ROBIC salutes the 50 years of practice of one of its pioneers, Me Hugues Richard!



Undisputed ambassador of intellectual property in Canada, accomplished jurist, distinguished trademark agent, sought-after speaker, internationally renowned professional, seasoned litigator, visionary, leading light, pioneer, but, above all, a man with heart and an inspiring and captivating career, here is a brief overview of Hugues Richard, an exceptional man. 

Undoubtedly, there is no shortage of praise for his accomplishments over his 50 years of practice, 45 of which were spent with ROBIC. 

By combining the firms Léger Robic Richard and Robic it was possible to create a truly multidisciplinary practice of engineers, scientists, patent agents and lawyers. “A marriage that was not obvious at first, but which worked well and of which I am proud today.” says Hugues Richard.  

One could review all his successes, praise his many merits, and count the impressive number of extra-professional activities to which he has devoted himself, but what makes him unique is the committed, devoted and sensitive human being he has always been. 

When asked the question: “What are the first words that come to mind when you look back on your career?“, Hugues Richard does not hesitate. He answers that the close ties he has created with his colleagues and the great friendships he has built over the years are the most wonderful achievements he can think of. Speaking of his friendships, which he describes as “indelible”, he thinks in particular Georges T. Robic and Jacques A. Léger. 

However, it is to Sylvia Barchechat, his assistant who has been faithful to him throughout the entirety of his career at the firm, that he wishes to dedicate all his gratitude. “Sylvia is the person who helped me the most during my career. She protected me and I became who I am partly thanks to her.” he says, visibly moved. 

Hugues Richard has never been one to shy away from a challenge and, thanks to his love for the practice of law and his great sense of rhetoric, was able to achieve many successes.  “Hugues G. Richard argued the dismissal of an application for an interlocutory injunction concerning a television commercial based on a parody of Lise Payette’s (then) hyper-popular soap opera Des dames de cœur without ever having watched any of the episodes (and was still able to have the application dismissed). A simple question of law, not fact!” says Laurent Carrière.  

In addition to his many professional talents, Hugues Richard has also demonstrated a great deal of aptitude for managing people. Throughout his career, he was involved in the firm’s management and oversaw the hiring of several talented lawyers who are now renowned partners in intellectual property. With a smile in his voice, he recounts the hiring of Laurent Carrière, François M. Grenier, François Painchaud, Bob H. Sotiriadis and Dario Pietrantonio. “I have a little story about each of them. They have never disappointed me.”  

The appreciation between the students and their teacher is mutual. “Hugues was my first contact when I interviewed in the spring of 1986. He was my mentor and, still today, is a source of inspiration when I am called upon to make important decisions for both clients and the firm.” says François Painchaud. 

For Barry Gamache, there is no doubt that his former colleague is a role model. “Hugues Richard is a gentleman, a man of culture, an outstanding colleague. He is a very pleasant person around whom it is impossible to get angry. He is a level-headed lawyer who never lost his composure, no matter the situation.” 

Fellow litigator Bob H. Sotiriadis was hired by Hugues Richard following a case in which they were on opposite sides. “I was young and he was the coolest and most eloquent lawyer I had ever met. I have spent my career trying to do my best to live up to the confidence he showed in me.” 

Alongside his notable accomplishments, aside from the major trials in which he has participated and his various involvements, including his 10 years involvement with IPIC, Hugues Richard highlights his participation in the creation of the two reference books on intellectual property for which ROBIC is still renowned for today. 

For the record, it is in 1976, when Hugues Richard began his career in intellectual property, that he noticed that there was no regularly updated reference material from trademarks. From there came the idea of writing a complete guide to remedy the situation. Once a week for several years, during meetings starting at 7:00 a.m., the entire team worked to create the first reference book, which was published in 1984 by Deboo (now Thomson Reuters). In 1993, the publisher called upon the firm once more to procure a second reference book, this time on copyright. 

In addition to having contributed to the Robic-Tanadian TradeMarks Act AnnotatedRobic-Canadian Copyright Act Annotated and Robic-Loi canadienne sur les marques de commerce annotées, Hugues Richard has, through hard and meticulous work, collaborated in the writing of countless articles on intellectual property law which have proved to be an invaluable legacy for the profession. 

With a wealth of experience and practice, Hugues Richard has some sound advice for young practitioners who want to be successful: work hard, avoid putting your foot in your mouth and follow the Code of Professional Conduct strictly. There you have it! 

Despite all the effort he has put into his professional and personal successes, Hugues Richard is a firm believer in luck, or, at least, the ability to seize it when it comes one’s way. For his part, he says he is very lucky and also very intuitive. “I have always trusted my emotions and my intuition.” 

Although he has dedicated himself assiduously to this profession, he does not go so far as to call it a passion since his one true passion in life is his spouse, Louise Poirier. He speaks gratefully of the woman who has supported him throughout his career and has carried out the role of mother and wife, in addition to practicing as a notary with brio. In love with the woman of his life, loyal to his friends, a caring father of two daughters and grandfather of five grandchildren, Hugues Richard will now devote his time to the hobbies he has always cherished: riding his bicycle around the world, playing tennis and skiing for as long as possible! 

When he was very young, Hugues Richard dreamed of becoming the captain of a ship. Although sailing the seven seas did not end up being his destiny, Hugues Richard nonetheless seized his chance to be at the helm of an exceptional ship and to lead his crew to safe harbor… as a great captain would have done.