Instructor(s): Ariel Katz
Intellectual Property: Copyright, Trademark, and Patent; Introduction to Intellectual Property. Students with other background should consult Professor Katz before selecting this course.

Most class meetings will be held on Thursdays, 6:10 - 8:00 pm. Team members’ meetings with Prof Katz and government representatives will be scheduled separately.

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to make intellectual property policy? Here’s your chance to experience law reform in action. A small group of students will participate in a unique experiential learning opportunity. Think about it like an IP moot, except that instead of preparing a factum, you’ll learn the art of a different sort of persuasive writing: the “Memorandum to Cabinet”. And instead of arguing before judges, you’ll be trained to persuade Cabinet Ministers and other senior policymakers that your ideas should become law. 

This course stems from a collaboration between the Departments of Canadian Heritage (PCH) and Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED), and the faculties of law at McGill University, University of Montreal, University of Ottawa, University of Toronto, York University (Osgoode Hall) and the University of Sherbrooke. It has been conceived as a way for students to gain instruction and experience in public policy thinking, drafting and briefing. 

While the course centres on copyright law reform, the experience you gain will be extraordinarily useful in the private or public sector. For students contemplating a career in government, this is an unparalleled chance to acquire new skills. For students thinking about private practice, there’s no better way than this to get an insider’s perspective.

Teams of students will research and prepare a thorough policy report, prepared as a Memorandum to Cabinet, under the supervision of university professors and guidance of, government departmental officials and policy experts. The team will choose the topics of the proposed reforms in response to one of three policy thematics provided by the Copyright and International Trade Policy Branch of PCH and the Marketplace Framework Policy Branch of ISED, corresponding to current policy issues identified by the branches.  

The teams will be called to present their work orally before a panel of experts and officials – such as policy analysts, academics, industry stakeholders and political decision makers – at the “Grand Oral”, which will be held in late March/early April 2022 (dates to be confirmed). The Grand Oral will be held either online or in-person in Ottawa, depending on how the pandemic unfolds. This will be a unique opportunity for students to showcase their skills, legal talents and imagination, where they will pitch to and receive feedback from those responsible for copyright policy on issues that are contemporary and relevant. 

The teams will be convened to work together with Professor Katz and their peers during eight two- hour sessions in preparation of their investigation (see dates above). One of those sessions will be taught by Canadian government officials on policy development, drafting and briefing in the context of Canadian copyright law. Teams will also meet with Prof Katz and for two individual sessions with the government representatives (via phone or video teleconference) one early in the term and one closer to the Grand Oral. (Associated travel costs to Ottawa will be covered by the instructor from a grant). 

Written Group Memorandum to Cabinet of no longer than 50 pages using the government template (60%). NB, students working in the same group will receive the same grade on this component of the class. Oral presentation of the policy proposal in class (20%). Attendance and meeting deadlines (10%). Participation in class discussion, including posting a short (1,000 words maximum) reflection comment following the Grand Oral (10%).
Academic year
2023 - 2024

At a Glance

Second Term



11 JD


Th: 6:10 - 8:00 pm