New, free services enhance IP protection, commercialization for researchers

research patent innovation

York University’s Office of the Vice-President Research & Innovation (VPRI) is partnering with the IP Innovation Clinic, a legal clinic at Osgoode Hall Law School focused on intellectual property (IP), to offer new streamlined services to enhance IP protection and the commercialization efforts of the University’s research community.

Backed by a recent investment from the provincial agency Intellectual Property Ontario, the two York units have increased resources, including new staff, to drive innovation at York and support researchers strategically to transform, protect and leverage their research outcomes via patents, trademarks, other IP strategies and business ventures.

“VPRI is committed to optimizing the impact, outcomes and the commercial potential of university research,” said Jennifer MacLean, assistant vice-president innovation and research partnerships. “Our partnership with the IP Innovation Clinic will help York researchers excel in a competitive environment and turn their great ideas into reality, advancing the University’s mission to drive positive change.”

The range of free services available to York researchers include: IP discussions and strategic information, prior art and patent searches, trademark searches, business development knowledge, IP management and entrepreneurial supports, among others.

“The launch of our new integrated approach will provide York researchers a stronger and clearer pathway to bring their invention, product or service to market,” said Joseph Turcotte, assistant director of the IP Innovation Clinic. “We aim to be a key part of York’s innovation ecosystem and help researchers transition their work from the lab to society.”

Working with VPRI’s Technology Transfer Office and its commercialization managers, the clinic will develop a customized plan tailored to reach researchers’ unique needs, goals and stages of development. By leveraging this internal expertise, York researchers can save on the time and costs associated with finding and hiring external IP practitioners, commercializing their research faster and more efficiently.

“Our aim is to not only provide researchers the peace of mind that their IP is protected, but help simplify a complicated process and avoid errors that can delay the journey to market,” said Courtney Cole, business development manager with VPRI. “We can help York researchers build partnerships and connect them with opportunities that will maximize their innovation impact.”

Founded by the clinic’s director, Professor Giuseppina (Pina) D’Agostino, in 2010, the IP Innovation Clinic has completed over 300 consultations, 169 prior art searches, 115 trademark searches and created 20 IP agreements. It estimates that it has saved clients over $2 million in legal fees.

“Thanks to this partnership with VPRI, we are able to serve many more clients and better scale our reach across York,” said D’Agostino. “We can also provide more hands-on training to our law students, making them more IP and business savvy and better skilled to protect key assets in our disruptive tech economy.”

Researchers looking to advance their inventions or research projects into the market can schedule one-on-one consultations with the clinic by emailing

Opportunities are also available for IP and commercialization information and education sessions to be hosted on campus, including training sessions and workshops on how to harness IP effectively. Those interested in having their department, program, lab or research unit host a session should reach out to