Smart & Biggar

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Smart & Biggar/Fetherstonhaugh
No. of offices5
No. of attorneysapproximately 100
Major practice areasIntellectual property
Date founded1890
FounderFrederick B. Fetherstonhaugh and Russel S. Smart

Smart & Biggar is a Canadian law firm specializing exclusively in intellectual property and technology law. The firm has offices in Ottawa, Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver and Calgary. It is related to the patent agency Fetherstonhaugh, and the two firms operate in unison through common partners, offices and personnel.

Smart & Biggar/Fetherstonhaugh has over 110 intellectual property professionals across its five offices. It is the largest firm in Canada that specializes exclusively in intellectual property law.


The firm was founded in Toronto by Frederick Fetherstonhaugh in 1890 as a patent firm known as Fetherstonhaugh & Co.[1] Fetherstonhaugh was a patent attorney from Mimico who was well known for having one of the first electrified homes in Toronto as well as owning the first electric car in Ontario, which was created by William Joseph Still in 1893.[2]

An Ottawa office was established in 1895, and was joined by Russel S. Smart in 1904.[3] Smart joined as a patent agent at the age of 19 with only a mechanical engineering degree from the University of Toronto, and he was later called to the Bar of Quebec in 1911 and to the Bar of Ontario in 1922. He was made a partner of the firm in 1913 with the patent agency then known as Fetherstonhaugh & Co., while the law firm was rebranded as Fetherstonhaugh & Smart.[3]

Fetherstonhaugh was joined in 1923 by Harold G. Fox to create the patent agency Fetherstonhaugh & Fox in Toronto.[4] In 1927, Oliver M. Biggar joined the partnership at the behest of Smart to form Smart & Biggar.[3]

One of the best-known successes in the firm's early years came in the case of Lightning Fastener v. Colonial Fastener,[5] where Fox, along with Smart and Biggar, successfully represented Lightning Fastener Co. and Dr. Gideon Sundback in a patent infringement action for their patent on an early version of the zipper.[4]


  1. ^ "Firm History". Smart & Biggar. Retrieved November 9, 2012.
  2. ^ Vance, Bill (April 11, 2009). "No horse required". National Post. Toronto.
  3. ^ a b c Maybee, Gareth E.; Mitchell, Robert E. (1985). History of the Patent and Trade Mark Profession in Canada. Ottawa: Patent and Trademark Institute of Canada. ISBN 0969205600.
  4. ^ a b Tumbridge, James (February 2004). "A Short History of Dr. Harold G. Fox". The Harold G. Fox Education Fund. Retrieved November 9, 2012.
  5. ^ Lightning Fastener v. Colonial Fastener, [1933] S.C.R. 371

Further reading[edit]

  • An article providing details on Oliver M. Biggar can be found in The Toronto Saturday Night, December 23, 1944, "Biggar is in shape again to help Canada get along in the world".
  • Bill Sherk, The Way We Drove, pg 4 – 5, Stoddart Publishing Co. Limited, 1993

External links[edit]