Law students get hands-on experience through joint International Intellectual Property Law Clinic

Dual JD Student, Stephanie FongDual JD student, Stephanie Fong, is one of many law students taking advantage of Windsor Law’s border location. Not only is she earning both a Canadian and American law degree, but she is also getting international patent law experience through course work at the International Intellectual Property Law Clinic.

The International Intellectual Property (IP) Law Clinic, a joint initiative of Windsor Law and Detroit Mercy School of Law, is United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) certified and is the first international clinic of its kind. The Clinic provides access to regular training sessions with the USPTO, practical patent drafting experience with real clients, and a comprehensive education rooted in commitment to access to justice and transnationalism.

Fong enrolled in the Clinic because she felt it was an excellent opportunity to apply her IP knowledge while contributing pro bono work to the community.

During the course she was able to gain practical experience in patent law by conducting patentability searches and client interviews. In addition, she completed a two-day intensive boot camp where she learned about patents and claim drafting.

“The first patentability search I conducted took over ten hours and it was difficult to know when to stop searching,” said Fong. She eventually tracked down a patent examiner’s report with the most similar prior art reference and found that the examiner’s cited references matched all the references identified in her search. It was then that she became confident she had exhausted her search.  

Fong highly recommends the Clinic to students interested in IP law.

“Not only does the Clinic provide theoretical knowledge and practical experience, it also helps a student decide whether he or she would like to pursue a career in IP,” said Fong. “Having the opportunity to work in a professional environment under the instruction of seasoned professors created a fantastic foundation for a strong experiential learning experience.”

Fong’s next endeavor is a clerkship at the Federal Court of Canada after her graduation this June and she has no doubt that the practical and theoretical training she received through the Clinic will prove to be beneficial during the clerkship in regard to patent disputes.

We wish Fong the best of luck and are very happy to have had her as part of the International Intellectual Property Law Clinic.

More information on the International Intellectual Property Law Clinic is available on their website