IP Osgoode will provide free intellectual property (IP) legal information, awareness and education to the Sandbox Centre members and the local business community through their Innovation Clinic.
As the first intellectual property legal clinic of its kind, IP Osgoode has the largest operation to date in Canada. The Innovation Clinic supports small and medium-sized enterprises through Osgoode Hall Law School’s Intellectual Property Law and Technology Program.
The IP Osgoode Innovation Clinic is a needs-based IP legal clinic based at Osgoode Hall Law School. Innovation Clinic clients are matched with law student volunteers called Clinic Fellows to provide IP information, awareness, and assistance. Our Clinic Fellows are supervised by lawyers from Norton Rose Fulbright LLP.
We work to promote access to justice by helping minimize some of the early-stage costs associated with recognizing and protecting your IP and understanding your freedom to operate.
As a student-based, experiential education program there are limits to the types and scope of services we can provide. All of our Clinic Fellows are registered law students at Osgoode Hall Law School.
The Innovation Clinic is open to individual inventors and entrepreneurs as well as start-ups, small and medium-sized enterprises, and start-ups beginning to scale.
We primarily provides services to clients across Southern Ontario but do not have a set catchment area. Clients do not need to be York University community members. We are sector and technology agnostic. We assist clients from any industry or sector based on their IP needs.
We also do not have a firm financial cut off but your financial resources are considered prior to acceptance. Our general rule is that you and/or your business would not be able to hire professional counsel or otherwise receive IP legal assistance. The Innovation Clinic assists for profit and non-profit organizations.
The Innovation Clinic primarily assists clients located in southern Ontario, especially the Toronto-Waterloo Region-York Region area and the GTHA, but has also assisted clients in the Atlantic Provinces, Quebec, and the US.
In order to make the process fruitful for all parties, we expect that you are interested in learning about how to protect your IP, committed to working with our Clinic Fellows to do so, and understanding that you are working with law students and not professional lawyers.
You should be interested and willing to learn more about IP protection and how IP can assist you and your organization’s goals. The Innovation Clinic is designed to promote IP awareness, education, and savviness for Canadians and we can assist regardless of your prior experience or understanding of IP.
The services provided by our Clinic Fellows as well as the supervision of our team of lawyers is provided pro bono. The initial IP commercialization consultation is offered free of charge.
Following the consultation and if you decide to engage the Innovation Clinic, you will need to pay a nominal $50 one-time only administrative fee to offset associated costs. There are no obligations that you engage the Innovation Clinic following your IP commercialization consultation.
The work performed by the Clinic Fellows and reviewed by the supervising lawyer are free of charge. This pro bono work will be described to you in a Work Plan Memo.
All communications and information shared between the Clinic Fellows, supervising lawyers, and clients are confidential. All Clinic Fellows sign a confidentiality agreement prior to performing any work for the clinic. The confidentiality agreement continues indefinitely, even after Clinic Fellows leave the Innovation Clinic and law school.
To further ensure confidentiality, all client files are stored in the secured drive on the law school’s network. The secured drive is password protected and only the Clinic Director, Supervisor, or Coordinator can grant access.
Clinic Fellows also receive an Osgoode staff email account to use for all Innovation Clinic correspondence. These staff email accounts have greater security measures than the standard Osgoode student accounts.
As a volunteer-based, pro bono legal clinic we cannot guarantee specific timelines. Timelines will be developed in consultation with you, the Clinic Fellow(s), and supervising lawyer(s). The Innovation Clinic strives to manage and meet our clients’ expectations. Our work plans include an estimated length of time needed to complete the engagement matter(s) and our Clinic Fellows will provide progress updates at appropriate intervals throughout the process.
The process for being admitted into the Clinic begins when you contact our staff. Staff will contact you to discuss your situation and determine if we can assist. Following this, a conflict check will be performed to ensure there are no conflicts of interest.
If we are clear to proceed with the matter, an IP consultation meeting or call will be conducted between you, a Clinic Fellow, and supervising lawyer. This intake meeting will introduce you to the services provided by the Innovation Clinic and allow you to ask questions and decide how you would like to move forward with the Innovation Clinic.
If you are accepted for admittance into the Innovation Clinic, the Clinic Fellow will provide you with a work plan and estimated timeline, engagement agreement, and invoice.
Due to the guidelines of the Law Society of Ontario, our Clinic staff and student volunteers will not be able to file an application on your behalf. You can discuss filing an application with the supervising lawyer(s) and their firm for a fee. You are not obligated to continue to working with or filing through our partner firm(s).
The Innovation Clinic cannot assist with IP-related lawsuits, disputes, or responses to infringement letters. Such needs are beyond the scope of our pro bonoInnovation Clinic services.
To help you find proper representation I would suggest that you try the Law Society of Ontario’s Referral service, their website is https://www.lsuc.on.ca/lsrs/.
Select Innovation Clinic clients may be eligible for assistance through our collaboration with the BEST Lab at the Lassonde School of Engineering. The Bergeron Entrepreneurs in Science & Technology (BEST) Lab may be able to provide support to the Innovation Clinic clients with product development and prototyping.
Innovation Clinic clients who are affiliated with York University will also have access to the commercialization and industry liaison services offered by Innovation York. Non-affiliated clients may be referred to other accelerators and incubators in our network.