In the final quarter of 2013, the Québec government
introduced its Politique économique du Québec
– Priorité emploi (Economic Policy), which
implements an integrated approach for creating jobs and stimulating
investment in Quebec.
The main points of the Economic Policy include the creation of
40,000 new jobs as well as up to $2 billion in fiscal and tax
measures over the next three years.
The Economic Policy includes the Politique nationale de la
recherche et de l'innovation 2014-2019 (PNRI), which was
published shortly after the Economic Policy. One of the objectives
of the PNRI is to increase the amount of R&D investment so that
it exceeds 3% of Quebec's GDP.
The PNRI and the Economic Policy both describe the creation of a
First Patent program, which will provide financial and technical
assistance to SMEs when filing their first patent application.
While the PNRI does not specify a monetary figure, the Economic
Policy mentions an amount of $15 million being devoted to this
program over the next three years. This amount breaks down into $2
million 2014-2015, $5 million in 2015-2016 and $8 million in
The PNRI says that Québec companies are not short of
ideas, but often fail to adequately protect them. The goal of the
First Patent program is to increase the number of patents issued to
Québec SMEs. The following specific steps are covered by the
First Patent program:
The cost of searching prior art in order to validate the
novelty of the innovation to be patented;
The cost of researching required certifications or approvals
for the use of the product, if applicable;
The fees of a patent agent or lawyer hired to support a patent
application, as well as the cost of filing the patent application
Similar costs related to the filing of patent applications
The cost of various training activities related to the use of
the invention once the patent is granted.
The PNRI refers expressly to searches for prior art covered by
Canadian and foreign intellectual property but it is assumed that
the cost of searching other types of publically available
information will also be included. Similarly, though not expressly
mentioned, it is assumed that the First Patent program will cover
the patent prosecution stage, which includes the steps that need to
be undertaken between when the application is filed and a patent is
The PNRI also mentions the creation of a new tool for
Québec SMEs named the Passeport innovation
(Innovation Passport). The Innovation Passport is intended to
provide direct access to organizations involved in supporting and
commercializing research. The PNRI adds that the Innovation
Passport will make available consulting services in various areas
of expertise, including expertise in intellectual property.
Beyond what is described in the Economic Policy and in the PNRI,
there is very little additional information about the First Patent
and the Innovation Passport programs at this time. It will be
interesting to see in the near future the scope of these programs
and the criteria to be eligible to them.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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A recent Saskatchewan Court of Queen's Bench decision allowed a court-appointed receiver to sell and transfer intellectual property rights free and clear of encumbrances, finding that a license to use improvements of an invention was a contractual interest and not a property interest.
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