Intellectual Property (IP) Clinics Program Guide

Table of contents

The IP Clinics Program

The Government of Canada is expanding the Intellectual Property (IP) Clinics Program, with additional funding and by extending the list of eligible recipients to include Canadian business schools in addition to Canadian law schools.

The program, originally launched as part of the first pillar of the IP Strategy under the name "IP Legal Clinics Program," is now referred to as the "IP Clinics Program".

The government is providing grants to encourage the establishment or enhancement of IP clinics or similar experiential learning initiatives within Canadian law and business schools. The grant helps make pro bono or low cost IP-related services more accessible to Canadian businesses, creators, entrepreneurs and innovators. IP Clinics may be solely dedicated to IP or feature an IP component. Funding may be used to help establish a new clinic or to enhance the services available in an existing clinic.

Applicants are encouraged to consider proposals supporting networking and community building in university IP clinics, the sharing of experiences and best practices and the development of tools that can be shared across and adapted by institutions to meet the needs of their clinics.

Relationship between the IP clinics program and the IP strategy

The IP Strategy is aimed at helping Canadian businesses, creators, entrepreneurs and innovators better understand, protect and commercialize their IP. IP clinics help further this objective by providing Canadians with more affordable access to IP education and advice.


Who is eligible for the IP clinics program

Eligible recipients include law school clinics (established or developing) that are part of a provincially accredited Canadian law school, or business school clinics (established or developing) that are a part of a provincially accredited Canadian business school. Such clinics may include those associated with registered trademark and/or patent agents or lawyers practicing IP.


Available funding

The awarded grant amount will be determined on the basis of the nature of the proposed activity and will be proportionate to that activity. This amount will be finalised in a funding agreement. No eligible recipient will receive more than $100,000 annually. The total amount of grants awarded to all eligible recipients under the Program Terms and Conditions may not exceed $350,000 in 2023-24, $400,00 in 2024-25 and $400,000 ongoing (i.e., annual funds for this program are limited to these amounts).

The grants are not intended to allow recipients to generate profits or to increase the value of any businesses.

Eligible activities and expenditures

Eligible activities

Eligible activities are those relating to the delivery of pro bono or low cost IP services. They may include:

  • activities supportive of the goals of the IP Strategy, such as improving prior art searches through the training of law students and incorporating IP-related considerations into business planning through training of university students;
  • outreach to serve those traditionally underrepresented as holders of IP (e.g., women and indigenous peoples);
  • training of students to effectively understand the practical application of IP;
  • developing best practices manuals;
  • developing and offering services in IP evaluation and/or IP financing; and
  • symposia, discussions, roundtables between legal and/or business clinics, and/or experts which can improve networking and increase capacity between clinics.

Eligible expenditures

Eligible expenditures are those incurred by the Recipient and which in the opinion of the Minister are reasonable and required to carry out the eligible activities to which they relate. Only costs that are incurred in Canada and deemed necessary in achieving the objectives for which the Program funding was granted will be eligible.

Eligible Expenditures may include: subscribing to relevant databases to improve access to materials; travel; and staffing (e.g. research assist costs).

Ineligible expenditures

Any costs not listed in the eligible costs section of the program Terms and Conditions are deemed ineligible and include: land acquisition, leasing land, buildings (acquisitions and leasing), renovation or construction, and other facilities, real estate fees and related costs; Financing charges, legal fees and loan interest payments; Any goods and services costs which are received through donations or in kind; Property taxes; and Lobbyist fees.

The list of eligible activities, eligible and ineligible expenditures can also be found in Appendix A of the Application Form.

The application process

How to apply

Applicants are required to submit an IP Clinics Program Application Form, which can be accessed from the IP Clinics Program webpage.The application form may also be requested at the following address:

The application must include:

  • information on the applicant, including details on the school and its eligibility;
  • a detailed description of the project;
  • a breakdown of project costs; and
  • the amount of funding being requested.

If the clinic is associated with a lawyer, registered trademark agent or registered patent agent, an attestation by the lawyer or agent is required detailing the nature of their relationship with the clinic and demonstrating proof of good standing.

Deadline to apply

A submission deadline will be set at the beginning of each funding period. If funding remains available after the deadline has passed, a second opportunity for applications may be provided prior to the end of the fiscal year.

Additional information

Submitted applications will be reviewed by a selection committee. If any additional information is required in order to complete the assessment of an application, the program will contact applicants directly.

Selection criteria

Criteria will be used to qualitatively and quantitatively assess eligible applications on their value proposition and other key elements to determine a proposal's merit, feasibility, and potential to generate benefits for Canada.

The core criteria and key evaluation elements are:

  • Benefits to IP Strategy (The degree to which the applicant demonstrates that the project meets the challenge of improving the service of IP clinics to improve the education of students and increase the capacity of SMEs, women, and Indigenous innovators to develop IP strategies and protect their IP);
  • Management and Technological Capability (The applicant demonstrates the required managerial and technological capability and track record to successfully undertake the project);
  • Financial Capability (The applicant demonstrates the financial capability to complete the project);
  • Post-Project Commitment (The applicant demonstrates how the project results will be used in future).

Grants will be awarded on the basis of the nature of the proposed activity and will be proportionate to that activity.


All successful and unsuccessful applicants will be contacted in writing once the selection process has been completed. Successful applicants will then receive a grant agreement for review and signature prior to the transfer of funds.


How payment will be made

All payments under the IP Clinics Program will be made in the form of a grant.

How long it takes to receive payment

Once a grant agreement has been signed and a grant recipient has provided all of the necessary financial information to effect the transfer of funds, payment will be issued in accordance with the payment schedule set out in the grant agreement. ISED will work to issue payments to recipients within 30 calendar days after receipt of all required information for the transfer payment and after the execution of the funding agreement.

Reporting requirements

Eligible recipients are required to provide information in support of reporting on the performance of this program. As part of the signed Funding Agreement, eligible recipients will be asked to provide a final report which includes proof of concept and benefits achieved. This report is required to be submitted following the completion of the project. Recipients will also be assessed on a yearly basis to ensure that they continue to meet eligibility requirements.


Applicants will be required to confirm compliance (if applicable) with the following legislation:

Service Standards


ISED will acknowledge receipt of applications, required documentation, and reports within 10 business days of receipt.


ISED will review the application and provide a response to the applicant within 4 months after the submission deadline.


ISED will issue payments to Recipients within 30 calendar days after receipt of all additional required information required.

*Please note that the achievement of these service standards is a shared responsibility and is dependent upon the timely submission of all required documentation to the IP Clinics Program Granting Authority in accordance with the signed funding agreement.

Other sources of government funding

Funding under the IP Clinics Program must respect the Canadian government's policy on total Canadian government funding and stacking limits. Applicants under the IP Clinics Program will therefore be required to disclose any additional government financial assistance (federal, provincial, territorial or municipal) they have requested or received towards their Eligible Activities. Total assistance cannot exceed 100% of total costs.

Access to Information and Privacy Requests

ISED may be required to disclose information the applicant submits in its application in accordance with the Federal Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act.

Disclosure of Information

By submitting a funding application, applicants and recipients authorize the IP Clinics Program Granting Authority to disclose information submitted for program administration, evaluation and development, program and departmental statistics, and for purposes in accordance with the Privacy Act.

Public Acknowledgement

Recipients shall acknowledge the funding of the Government of Canada in all communications materials, in line with any terms and conditions in the Funding Agreement.

Intellectual Property

In the event that intellectual property is created by the recipient, the intellectual property will remain the property of the recipient.

Contact us

For additional information on the IP Clinics Program, please contact us via email at the following