Patents and trademarks are crucial for protecting valuable intellectual property. That's why it's important for Canadian companies to develop a strategic approach to IP that incorporates patent and trademark filings—which can be enhanced by new government programs, designed to support effective decision-making for IP.

Here are some recommendations on how to establish IP foundations that prepare you for government funding:

  1. Identify your top company assets that merit strategic IP considerations. Not every aspect of your business will require IP protection, but be sure to identify any intellectual property assets that connect with your value proposition and points of difference.
    • Remember: patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets are all important tools that give you a competitive advantage.
  2. Incorporate IP costs into your overall budget. This thoughtfulness can help demonstrate eligibility for government programs—which cover certain IP-related expenses, while also providing educational resources to improve your understanding of patent and trademark filing processes.
  3. Consult with IP professionals, such as patent attorneys and trademark agents, to gain valuable guidance tailored to your specific business context. This expertise will help you make informed decisions on what assets to protect, while enabling you to navigate the complexities of patent and trademark filings.
  4. Consider how a fully developed IP strategy can grow value in your company and set the stage for implementation.
  5. Consider how potentially combining programs can deliver the most value. For example, if you need a lot of IP strategy development, considering using the IP Assist program first, and then advancing to Elevate IP.

To successfully receive government support, it is best to understand the requirements of each funding program. Most programs have specific expectations or conditions related to eligibility, which necessitate tailoring your IP strategy to meet these standards. Notable programs in Canada include:

  • Communitech ElevateIP: ElevateIP is a federally funded, nationwide project that provides Ontario, Manitoba and Saskatchewan startups with tools to understand, manage, and leverage their intellectual property. Eligible expenses include strategy development and patent and/or trademark filings.
  • Intellectual Property Ontario (IPON): Created by the Ontario Government to provide IP supports and services to help companies innovate and grow. Eligible expenses include strategy development and patent and/or trademark filings.
  • IP Assist (National Research Council, IRAP): For small or medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) pursuing technology-driven innovation, this program provides funding for IP training and strategy development for protecting IP.
  • Innovation Asset Collective (IAC): IP Funding for SMEs which are capital constrained and need IP strategy and education, market intelligence, and funding.
  • Springboard Atlantic IP Advantage (AIPA): This program provides services to Atlantic Canadian startups needing IP education and assistance, including strategy creation and filings.
  • Innovate Calgary, Elevate IP: Innovate Calgary is piloting a program for 100 startups and is currently accepting applications for a Spring 2024 program launch.
  • New Ventures BC, Accelerate IP (based on Elevate IP): Provides enhanced access to education, skills development, and financial support for protecting, managing, and leveraging IP.

At PCK, we can help you identify strong IP opportunities that align with your business—including IP strategy, commercialization, licensing, filings, and making your company "investor ready" for due diligence. Combined with targeted government programs, our insights can scale up your company by generating new revenue streams and expanding your innovations into global markets.

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.