I am a Full Professor at the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Law, where I create and shape ideas—about technology innovation, intellectual property, and global trade and development. I am also a Faculty Member of the Centre for Law, Technology and Society, a Senior Fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation, and a Senior Research Associate at the University of Cape Town’s IP Unit.
An award-winning professor recognized for exceptional contributions to research and law teaching, my current work helps solve practical challenges related to innovation in the digital economy, life science industries, and clean technology sector. I am also a practicing lawyer and expert consultant, having argued over a dozen cases before the Supreme Court of Canada, advised businesses and law firms both large and small, and consulted for agencies from national governments and the United Nations.
Innovation and Intellectual Property: Collaborative Dynamics in Africa is the most recent of several books in these areas. As an interdisciplinary scholar, I have also published more than 65 peer-reviewed chapters and articles across the disciplines of law, business, political science, and public policy. A passionate and experienced speaker, I have delivered nearly 200 invited lectures and presentations in Canada, the United States, Europe, Asia, and Africa.
With over $54 million in research funding since 2006 (nearly $10 million as a lead researcher), my collaborators and I are empowering the next generation of research leaders, and transforming public policies and real-world practices. As a director of several large-scale research projects and partnerships, I am currently investigating the role of intellectual property for open innovation. I am a co-founder and director of Open AIR, the Open African Innovation Research network, which connects dozens of multi-disciplinary researchers across African countries, Canada and elsewhere to scale up innovation by easing tensions between intellectual property and access to knowledge.
My top priorities in teaching are to create contagious excitement among my students, and to effectively mentor the emerging leaders I’m privileged to work with. I teach or have taught seminars on intellectual property advocacy, the digital music business, global intellectual property policy, and intellectual property & environmental law, and an introduction to the fundamentals of property law. My masters and doctoral students study topics such as smartphone patents, cloud computing, fashion designs, copyright licensing, investment rules and global trade.
My own graduate studies were done at the University of Oxford, where I acquired a deep understanding of the law as well as an education in historic pubs. I hold undergraduate degrees in business and in law from the University of Saskatchewan, in the province where I was raised to value hard work and integrity.
As founder and principal of my own firm with almost 15 years of experience practicing law, my current work as a lawyer focusses on appellate litigation, business and legal strategy, and policy policy advice. After working in Calgary at the law firm of MacLeod Dixon (now Norton Rose) LLP and completing a judicial clerkship at the Federal Court of Appeal in Ottawa, I’ve also practiced law with the Department of Justice as counsel to the Copyright Board.
My home is in Ottawa, Canada, where my wife Collette LeFrançois and I raise two daughters, Maggie and Sasha. I’m a fan, perhaps fanatic, of all sports, especially “ice” hockey, golf and football (both kinds). I love to travel, which is good, because I do it a lot; mostly throughout the African continent, but quite frankly around the world.
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