruth McHugh

Vice-Chairperson until 2023

Chairperson in 2024

Ruth McHugh is an FCPA, an MBA and a governance specialist. As demonstrated throughout her career as a business leader and most recently in her role as chief operating officer at the Office of the Auditor General of Alberta (OAG), she has a proven history of creating a vision, building fantastic teams, sharing stories to inspire stakeholders and delivering results.

Before joining the OAG, Ms. McHugh was chief financial officer and director of operations at the Art Gallery of Alberta and had a distinguished career as director of operations and controller of Company’s Coming Publishing Limited.

Ms. McHugh also served as co-chair of the Alberta Accountants Unification Agency and in that capacity had a major role in creating single chartered professional accountant designation for Alberta. Before that, she served two consecutive terms as board chair for CMA Alberta and a term as vice-chair of the CMA Canada Council of Chairs. In 2011, she was named a Fellow of the Society of Management Accountants of Canada for her distinguished service to the Canadian accounting profession.

Ms. McHugh holds an MBA from Heriot-Watt University and is a graduate of the ICD-Rotman Directors Education Program.

Karima Bawa – Director until 2024

Director until 2024

Karima Bawa is a senior fellow with the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI). Her research focuses on issues surrounding the commercialization of university research and development and capacity building in intellectual property (IP) strategy for Canadian innovators.
For the past several years, Ms. Bawa has been involved in various initiatives designed to help organizations better protect and leverage their IP rights. Most recently, she joined the Standards Council of Canada Technical Committee as an expert, representing Canada’s interests for the forthcoming IP Management Standard (ISO 50505). Ms. Bawa advises and supports technology start-ups and scale-ups.

Before her role at CIGI, Ms. Bawa was the chief legal officer and general counsel at Research In Motion (BlackBerry). In the 12 years she served at Research In Motion, she was a member of the senior leadership team and oversaw a global legal team. She was also a member of various strategic and operational senior management committees.

Ms. Bawa is a graduate of Simon Fraser University’s Executive MBA program and BSc program. She also obtained a law degree from the University of British Columbia and is a graduate of the ICD-Rotman Directors Education Program.

Elected Directors

Andrew Currier

Patent Agent Director until 2024

Andrew Currier is a recognized leader in intellectual property, combining experience in industry, law and academia before co-founding PCK. Andrew’s industry experience includes General Counsel for a publicly-traded flat-panel display company, IP counsel for a Silicon Valley start-up, and engineer for the automotive industry. In law, Andrew practised for several years with three of Canada’s national firms.

In academia, Andrew held a teaching appointment as Adjunct Professor at Western University in London Ontario, teaching patent law from 2000-2007. Cited by the Supreme Court of Canada, he is also co-author (with Stephen Perry) of Canadian Patent Law (4th ed. LexisNexis, 2021) the first text on Canadian patent law by practitioners in over thirty years.

Jeffrey Astle

Patent Agent Director until 2023

Jeffrey Astle is an intellectual property (IP) lawyer, patent and trademark agent, and business executive with over 30 years of experience. Mr. Astle was Associate General Counsel—Intellectual Property for Pratt & Whitney Canada Corp. (P&WC), at its head office in Longueuil, Quebec from 1994 until his retirement in 2021.

Mr. Astle oversaw P&WC’s IP legal team responsible for implementing the company’s corporate IP strategies and processes, managing its patent and trademark portfolios and IP litigation, and providing legal and business support for IP aspects of all P&WC agreements and IP- and technology-related legal matters.

Mr. Astle is a licensed Canadian patent agent and trademark agent and U.S. patent agent, is a member of the Law Society of Ontario and is permitted by the Barreau du Québec to practice law in Quebec in the capacity of Canadian Legal Advisor. He obtained his BASc in chemical engineering from the University of Windsor (1985), MASc in chemical engineering from the University of Toronto (1987) and LLB from Osgoode Hall Law School (1990).

Prior to relinquishing his membership to serve as a Director as required by the College of Patent Agents and Trademark Agents Act, Mr. Astle was a Fellow and is a Past President of the Intellectual Property Institute of Canada (IPIC), Canada’s professional association of patent agents, trademark agents and lawyers practising IP law.

Brigitte Chan

Trademark Agent Director until 2024

Brigitte Chan has a strong commitment to intellectual property, with over 20 years of experience as a trademark agent and lawyer. Brigitte counsel clients in trademark clearance, prosecution, licensing and litigious matters, including in industrial design, copyright, packaging and labelling, and Internet-related matters, and is the Head of Bereskin & Parr’s Montreal office, a leading Canadian intellectual property law firm serving clients across all industries around the world. She holds both a Civil Law and a Common Law degree from the University of Ottawa and completed an Intensive Intellectual Property Summer Program at the University of Victoria prior to joining Bereskin & Parr. Brigitte is a recognized practitioner by her peers and clients, domestically and internationally. She received the Order of Merit from the Civil Law Section of the University of Ottawa in 2021. Brigitte was member of the Advisory Board of the 2022 and 2021 Canadian General Counsel Awards, presenting the Bereskin & Parr Diversity Award. She is also a frequent author and lecturer on various topics, such as non-traditional marks, licensing and Quebec French language issues.

Leonora Hoicka

Trademark Agent Director until 2023

Leonora Hoicka has over 35 years intellectual property law experience, in both private and corporate practice. After 10 years with Ridout & Maybee in Toronto, she joined IBM Canada in 1993.  With IBM Canada, she performed several global roles, including managing patent and trademark portfolios and leading IP transactional teams.  Subsequently, as Associate General Counsel with IBM Corporation in New York, she served as IBM’s Chief Trademark Counsel for over a decade and led IP Law teams supporting IBM’s Watson business unit developing AI technologies and IBM’s global patent enforcement and licensing team. 

After retiring from IBM in late 2020, Leonora has worked as an IP consultant.  Leonora has a BIS from the University of Waterloo and her law degree from the University of Ottawa.  She is admitted to the bars of Ontario and New York, is a registered Canadian patent and trademark agent, and a past president of the Intellectual Property Institute of Canada.