This year’s World Intellectual Property Day theme is focused on the role that IP rights play in encouraging innovation and creativity and how the IP system supports innovation. At Osgoode Hall Law School, one of the ways we strive to foster innovation is through our Innovation Clinic, a student-focused initiative that assists start-up companies, entrepreneurs and inventors with IP-related business issues.
Launched in 2010, the Osgoode Innovation Clinic was the first student-staffed IP legal clinic of its kind in Canada. Osgoode students, who are supervised and mentored by lawyers from Norton Rose Fulbright LLP, offer pro bono legal assistance to start-ups. By providing our students with the opportunity to help start-ups with real-world IP-related business issues, the Innovation Clinic not only helps educate our next generation of legal thinkers and practitioners on how to commercialize IP but it also minimizes some of the access to justice barriers that can so often choke a start-up company in its nascent stages.
In its seven years of operation, the Innovation Clinic has attracted a broad range of clients including walk-ins from the general public, referrals from a number of external organizations, such as the Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE), ventureLAB, OCADU, and the York Entrepreneurship Development Institute, and through formal collaborations between York University’s Innovation York and the Lassonde School of Engineering’s Bergeron Entrepreneurs in Science & Technology (BEST) Program.
Earlier this year, we were happy to announce a new partnership with the International Law Research Program (ILRP) at the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI). The partnership aims to expand the Innovation Clinic, support research that critically evaluates the Innovation Clinic model as well as clinic models elsewhere, and identify potential opportunities for developing a network of clinics in Canada and beyond.
Whether you are a student, legal practitioner, entrepreneur or inventor, there are many ways for you to get involved with the Innovation Clinic or benefit from its services and resources. Click here to learn more about the Innovation Clinic or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
On World IP Day, we encourage our readership to join the conversation in the comments section below. Which innovation has most improved your life? What more can be done to make sure new technologies reach the people who need them? What do you think should be the priorities for future innovation?
Giuseppina D’Agostino is the Founder & Director of IP Osgoode, the IP Intensive Program, and the Innovation Clinic, the Editor-in-Chief for the IPilogue and the Intellectual Property Journal, and an Associate Professor at Osgoode Hall Law School.