Canada: Voir notre économie de l'innovation sous un nouvel angle : la stratégie en matière de PI et le budget de 2018 du Canada

La propriété intellectuelle (PI) est au cSur de l'innovation puisqu'elle permet aux entreprises de s'approprier leurs créations. Au printemps 2017, le budget canadien faisait référence à une stratégie nationale en matière de PI. Aujourd'hui, à l'occasion de l'annonce du budget de 2018, le montant qui sera affecté à cette stratégie nationale en matière de PI a été révélé. Au total, l'engagement s'élève à 85,3 M$. L'investissement couvre trois aspects majeurs visant à aider les entreprises innovantes du Canada : 1) un collectif de brevets pilote, 2) des cliniques juridiques et éducatives sur la PI et 3) des outils de PI.

Collectifs de brevets (30 M$)

Suivant l'exemple d'autres pays comme la France et le Japon, le Canada a annoncé, dans le cadre du budget de 2018, le lancement d'un programme pilote visant la mise en place d'un collectif de brevets (ou fonds souverain de brevets), lequel sera constitué des actifs incorporels essentiels à l'atteinte des objectifs nationaux. Tous les pays font face à des enjeux précis quant aux innovations touchant les technologies principales; la stratégie en matière de PI et le collectif de brevets reflètent ces défis.

Qu'est-ce qu'un collectif de brevets? Pourquoi en avons-nous besoin? Un collectif de brevets constitue un moyen d'aborder les enjeux relatifs aux innovations pour des pays comme le Canada qui possèdent très peu d'actifs en PI. Il permettra de traiter les enjeux comme la fuite de propriété intellectuelle et les risques auxquels sont exposés les nouveaux concurrents. Souvent, les nouvelles entreprises canadiennes entrent sur le marché en s'appuyant sur des technologies appartenant à de grandes sociétés (souvent prédatrices) et les brevets qui y sont associés. Le collectif aidera à réduire les risques de contrefaçon de brevets pour les entreprises en expansion. Il veillera à ce que les entreprises canadiennes puissent tirer profit, collectivement, de la liberté d'exploiter les brevets. Leur capacité d'exercer leurs activités sera ainsi rehaussée lorsqu'elles se développeront à l'échelle internationale.

Les premières indications indiquent que le collectif de brevets pilote visera un secteur particulier, un domaine présentant un intérêt ou un avantage stratégique pour le Canada.

Pour les entreprises canadiennes, le collectif devrait venir compléter leur stratégie commerciale. Elles pourront maintenir leur propre PI stratégique (et donc, accroître leur part de marché), tout en collaborant entre elles pour réduire les risques de contrefaçon (et donc atténuer le risque posé par les brevets de tiers).

Expertise en matière de PI et conseils juridiques (21,5 M$)

L'annonce du lancement de cliniques juridiques et éducatives en matière de PI est une autre bonne nouvelle du budget de 2018. L'initiation des nouveaux entrepreneurs à la PI est importante – on ne peut avoir une bonne stratégie en la matière si on ignore ce qu'est un brevet et ce que sont les avantages de la PI ou son fonctionnement (c'est-à-dire, les différences fondamentales entre les secrets industriels, les marques de commerce, les brevets et les droits d'auteur). Ce n'est qu'une des raisons pour lesquelles tant de professionnels font appel à d'autres disciplines (les affaires, la science, la technologie, l'ingénierie, les mathématiques et le droit) pour enseigner les aspects de la PI.

Après avoir dirigé la clinique juridique sur la PI de CIGI et Communitech il y a quelques années, j'ai pu constater qu'une telle initiative revêt une grande valeur. Ces cliniques permettent de former des personnes et d'élargir le bassin des experts en PI, tout en dispensant des services juridiques essentiels sur la PI aux entreprises émergentes. Dans certains cas, cette formation peut éviter bien des tracas et les cliniques juridiques bénévoles peuvent produire des résultats positifs à long terme.

Outils de PI (33,8 M$)

J'ai récemment discuté avec les membres du comité sur l'industrie de la Chambre des communes du transfert de technologies aux établissements d'enseignement canadiens (pour le Council of Canadian Innovators). À l'occasion de cet échange, il a été reconnu qu'il y a un manque d'information sur ce qu'est la PI et sur la prestation des institutions de recherche canadiennes et les initiatives de financement. Tout en étant conscient de la fuite de propriété intellectuelle, le marché en ligne permettra d'échanger des informations sur la PI potentiellement utiles, ce qui, espérons-le, pourra améliorer et rehausser la collaboration entre les sociétés innovantes canadiennes.

Ces trois aspects portent strictement sur la PI, mais d'autres ministères du gouvernement fédéral ont fait mention de stratégies qui concernent la PI. D'autres énoncés du budget soulignent le rôle central de la cybersécurité pour les actifs incorporels, englobant la protection des secrets industriels et des données, tant pour les entreprises que pour le pays.

Pour conclure, ce budget constitue sans doute un point pivot entre l'ancienne façon de voir la PI, qui n'y voyait qu'un mécanisme juridique, et la conscience qu'il s'agit d'un actif favorisant l'innovation qui a le potentiel de développer l'économie intérieure. Nous attendons avec impatience l'annonce de la stratégie nationale globale en matière de PI, qui devrait se faire dans les prochains mois.

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