New intensive program puts the ‘wow’ into intellectual property law

Third-year Osgoode student Mark Kohras has no doubt that this fall semester will be “the high point of my Osgoode degree.”

Kohras is part of the inaugural class of the Intellectual Property Law & Technology Intensive Program (IP Intensive), a new clinical program at Osgoode that provides students with training in intellectual property and technology law. “I look forward to gaining the type of invaluable experience that can only be obtained in a real-world environment,” he said.

 From left, Professor David Vaver, Professor Giuseppina D'Agostino and Pauline Wong, assistant director of IP Osgoode (at the podium), meeting with the inaugural class of the Intellectual Property Law & Technology Intensive Program
Above: From left, Professor David Vaver, Professor Giuseppina D’Agostino and Pauline Wong, assistant director of IP Osgoode (at the podium), meeting with the inaugural class of the Intellectual Property Law & Technology Intensive Program

Comprised of nine third-year Osgoode students, the program got underway Aug. 29 with two weeks of guest lectures on a variety of topics. They included: ADR and Mediation in IP; Business and Economics of IP and Innovation; Pharma and Biotech – R&D and Tech Transfer; and Digital Media and Journalism and Freedom of Expression. Among the lecturers were a federal court judge, the chair of the Trade-marks Opposition Board, the general counsel of the Copyright Board of Canada, the counsel from the Ontario Information and Privacy Commissioner’s Office, in-house counsel from a broad range of industries, start-ups and blue chip companies, practitioners from the major Canadian law firms, and academics.

Following the lectures, there is an 11-week internship for each student with a government agency, a music or media organization, a hi-tech company, an innovation centre or other organization that is heavily involved with matters relating to intellectual property.

“The internship, together with seminars, research papers, discussion sessions and blogging exercises, provides students with a comprehensive examination of important practical aspects of intellectual property and technology law,” said Osgoode Professor Giuseppina D’Agostino, founder and director of the IP Intensive Program.  “It’s the kind of hands-on experience that will be invaluable as our students get ready to start their legal careers.

“This fantastic line up of IP-focused guest lectures will be followed by an 11-week internship for each student in the IP Intensive Program at placement organizations such as the Canadian Intellectual Property Office, Canadian Heritage, Industry Canada, SOCAN, The Globe & Mail, TVO, ventureLAB, PharmaTrust and CodeX at Stanford,” D’Agostino said. “Then students will spend the last week of the semester back in the classroom presenting research papers and completing final wrap-up.”

The IP Intensive Program is the latest in a series of IP initiatives that D’Agostino has introduced at Osgoode in the past three years. In 2008, she launched IP Osgoode with the promise that the new program would “provide an independent and authoritative voice on intellectual property issues and broaden and enhance the relevant public policy debates and practices in Canada.”

Five leading law firms with recognized reputations and presence in the IP and/or technology fields in Canada as well as two industry leaders were partners with Osgoode in the launch of IP Osgoode. And one of the world’s leading authorities on IP law – Professor David Vaver – returned to Osgoode from the University of Oxford to help lead the IP Osgoode program.

That was followed by another major announcement this spring of a collaboration between IP Osgoode and the Ontario Centres of Excellence Inc. (OCE) – a not-for-profit corporation that drives the commercialization of Ontario academic research. The IP Osgoode/OCE Project is being launched as a 12-month pilot program with approximately six Osgoode students assisting up to 12 OCE-supported companies with numerous IP matters – from patents to trademarks to copyright.


 From left, Asad Moten and Andrea Dias are two members of the IP Intensive inaugural class Right: From left, Asad Moten and Andrea Dias are two members of the IP Intensive inaugural class 

For Osgoode students who enter the internship with two full years of legal training, including at least two IP-related courses, and who will receive 15 credits for their participation in the IP Intensive Program, it is an opportunity of a lifetime.

“I am very excited to be part of the inaugural IP Intensive class,” said student Andrea Dias. “The IP Intensive is an amazing chance to experience the intersection of law, business and innovation.

Full-time faculty who are teaching in the inaugural IP Intensive Program include not only D’Agostino and Vaver, but also Professors Carys Craig, Ikechi Mgbeoji and Faisal Bhabha, as well as Adjunct Professors Casey Chisick and Barry Sookman.