On January 29, 2021, I had the privilege of attending the IP Innovation Clinic ChatBot Launch Event. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the event was held online via Zoom and was streamed live through the Osgoode Hall Law School YouTube Channel. This event was organized to showcase the Innovation Clinic’s AI-powered ChatBot, IP Osgoode’s latest successful project. The aim of the ChatBot is to provide accurate, authoritative, and accessible information about IP rights to entrepreneurs, innovators, and students.
Professor Giuseppina (Pina) D’Agostino, Founder and Director of IP Osgoode, opened the event by highlighting the IP Innovation Clinic’s success throughout its years in making IP information more accessible and elevating diverse voices in the IP and innovation space. Professor D’Agostino laid out the event agenda, introduced the exceptional team behind the IP Innovation Clinic ChatBot, and the distinguished panelists for the Launch Event.
Following Professor D’Agostino’s remarks, Dr. Amir Asif, Vice President of Research and Innovation at York University, provided land acknowledgements and highlighted York University’s commitment to welcoming diverse voices to the academic space. Dr. Asif echoed the importance of making credible IP knowledge more accessible through tools such as the IP Innovation Clinic ChatBot.
Professor Terry Sachlos, Associate Director at Bergeron Entrepreneurs in Science & Technology (BEST) Lab introduced Nikita Iliushkin, Co-Founder & CEO of Skygauge Robotics. Nikita’s inspiring story of turning his vision into reality, with the help of the BEST Lab, the IP Osgoode Innovation Clinic, and the Schulich School of Business, is a testament to the remarkable achievements that are possible through collaboration. Nikita, alongside his partner at Skygauge Robotics, Linar Ismagilov, used BEST Lab resources to invent and develop a drone which uses ultra-sound technology to inspect metal structures. Skygauge’s drone aims to provide a safe, efficient, and cost-effective way to inspect metal structures. With the help of the IP Innovation Clinic, Nikita and Skygauge patented their invention.
After Nikita’s presentation, it was time for the ChatBot demo. The ChatBot was developed through the efforts of Maya Medeiros, Partner at Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP, Al Hounsell, Senior Innovation Lawyer at Norton Rose, Ryan Wong, JD Candidate and IP Innovation Clinic Coordinator, and a team of student volunteers at IP Osgoode. Al Hounsell provided a primer on artificial intelligence (AI) and how it can be utilized to deliver legal information to clients, innovators, and entrepreneurs. The IP Innovation Clinic ChatBot can be classified as a rules-and-pattern-based AI system because it derives its baseline system of rules from information fed to it by legal experts. The ChatBot gets “smarter” by identifying patterns in its users’ input. The ChatBot identifies two key components form these patterns: intents and entities. Intents are what the ChatBot users intend to derive from the questions they ask. Entities modify intents in an AI-based system. In the context of the ChatBot, as Ryan demonstrated in the demo, entities can be defined as the alternative ways in which a question can be asked. As a result, the more familiar the ChatBot becomes with different iterations of a question, the more intelligent and competent it becomes.
The final portion of the event was a thoughtful panel discussion moderated by Osgoode Hall Law School Professor David Vaver about navigating the IP and innovation ecosystem. The panelists came from different sectors in the IP and innovation space. Each one brought a valuable perspective on the pressing IP and innovation issues that Canada and the world face, including economic growth, accessibility, and elevating diverse voices . A common theme running through the panel discussion was the importance of creating an inclusive and accessible environment for Canadian innovators of all backgrounds to flourish; and elevating voices from underserved communities who have been left out of the conversation for too long.
The IP Innovation Clinic ChatBot Launch Event deepened my understanding of how AI can easily, accessibly, and cost-effectively deliver information to users. Intellectual property assets are often a business’s first and most valuable assets, especially in its early stages. However, many innovators cannot access legal advice about their IP rights so early on in their business. I hope that free and user-friendly tools, such as the ChatBot, can alleviate some of the barriers that currently halt innovation.
For more information and a full recording of the ChatBot Launch Event, click here.
Written by Bonnie Hassanzadeh, IPilogue Editor and Clinic Fellow at Osgoode Innovation Clinic.