Famous Five Women of IP

Sarah McLachlan

Sarah McLachlan's enchanting voice and profound lyrics have been haunting our hearts and minds for over 30 years. This talented singer-songwriter has sold over 40 million albums in her career and was recently inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame. Her album Surfacing, released in 1997, is her best-selling release to date. She's also won an impressive number of Juno Awards. In 1999, she was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada and in 2001, she was further rewarded for her vision and talent when she was appointed to the Order of British Columbia.

Sarah is also an esteemed entrepreneur with three registered trademarks under the Sarah McLachlan Entertainment Corporation, including Tyde Records and Tyde Music, as well as the famous Lilith Fair festival, which showcased female artists. This festival brought over two million people together during its three-year run and raised over $7 million for women's charities. It also helped launch the careers of numerous female performers. Sarah has shown how protecting her intellectual property by registering her trademarks can be a strong strategic asset, not only from a business perspective but an artistic one as well.

Sarah continued her philanthropic efforts by laying the groundwork for a non-profit music education program in Vancouver. When she first envisioned a music school at no cost, she knew that in order for her vision to thrive, she would have to think outside the box. The Sarah McLachlan School of Music officially opened its doors in 2002 with a mission to provide top quality music instruction at no cost, in a safe and nurturing environment, for at-risk and underserved children and youth. The school reaches hundreds of young people every year, providing them with the space and the tools they need to express themselves and it offers a secure, inspiring place to learn, practice, and ultimately connect with others and with themselves.

Here's what music brings to Ms. McLachlan's life and how she's used her passion to help others:

"Because of music, my life has deeper meaning and a powerful sense of purpose. I learned early on how good it feels to give back and when I saw music programs being cut from the public school system, I knew I could do something to help fill that void. Creating a free music program for at-risk and underserved kids felt like a great and powerful way of using my gifts for something really meaningful, for a greater purpose."

Roberta Bondar

Born in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Dr. Roberta Bondar has an impressive list of achievements and has undertaken many professional roles in her life, including astronaut, physician, scientific researcher, photographer, author, environment interpreter and team leader. As Canada's first female astronaut and the first neurologist in space, she has received many honours, including the Order of Canada, the Order of Ontario, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Space Medal, 24 honorary degrees from Canadian and American universities and induction into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame.

Dr. Bondar combines her love of science with a passion for photography. She also understands the importance of protecting ideas and products through intellectual property rights. In July 2009, she founded the Roberta Bondar Foundation, a registered trademark and not-for-profit charity where she explores the relationship between life and the planet through the fusion of art and science. She's the only astronaut to use fine art photography to reveal Earth's natural environment from the surface. Through her foundation, she's interested in addressing "the growing nature deficit in society, cultivating in all ages a sense of awe, respect and appreciation for other life forms that share our planet."

Dr. Bondar is recognized worldwide for her contributions to space medicine. For more than a decade at NASA, she headed an international space medicine research team where she continued to find new connections between astronauts recovering from the microgravity of space and neurological illnesses here on Earth such as stroke and Parkinson's disease. She's a prime example of a scientist using science to better humanity!

Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood is a highly respected, world-famous Canadian novelist, but did you know that she's also an inventor? She is the genius behind the LongPen, a remote signing device that enables authors to give readings, interact with another person and do book signings without being physically present. In 2014, Margaret Atwood co-founded Syngrafii Inc. which has now developed into a leading digital signature platform with the launch of Syngrafii sPaper™.

She also holds various patents related to the LongPen technologies, demonstrating that protecting her intellectual property is key to her business strategy.

Ms. Atwood began writing at the tender age of six. At 78, she's still a very active member of the writing community. Her literary works and complex and enigmatic female characters have transformed the Canadian literary landscape and carved out a place for women in literature. She's won numerous awards, including the Man Booker Prize for her novel, The Blind Assassin, and some of her books have been adapted for stage and screen, including a television series based on Alias Grace and the recent Emmy-winning series, The Handmaid's Tale.

This great writer also believes in the importance of protecting our creations:

"Book copyrights are essential to the ability of writers to make a living from selling books that contain their creations. […] I could not exist as a self-employed writer without copyright."

Lise Watier

The former T.V. host carved out a place for herself in the business world when she founded Lise Watier Cosmetics in 1972. A trailblazer in the field of cosmetics in Canada, Ms. Watier's company emphasized quality and innovation. Over the past several decades, she has registered dozens of trademarks for her best-selling beauty products in Canada and Quebec. She believes that "managing one's trademarks is the key to the success and sustainability of a business. It enables us to accomplish great things and to have a positive impact on society."

Thanks to her determination, and because she listens to women, Ms. Watier has received many honours, including the Order of Canada, l'Ordre national du Québec and the  Order of Montreal, as well as three honorary doctorates.

In 2009, armed with her intellectual property rights, the visionary entrepreneur created the Lise Watier Foundation. Now headed by Ms. Watier's daughter, Marie-Lise Andrade, the foundation took a new turn in the fall of 2017 with the development of its own assistance program. The s'Entreprendre program is aimed at helping women gain long-term financial independence with the help of education and entrepreneurship. The program is based on the concepts of intervention, training, support and financial backing.

Dorothy Grant

The story of the Haida fashion designer, born in Alaska and now living in British Columbia, is one of inspiration and determination. From weaving spruce root hats with her grandmother in 1981 to opening a store downtown Vancouver in 1994 and finally receiving the Order of Canada in 2015, Dorothy Grant has followed her dreams, spreading the Haida culture internationally.

"I knew 30 years ago that my hands logo reflected the core philosophy of my fashion design. At first, I was using it as a garment label. Then, I registered it as a trademark that would always represent my name, which I had spent years branding. I fought for six years against a company that claimed my trademark was too similar to theirs: a battle I won, and which was worth fighting. The world of fashion is full of mimes that will copy without asking. That's when it's useful to have a registered trademark to prove you're the owner. People are less likely to copy it," says the designer.

Dorothy's work innovatively combines Haida formline art with haute couture and has been featured in 15 museums in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and New Zealand. It has been worn in fashion shows and on Oscars red carpets and has earned her an impressive number of awards in her career, spanning over four decades.