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IP Osgoode Innovation Clinic, Research Money


A Waterloo policy think tank founded by former Blackberry executive Jim Balsillie is funding a new study that will examine how start-ups can get access to free intellectual property legal services across Canada. The one-year project is examining the success of the Innovation Clinic at York Univ’s Osgoode Hall Law School, with a view to replicating the model nationally. Balsillie, who also chairs the Council of Canadian Innovators, has been a vocal critic of what he describes as “outdated” IP policies. He has called for updated policies as part of a national IP strategy.

“CIGI (Centre for International Governance Innovation) wants these clinics across Canada … We want to scale up our clinic and we’re looking at the Waterloo corridor as a place to expand our offerings,” says Dr Giuseppina D’Agostino, an associate professor at Osgoode Hall Law School and founder and director of IP Osgoode, the Osgoode’s IP Law and Technology Program. “Companies need IP to get off the ground and attract investment. They need foolproof IP, as well as different strategies to defend it, as it gives them the chance to thrive. We can help them customize their approach.”

The project follows a 56-page report released last September by CIGI warning that policymakers often overlook one of the biggest hindrances to business growth, scale-up and global competitiveness—weak IP literacy among Canadian innovators and their access to affordable and timely IP legal services, particularly during the start-up phase.