Director: Professor M.A. Wilkinson
The Area of Concentration provides a multi-faceted experience at Western Law. With a deep faculty offering an array of courses every year, practitioners as guest lecturers, several IPIT specific awards and a successful presence in the Fox IP Moot Competition, the Intellectual Property, Information and Technology program is a strong choice to direct one's legal education.
The Intellectual Property, Information and Technology Law Area involves a number of aspects of law which can crop up in many areas of legal practice. For example, personal data protection legislation now governs the activities of virtually every private and public sector organization in Canada. Thus, in giving advice to businesses, not-for-profit organizations or government entities, personal data protection issues can arise. Similarly, issues of confidentiality (protection of confidential information) can arise in any aspect of relationships between businesses, between individuals and businesses, and between government and business. Preserving confidentiality is also critical to ensuring that any invention can ultimately be patented. Anyone or any organization which produces written information or videos or photographs or music will automatically be involved in issues of copyright and, as well, any person or organization in Canada is inevitably involved in making uses of copyrighted information. In advising such persons or organizations in any capacity, it is useful, therefore, to have a working knowledge of copyright. Issues of libel and freedom of expression can arise in many settings. All businesses are involved in marketing, and therefore, inevitably, in matters of trademark and will typically expect their legal advisors to be able to assist them with these aspects of the business.
At the JD level, this Area of Concentration is designed for students interested in information and technology issues and allows students to develop knowledge and skills in the area. Students who complete the Area of Concentration: Intellectual Property, Information and Technology Law within the JD program will have the notation "Area of Concentration: Intellectual Property, Information and Technology Law" included on their transcripts immediately upon graduation. In order to receive the designation, a student must inform the Director of the Area by the end of the add-drop period of the spring semester in third year of his/her intention to complete the program. The IPIT program was designed with the input of IP practitioners, which brought about the inclusion of such courses as Administrative Law and Conflict of Law into the Area of Concentration, ensuring a well-rounded experience that fits well into the world of legal practice. Also, Western Law requires pre-requisites for its advanced level courses, ensuring that those courses focus deeply into the topic in question. The rigorous and critical approach to the law taken within the IPIT Area of Concentration ensures the development of knowledge and skills that are applicable to all aspects of the legal profession.
Several combined programs exist that link well with the IPIT Area, and the University of Western Ontario is the only institution in Ontario to offer a undergraduate combined JD program. As well, it provides the widest selection of combined undergraduate degrees in Canada. Applications for the combined programs are available from the Administrative Office in the Faculty of Law. Students may apply at any time but must apply by May 1st for admission in September of that same year.
Our graduate programs at Western Law fosters advanced scholarship and research about law and its role in society. Intellectual Property, Information and Technology at Western Law encompasses intellectual enquiry into all areas touching upon the new economic and social environments brought about by the computer and telecommunications revolutions. However, at Western Law this area is deliberately not only about intellectual property (IP) and information technology (IT). Our researchers investigate phenomena at the nexes of boundaries between traditional areas of legal scholarship such as freedom of expression and patents or copyright and criminal censorship that have become increasingly important as the knowledge economy and its attendant social consequences have emerged.
The goal of this multi-year project has been to explore ways to mobilize Ontario’s developing intellectual property expertise, particularly that within its faculties of law, to meet the needs of the underserved in the province. Western Law researchers have been at the forefront of this effort.
The resulting “Mobilization of Intellectual Property Expertise” (MIPE) project has been a pioneering project designed to serve Ontario by connecting its citizens with the growing practitioner and legal expertise, including that located in its faculties of law in this province, in the area of intellectual property (IP) law. Protection of IP has been identified as a key economic driver in the emerging economy and is particularly important in maintaining the economic environment Ontario has traditionally enjoyed.
The MIPE Final Report was submitted by Professor Margaret Ann Wilkinson and her team in July, 2012.