Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) is a federal department within the Canadian government that works to “improve conditions for investment, enhance Canada’s innovation performance, increase Canada’s share of global trade and build a fair, efficient and competitive marketplace.” ISED has a broad portfolio of work from Destination Canada to Canadian Space Agency. ISED is also responsible for launching Canada’s National Intellectual Property (IP) Strategy in 2018. As a student of IP Osgoode’s Intellectual Property Law and Technology Intensive Program, I had the incredible honour of completing my 10-week placement at ISED, working directly with the IP Centre of Expertise (IP CoE) team.
The IP CoE was established as part of the National IP strategy. The team represents a significant step forward for Canada and the value the government has placed on improving the IP culture with the Canadian public and within the federal government. The focus of the IP CoE is to provide strategic IP advice to government program designs and policies, develop best practices, perform data analysis on IP trends and approaches, and promote awareness on common IP issues. I was excited and encouraged to learn the systematic approach that the IP CoE team is taking in order to promote IP awareness, education and advice as part of improving the IP regime in Canada.
My work with the IP CoE offered a unique experience that helped me understand the current IP issues from the Canadian government’s perspective. IP plays an important role in the success of Canadian businesses – from growing the economy and creating jobs in Canada to helping Canadian businesses establish a competitive advantage in the international marketplace. The meetings I’ve attended provided an inside look into what Canada has done and how the Canadian government plans to pursue its stated goals under the national IP strategy.
The placement experience gave further insight into how the government operates internally. Following the Speech from the Throne on September 23, 2020, I attended a series of meetings that parsed through how the contents of the speech impacted the department’s work going forward. Throughout the placement, I was also reminded that my work products will be reported to senior officials and impact IP culture in Canada. The significance of the work I was part of made the experience even more meaningful.
COVID-19 has had a large impact on all aspects of life and the IP Intensive placement was no exception. Despite this, my placement experience adapted well to the new reality. I was able to work virtually from home in Toronto with the IP CoE team residing primarily in Ottawa. We had periodic working-level meetings to keep the team updated on each of our work assignments. I was in constant communication with my supervisors as well. Although I never got to meet the team in-person or experience working and living in Ottawa, I was warmly welcomed by the team and seamlessly integrated.
Overall, I had a wonderful experience with the IP CoE and would recommend the placement to anyone interested in learning about IP from a government’s point of view. I got a glimpse of what it’s like to work for the government and met incredible people along the way. I feel strongly that this experience will serve to benefit my professional development as I pursue a career in IP law.
I want to thank everyone at ISED, especially the IP CoE team, for making my experience so memorable. I also want to take this moment to thank everyone at IP Osgoode for this unique opportunity and for all the work they put in to make the placement possible despite the COVID- 19 pandemic. IP Osgoode is best described as an opportunity that keeps on giving. My placement has offered me a part-time position, which I started in January 2021. I am very grateful to have been able to rejoin the IP CoE team this semester and continue my placement work with them.
Written by Ryan Wong, JD Candidate 2021, enrolled in Professors D’Agostino and Vaver’s 2020/2021 IP & Technology Law Intensive Program at Osgoode Hall Law School. As part of the course requirements, students were asked to write a reflective blog on their internship experience.