Mac Mok is an IP Innovation Clinic Senior Fellow and a 3L JD Candidate at Osgoode Hall Law School. This article was written as a requirement for Prof. Pina D’Agostino’s IP Intensive Program.
This semester, I participated in Osgoode’s Intellectual Property (IP) Law and Technology Intensive program (IP Intensive). The IP Intensive starts with a 2 week seminar series where students are exposed to a variety of IP related topics, followed by a 10 week placement at an organization to allow students to gain working experience. Students also meet biweekly to discuss current IP issues.
The 2 week seminar series provided an amazing crash course on all things IP, covering topics on patents, trademarks, copyright and industrial design, IP prosecution and litigation, as well as IP commercialization. We were also treated to seminars that seemed more science-fiction than law, where we discussed the impact of artificial intelligence (AI), and law in space. The seminar series was given by experienced IP practitioners, academics, company founders and public servants working in government, which provided me with different perspectives of the IP ecosystem. The seminar series not only gave me a working knowledge base of IP, but it was also a horizon-broadening experience that sparked my interest in areas of law that I had not previously heard of nor considered as a career path.
For my 10-week placement, I had the opportunity to join a branch of the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO). CIPO is a special operating agency of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED), which delivers IP services in Canada. Specifically, I joined the Policy, International Affairs, and Research Office (PIRO), which provides advice, guidance and representation on policy, regulatory, international and economic issues to CIPO’s Executive Office and senior management, as well as the Deputy Minister and Minister of ISED.
My work was primarily to conduct research. On my very first week, I was invited to propose my own research project and to select from a list of topics that were of interest to PIRO. This was a wonderful opportunity, as I was given the freedom to explore areas of IP that I found particularly interesting. I decided to explore the topic of IP asset valuation, a field that was recognized long ago by the international IP community as an important aspect of the IP field but remains a challenging feat to perform even today. As I started my research, I quickly realized this project required a multidisciplinary team to complete. Luckily for me, PIRO had a highly collaborative environment. My supervisor was extremely supportive of my research efforts and helped me connect with experts from other branches of CIPO so that I could conduct my research. My work would have been far inferior without these fruitful discussions. I was also able to interview a company founder whom I met during the IP Intensive seminar series to gain their perspective on IP valuation. This was my first experience of performing stake-holder outreach and was a valuable experience.
In addition to my research, I also had the opportunity to prepare briefing packages for the executive office and assisted in drafting a CIPO report. These exercises gave me a glimpse into the inner workings of a government office and what it is like to be a public servant.
While working at CIPO, I also had the opportunity to attend many educational seminars that were hosted by ISED’s Intellectual Property Center of Expertise (IPCoE), the Federal Intellectual Property Partnership and CIPO’s Corporate Strategies and Services branch. These seminars provided me with valuable IP knowledge, such as how to approach managing an IP asset. I also learned about the unique challenges that public servants face when interacting with IP, as well as the exciting research conducted by CIPO that directs policy decisions.
In addition to my valuable experience at CIPO, the IP Intensive also gave me the chance to attend two conferences focusing on Disruptive technologies and AI: the 2022 CAN-TECH Law Annual Conference, and the Bracing for Impact: The Future of AI in Society Conference. These full day conferences offered perspectives on leading technology, law and IP issues and an opportunity to connect with industry professionals.
My IP Intensive experience has been wonderful. Not only did I get the chance to perform work in a welcoming and supportive environment that is CIPO, and attend eye opening conferences, but I also made connections and memories that I will treasure as I move forward in my legal career.