As entrepreneurs seek to commercialize their ideas in the global knowledge economy, they often face barriers rooted in limited access to the necessary legal advice. At the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), Intellectual Property (IP) experts are working to take innovation policy recommendations beyond ideas and into practice.

For the past two summers, CIGI’s International Law Research Program (ILRP) provided a free law clinic at Communitech for entrepreneurs. This year, CIGI is employing digital technologies to arm innovators, regardless of their geo-location, with the tools they need to strategize from the beginning of their venture.

The International Law Research Program (ILRP) at CIGI is now in the beta testing phase of “Foundations of IP Strategy,” a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) created in collaboration with Kitchener-Waterloo-based D2L Corporation. For many innovators, it’s difficult to know where to start with IP rights. Oftentimes, the first stop is looking into a patent or a trademark, but as CIGI’s MOOC makes clear: there are multiple IP rights that can be employed to best protect a product or service.

This free introductory online course, written by CIGI Senior Fellows Myra Tawfik and Karima Bawa, is designed as a self-study experience with modules that take the participant from identifying forms of IP all the way to developing the skills of an IP strategist. 


Are you a business owner or an innovator wanting to start a business? Do you have an idea or prototype but you want to know which IP legal concepts should be considered to turn it into a product? We invite you to take part in our BETA testing program moderated by CIGI Senior Fellow, Myra Tawfik. By participating in this BETA phase, you will have first access to CIGI’s MOOC, “Foundations of IP” under an instructor’s supervision.

By the end of this course you will not only understand the importance of IP strategy as part of your business strategy, but you will also be able to recognize the ways in which IP rights can be ‘layered’ for strategic advantage. 

Register for this course today via D2L’s website

CIGI researches policy innovation in Global Economy, Global Security & Politics and International Law, in the belief that better international governance can improve the lives of people everywhere. Areas of research include: global politics, climate change, intellectual property rights, Internet governance, economies in debt crisis, Arctic issues, regional conflicts and global cooperation. CIGI was founded in 2001 by Jim Balsillie, then co-CEO of Research In Motion (BlackBerry), and collaborates with and gratefully acknowledges support from a number of strategic partners, in particular the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario.

About D2L
D2L is the software leader that makes the learning experience better. The company's cloud-based platform – Brightspace — is not a common one-size-fits-all learning management system (LMS). It's easier to use, more flexible, and smart. With Brightspace, you can personalize the experience for every learner to deliver real results. The company is a world leader in learning analytics: its platform predicts learner performance so that you can take action in real-time to keep them on track. Brightspace is used by learners in higher education, K-12, and the enterprise sector, including the Fortune 1000. D2L has operations in the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, Brazil, and Singapore. All D2L marks are trademarks of D2L Corporation. Please visit for a list of D2L marks.

The opinions expressed in this article/multimedia are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of CIGI or its Board of Directors.