IP Innovation Clinic
The IP Innovation Clinic is a needs-based innovation-to-society intellectual property (IP) legal clinic operated in collaboration with Innovation York and supervising law firms Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP, Bereskin & Parr LLP and OWN Innovation. The Clinic is staffed by student volunteers (called “Clinic Fellows”) from Osgoode Hall Law School who are supervised by lawyers from Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP, Bereskin & Parr LLP and OWN Innovation.
Under the guidance and mentorship of the supervising lawyers, Clinic Fellows provide one-to-one legal information services to inventors, entrepreneurs, and start-up companies to assist with the innovation and commercialization processes. Through this hands-on practical experience, Clinic Fellows learn about common early-stage IP and business issues facing actors in the innovation ecosystem.
Professor Giuseppina D’Agostino, Director and Founder of the IP Innovation Clinic, collaborated with the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), an independent non-partisan think tank based in Waterloo, Ontario. Prof. D’Agostino and her research team worked with CIGI’s International Law Research Program and completed a research report evaluating the IP Innovation Clinic model. A copy of the report can be found here.
In 2021, the IP Innovation Clinic launched the IP Innovation ChatBot through a virtual launch event. Under-resourced innovators, entrepreneurs, and start-up companies lack tools and knowledge to profit from their inventions. These issues are often worsened for those from underrepresented communities, including women and Indigenous entrepreneurs. When the Clinic observed that many of its under-resourced inventors faced similar struggles and had similar questions, under Prof. D’Agostino’s leadership, it developed the Artificial Intelligence-powered IP Innovation ChatBot with support from CIPO and ISED pursuant to the National IP Strategy Clinics Program. Available to everyone for free, the ChatBot provides timely, effective, and credible answers to many IP pressing questions and hopes to address the most pertinent issues facing underrepresented communities who wish to engage in Canada’s IP innovation ecosystem.
The IP Innovation Clinic’s mandate is two-fold:
- Ignite an Innovative Economy – Offset prohibitive costs of IP legal assistance by providing pro bono, one-on-one legal information services to inventors, entrepreneurs, start-ups, and SMEs.
- Educate and Empower Students – Prepare law students for the professional world by providing the opportunity to gain hands-on, practical experience while learning about some of the common early stage IP and business-related issues under the supervision of practicing lawyers.
The IP Innovation Clinic has a dual client-student mandate, which addresses the IP literacy shortcomings in Canada for law students as well as inventors and entrepreneurs.
The IP Innovation Clinic serves a diverse range of innovators across various industries and welcomes clients from across Southern Ontario from within and outside the York University community.
Our clients are individuals or start-up companies who do not have the resources to hire a lawyer, patent agent, or other advisors. Obtaining just one patent in Canada can cost $20,000 or more from filing to final registration. These costs can become prohibitive for innovators, especially when you add the costs of additional patent applications, patent maintenance, incorporation, non-disclosure agreements, employment agreements, licensing agreements, and other legal structures. We assist clients with reducing some of these costs, helping them take their innovations into the marketplace.
Learn more about becoming an IP Innovation Clinic client here.
The IP Innovation Clinic operates year-round and offers various forms of IP and commercialization assistance. Our team creates tailored work plans for each client based on their needs and stage of business development. During the consultation intake call, the supervising lawyer and IP Innovation Clinic Fellow will work with the client to determine an agreed upon work plan. The work of our Clinic Fellows is pro bono aside from a $50 administrative fee.
The IP Innovation Clinic services may include IP consultations, preliminary freedom-to-operate information, and IP clearance search work in the following areas:
- Reviewing basic issues in business transactions involving intellectual property,
- Patent searches and prior art searches,
- Trademark searches,
- Agreement review (Internal, Contractor, License, etc.),
- Application drafting and/or review,
- Other tasks as assigned and supervised by the supervising lawyer.
Visit our FAQ page for more information.
Note: IP Innovation Clinic Staff and Fellows do not provide legal advice. Clinic Fellows work under the supervision of practicing lawyers to provide IP information to our clients. The IP Innovation Clinic operates in accordance with the relevant rules and regulations of the Law Society of Ontario.
Innovation York is the technology commercialization and industry liaison unit within the Office of Vice President, Research & Innovation at York University. Innovation York provides a full suite of industry liaison and commercialization services to York researchers and trainees seeking to find an industry partner, commercialize a technology, or create a start-up company. In addition, Innovation York works with companies to assist them in finding academic or industry partners, creating and facilitating innovative research collaborations.
IP Innovation Clinic clients who are affiliated with York University will also have access to the following services offered by Innovation York:
- Creation & support of partnerships between industry & academic researchers to develop innovative research projects & enable industry to access York’s research expertise.
- Access to students and postdoctoral researchers seeking internships & work experience.
- Access to facilities and sources of funding to develop proof of concepts or prototypes.
- Strategic intellectual property protection and management leveraged by strong relationships with external commercialization organizations and intellectual property firms.
- Partnership with MaRS Innovation, Toronto’s lead commercialization centre that is dedicated to creating business opportunities from the exceptional research & discovery pipeline of sixteen prominent academic institutions in Ontario.
- Partnership with ventureLab, York Region’s Regional Innovation Centre dedicated to providing business acceleration services to companies and entrepreneurs.
- Technology due diligence and market research expertise, including access to market research data from leading analyst organizations.
The BEST Lab:
The Bergeron Entrepreneurs in Science & Technology (BEST) Lab may be able to provide Clinic clients with product development and prototyping support . Clinic clients may be eligible for assistance through our collaboration with the BEST Lab at the Lassonde School of Engineering.
- Giuseppina D’Agostino, Founder and Director, IP Innovation Clinic
- Ashley Moniz, Assistant Director, IP Innovation Clinic
- Alexandra Maddeaux, IP Innovation Clinic Coordinator
- Androu Waheeb, IP Innovation Clinic Coordinator
Osgoode Hall Law School students volunteer their time as IP Innovation Clinic Fellows. To read the profiles of our staff and current IP Innovation Clinic Fellows, click here.
Learn more about becoming a Clinic Fellow here.
For all inquiries, we can be reached here:
IP Innovation Clinic
c/o IP Osgoode
Osgoode Hall Law School, York University
Phone: (647) 242-8337
The IP Innovation Clinic is operated in collaboration with: