In the global knowledge economy of the 21st century, governments are becoming aware of the importance of intellectual property (IP) and are putting in place strategies to encourage innovative businesses to invest in IP.
To help Canadian businesses, creators, entrepreneurs and innovators understand, protect and access IP the Government of Canada has committed to investing $85.3 million to the Intellectual Property Strategy over the next 5 years. The Intellectual Property Strategy is a series of measures to help innovative entrepreneurs secure and leverage IP.
In recent days, Minister Bains unveiled new details of the Intellectual Property Strategy relating to three new government initiatives: the Patent Collective Pilot Program; ExplorerIP: Canada's IP Marketplace; and the Intellectual Property Legal Clinics Program.
Patent Collective Pilot Program
The Patent Collective Pilot Program aims to help innovative small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) better leverage IP in their large-scale growth efforts, and provide the government with advice to better support SMEs. $30 million will be invested in the Patent Collective over the next 4 years, which will be established and administered by the Innovation Asset Collective, a non-profit organization that has been specifically created to help Canadian SMEs better understand and benefit from IP.
ExploreIP: Canada's IP Marketplace
ExploreIP is a tool put in place by the Government of Canada enabling companies, creators, entrepreneurs and innovators to discover the intellectual property held by public sector institutions and to benefit from research and innovative discoveries, thus stimulating collaborations that could help launch the next big innovation.
This tool allows for the exploration of a patent bank, many of which are available for licensing, and connects the public with patent owners to facilitate licensing. ExploreIP offers a navigation interface that efficiently allows users to browse documents from different technology fields — such as chemistry, electronics, electricity, instrumentation, mechanics, etc.
ExploreIP is currently available in beta version and contains, for now, more than 2500 patents held by public sector institutions, including universities, government organizations and parastatals.
This tool was created through a partnership with the Australian government and is inspired by a similar platform named Source IP.
Intellectual Property Legal Clinics Program
In order to promote the establishment of IP legal clinics in Canadian law schools, the Government of Canada has awarded grants to certain law schools to establish new clinics or to improve the services offered in existing clinics.
Legal clinics allow Canadian businesses, creators, entrepreneurs and innovators to access free or low-cost legal IP services. For example, by subsidizing legal clinics, the Government of Canada hopes to help businesses, creators, entrepreneurs and innovators better understand, protect and market their IP.
Minister Bains announced that the law schools of the University of Ottawa, University of Windsor, York University and Université de Montréal have been selected to receive grants for the IP legal clinics.
These recent government announcements related to the IP Strategy follow the trend of Canadian governments at the provincial and federal levels to encourage innovative businesses to invest in IP. For example, in November 2018, the government of Quebec launched the Volet 1 du Programme Innovation, providing an opportunity for Quebec companies and businesses with an operating establishment in Quebec to obtain up to $500,000 in financial assistance. More details are provided here.
If you have any questions or would like further information about the Innovation Program, do not hesitate to contact one of our Patents team members.
The preceding is intended as a timely update on Canadian intellectual property and technology law. The content is informational only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. To obtain such advice, please communicate with our offices directly.