IP Intensive: A Semester at ISED - An Unforgettable Experience

As part of Osgoode’s Intellectual Property (IP) Intensive Program, I was placed at Innovation, Science, and Economic Development Canada (ISED) for 10 weeks. As the department of the Government of Canada charged with a mandate to foster a growing, competitive knowledge-based Canadian economy, ISED attempts to increase Canada’s share of global trade and enhance innovation performance towards a fair, efficient and competitive marketplace.

On my first day at ISED I was introduced to a group of very talented and welcoming individuals who helped me become acquainted with the department and their areas of research.

My role at ISED was to help the policy team research various hot IP topics, in particular, researching international trends in protecting traditional knowledge (TK) and examining the mandate of the Copyright Board of Canada. I got to work in close proximity with my team-mates, who frequently invited me to board meetings, university lectures, and teleconferences. This close proximity to a large variety of “hands-on” activities was one of the primary reasons I had selected this particular internship as my number 1 choice of placements during the application process.

In general, ISED provided me a great experience that allowed me to enhance my understanding of policy work and IP law, especially since I learned so many aspects of IP law that had never been touched upon during my summer work term at law firms or at law school.

For example, while my course on Copyright Law had made only passing references to the Copyright Board, at ISED, I got to delve into research about the history of the Board and its various functions.  I had to review Board decisions in order to understand the mandate of the Board and examine the Board’s application of its legislative mandate. I greatly enjoyed how I was allowed so much freedom in exploring the issues at hand and how I was able to pose questions not only to the policy team, but also to others, including analysts from the Department of Canadian Heritage.

I also helped research current developments in traditional knowledge protection. After spending the first two weeks helping one member of the policy team summarize current developments on TK protection in New Zealand, I expanded my scope of research to international TK protection. Focusing on the WIPO Draft Articles Rev. 2 (published September 23, 2016), I worked with the team to dissect and investigate the wording of the WIPO draft, and draw conclusions about the direction Canadian policy on TK should head towards.

All in all, I greatly enjoyed my internship. I enjoyed how I was able to work closely with my colleagues and how I was able to explore so many different topics within a relatively short period of time. The meetings, the teleconferences, the university lectures, and other events all contributed to a great experience that has helped me to not only significantly improve my writing and research skills, but also my ability to adapt and learn new ways of analyzing an issue. For anyone who is seeking to expand their boundaries beyond what is taught in textbooks, I highly recommend the IP Intensive program and ISED as your placement.


Imelda Lo is a JD Candidate at Osgoode Hall Law School and was enrolled in Osgoode’s Intellectual Property Law and Technology Intensive Program. As part of the program requirements, students were asked to write a reflective blog on their internship experience.

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