Karima Bawa

CIGI Senior Fellow Karima Bawa is currently leading a project on optimizing university-developed intellectual property in Canada. Prior to her role at CIGI, she was the chief legal officer and general counsel for Research In Motion (BlackBerry).

Photo of Karima Bawa
Intellectual Property Law
Commercial Law


Karima Bawa is a CIGI senior fellow. Her research focuses on issues surrounding the commercialization of university research and development and capacity building in intellectual property (IP) strategy for Canadian innovators. Along with CIGI Senior Fellow Myra Tawfik, Karima has developed a massive open online course titled Foundations of IP Strategy and has authored a forthcoming book, The Intellectual Property Guide, IP Literacy and Strategy Basics for Supporting Innovation, which will be published in early fall 2019.

For the past several years, Karima 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, where she represents Canada’s interests for the forthcoming IP Management Standard (ISO 50505). Karima also serves on a number of boards and advises and supports technology start-ups and scale-ups. She is a scholar-in-residence at Windsor Law’s Law and Technology Lab, where she has been involved in interdisciplinary studies related to IP literacy.

Prior to her role at CIGI, Karima 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 valued 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. One of her key responsibilities was to oversee critical and multi-jurisdictional IP litigation that threatened the ongoing operations of the company. Karima has also engaged with various government entities during her tenure at Research In Motion and thereafter, to improve the patent system particularly as it relates to patent reform.

Karima is a graduate of Simon Fraser University’s executive M.B.A. program and B.Sc. program. She also attained a law degree from the University of British Columbia and is a graduate of the Rotman Directors Education Program.