Innovation, Law and Technology Course Descriptions

Global Professional Master of Laws in Innovation, Law and Technology

*Please note that not all courses will necessarily be available every year.

LAW4028H Blockchain, Digital Assets and the Law - Usman Sheikh

This course explores the exciting and emerging law and regulation surrounding blockchain technology and digital assets, the technology considered by many to be one of the most revolutionary developments since the invention of the internet. The course will begin by providing students with an in-depth understanding of the nature of blockchain technology and practical applications that have been, or are in the process of being, operationalized around the world (in the area of capital markets, payments, real estate and others). The course will then dive into the legal issues that are raised by the technology, viewed through the lens of Canadian law, including in the areas of securities, privacy, tax, anti-money laundering (AML) and combatting the financing of terrorism (CFT), intellectual property, governance, cybersecurity and more.

LAW4031H Cybersecurity and Data Protection in a Global Information Economy - Imran Ahmad

This course will provide students with exposure to the key legal and policy issues related to cybersecurity. It will discuss the obligations of both the government and the private sector with respect to protecting computer systems and networks, the national security and cross-border aspects of cybersecurity, and more. Participants will be introduced to the legislative and technological landscape in this dynamic area and provided with the opportunity to discuss cutting-edge issues at the intersection of law, technology, and policy.  Students will engage with the issues through a discussion of legislation, regulation and case law.  

LAW4033H Design Thinking - Chris Ferguson

Design thinking provides people with the tools to approach the problems they face and environments in which they work with a creative, innovation focussed lens, allowing for the discovery of unforeseen opportunities and solutions.  This course will provide students with an overview of design thinking, the opportunity to work through the design thinking process and equip them with several tools to help them understand design thinking as a problem solving approach.  The inclusion of a design thinking course is a very intentional curricular choice that recognizes the programmatic focus of the GPLLM in Innovation, Law and Technology on innovation and entrepreneurship.  

LAW4055H Disruptive Innovations & Legal Infrastructure - Dera Nevin

This course helps students understand innovation and the law from the perspective of innovators who seek to bring an innovative product, service or idea to market and the tensions they encounter working within existing legal frameworks that may not be optimally or structurally suited to their innovation. The course will also explore evolutions in the design, process, regulation, funding frameworks and technology that have already occurred and what these suggest about the future trajectory of legal services. The course will be taught though a series of “use cases” and examples.  Students will be given the opportunity to work through their own specific use case. 

LAW4070H Ethics of Emerging Technology Prof. Abdi Aidid

This course will introduce students to the fundamental ethical, legal and social issues arising from the development, use and design of new technologies.  We will ask questions like: What makes an ethical technology? What happens and who is responsible when technology harms? How do we prevent or mitigate bias and discrimination? How do we balance innovation and privacy? In the absence of clear rules, how should users and developers of technology think about their responsibilities? The proliferation of AI, robotics, internet social media platforms and even new consumer electronics are forcing us to confront these important questions with some urgency. 

Along the way, we will think about the subject matter the way that lawyers and technologists do: with a view towards effective ethical decision-making, mitigating organizational risk, and achieving best practices. By the end of the course, students will be familiar with the leading frameworks for ethical technology development, possess a strong understanding of the normative theories that inform ethical thinking, and be able to integrate ethical guidelines with the realities of practice. The course will make extensive use of case studies and scenarios drawn from real-world events.

LAW4030H Financing Technological Innovation - Anthony Mouchantaf

This course aims to elucidate the complex and often esoteric process of financing technological innovation. Emphasis is placed on the idiosyncrasies of innovation and technology, and the necessity for a distinct financing framework. The course will explore the unique capital and legal structures of startups, the modalities by which financing is secured by technology firms, and the overarching macroeconomics of the innovation economy.   

LAW4032H Intellectual Property and Strategy -  Prof. Abraham Drassinower and Alex Stack

This course provides a survey of intellectual property, a class of legally-created assets that are of increasing importance to businesses world-wide. Students will be introduced to the core forms of intellectual property and will learn about their importance for business and for governments. The course will explore how intellectual property laws can be either considered an asset or a hindrance for companies, especially those operating in the technology sector. Students will be exposed to the multitude of legal arrangements that govern intellectual property assets and how each of these options has profound implications for many strategic business decisions of which founders, makers, and executives in all industries need be aware.

LAW4026H Introduction to Law and Technology - Prof. Anthony Niblett 

This course explores the interplay between law, innovation, and new technologies. The course has two broad objectives. First, it provides a brief overview of the courses taught in a first year JD program. Topics covered include: tort law, contracts, property, constitutional and criminal law, as well as the administration of law. Second, it will explore how each of these areas of law will need to respond to changes in new technologies and how new technologies may affect the administration of justice and change the content of the law. 

LAW4061H Issues in Tax Law & Policy - Prof. Rory Gillis (not offered in 2023-24)

This course examines current legal and policy challenges in taxation, with an emphasis on issues affecting businesses, corporations, shareholders and economic regulation. It begins by providing an introduction to the key features of Canada’s personal, corporate and international tax regimes. It then examines a number of contemporary controversies, including: the distinction between employment and business income in the gig economy; the tax preference for capital gains over business income; the tax implications of different forms of business organization; the proposed global minimum tax; the problem of tax havens; the taxation of digital commerce; wealth taxation; environmental taxation; taxation and artificial intelligence; and the role of law in opening and closing “tax loopholes”. No previous background in taxation is required. Reading materials include legal cases, treatises, and academic articles.

LAW4046H Privacy and Data Governance - Prof. Abdi Aidid

Privacy law exists at the intersection of many areas of law and is, perhaps more than most fields, constantly evolving. This course will introduce students to privacy law, starting with its fundamental principles and moving into contemporary challenges and debates. Students will learn about the public dimensions of privacy law (e.g. how legislatures, regulators and courts seek to protect privacy) as well as its private dimensions (e.g. how organizations, consumers and the general public deal with privacy questions). 

Privacy has become a major issue for Internet users, technology companies, online businesses, researchers, and policy-makers around the world, as more and more personal information is collected, aggregated, shared, and used across a wide variety of contexts.  It is therefore impossible to explore and understand the legal implications of innovation and technology without addressing privacy. A major emphasis of this course will be on emerging technologies; accordingly, students will have the chance to discuss the privacy implications of Big Data, Artificial Intelligence (“AI”), social networking, surveillance (including facial recognition), online behavioural advertising, and more.

Course materials and discussions will explore the field from the perspectives of various stakeholders, including consumers, businesses and regulators.  

LAW4063H Regulation of Artificial Intelligence : A Legal and Practical Study - Prof. Carole Piovesan

The law regulating data is becoming ever more fluid. While privacy laws are evolving or flourishing around the world, regulators are also turning their attention to the technologies being used to process and analyze the data. Artificial intelligence (AI) is one such technology that is gaining increasing regulatory attention. The European Union, the United States, Canada, China and other countries around the world are advancing R&D and commercialization of AI. At the same time, these countries, as well as multilateral institutions, are developing policy and regulatory frameworks to control and reduce harm of AI technologies.

This course will explore some of the foundations of AI to understand why AI is unique at law and how regulators, industry associations, civil society groups and others are thinking about the regulation of AI technologies.  This is a dynamic course that will review aspects of data law as well as look at the opportunities and risks presented by AI technologies from a multidisciplinary approach.  

LAW4068H Regulating the Digital Economy - Prof. Francesco Ducci

Are big tech platforms monopolies? Is data the “new oil” of the digital economy? What are the implications for privacy? Should antitrust law go beyond economic goals? This course examines these and other central questions at the heart of antitrust policy in the digital age. We will begin by reviewing the intellectual history of antitrust and the main legal and economic principles of current competition/antirust laws (prior knowledge is not required). We will then examine a set of cutting-edge legal issues related to competition in big tech sectors. The goal of the course is to examine whether technological and economic transformations require legal reforms and novel paradigms of antitrust policy for the digital era.

LAW4003H Securities Regulation and Corporate Finance - Amelia Miao

This course examines the rules that come into play when businesses seek to raise capital by offering securities to potential investors. We will look at how “security” is defined, how businesses can raise capital without much regulatory burden by offering securities in the private markets, the obligations that are triggered when a business decides to go public and what they mean for how the business is organized, and the risks and duties that come with being a public company (and being an insider of such a company). We also will look briefly at the regulation of service providers in the capital markets, like securities dealers, portfolio managers, and marketplaces. Throughout the course, we will engage with current policy debates about the scope, structure, and substance of securities regulation.

Past Offerings

Law4052H Law of Software Development and Commercialization - Bob Nakano and Charles von Simson   

All modern businesses run on software. Some businesses also sell software and others give it away. Whatever role a business plays in the software ecosystem, the management team must have a basic understanding of software contracts and licensing strategies. This course will examine the law governing the creation, development and commercialization of software as well as the critical provisions common to software agreements. The course will begin with a review of Canadian and American law governing software ownership and licensing. From that foundation, the course will analyze specific types of software contracts, including traditional proprietary licenses, open source agreements and software as service agreements, among others. Finally, the course will evaluate the licensing strategies of major software vendors with an emphasis on the open source business models that are driving the rapid pace of innovation in areas such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, cloud and container applications

LAW4027H Legal Technology and Informatics - Prof. Daniel Martin Katz

The use of information technology in the delivery of legal services and the globalization of the legal industry is fundamentally transforming the nature and practice of law. At the same time, buyers of legal services are becoming savvier about the time and cost efficiencies that technology can deliver. As a result, clients expect their legal services providers to engage technology in their practices and are auditing legal providers’ IT systems and capabilities. This course will explore how technology is currently used in legal practice and how its evolution will continue to shape the legal profession. Students will be introduced to: the technology that currently exists and its application to legal processes; change makers who are disrupting the legal industry; and asked to grapple with the challenges and opportunities currently facing the legal system and the legal profession.