IRAP Canada: How SMEs Can Benefit From Canada's IP Assist Program

Gowling WLG


Gowling WLG is an international law firm built on the belief that the best way to serve clients is to be in tune with their world, aligned with their opportunity and ambitious for their success. Our 1,400+ legal professionals and support teams apply in-depth sector expertise to understand and support our clients’ businesses.
The Innovation Research Assistance Program (IRAP) is an initiative administered by the National Research Council (NRC).
Canada Intellectual Property
To print this article, all you need is to be registered or login on

The Innovation Research Assistance Program (IRAP) is an initiative administered by the National Research Council (NRC). Its primary goal is to promote and expedite the expansion of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) by offering them a wide range of innovation services and financial support.

Under the umbrella of NRC IRAP, funding is made available to assist research and development projects at different phases of the innovation cycle. This enables businesses to receive the necessary resources and funding to advance their innovative ideas and bring them to fruition.

Although IRAP funding has been available for several years, a new funding program focused on intellectual property (IP), commonly known as IP Assist, was introduced in 2022.

IP Assist Program eligibility

To initiate the process, SMEs are to contact NRC IRAP by calling 1-877-994-4727. This initial step involves a pre-screening call, which typically lasts around 20 minutes. During this call, an IRAP representative will pose a series of high-level inquiries to assess the SME for eligibility. These questions pertain to the following criteria:

  • Is the business incorporated and profit-oriented, operating as a SME in Canada?
  • Does the company have 500 or fewer full-time equivalent employees?
  • Does the business have plans to pursue growth and profit by developing and commercializing innovative, technology-driven new or improved products, services or processes in Canada?

IP Assist grant and collaboration with Gowling WLG

Under the IP Assist Program, Gowling WLG offers support to SMEs across three distinct levels, ensuring comprehensive assistance throughout the grant process.

Level 1: Awareness
Acknowledge the importance of IP for your business.

Level 2: Intelligence and strategy
Collect background intelligence by conducting an audit and generating a report on your current IP assets, while also gathering essential business and competitor information. Use this intelligence to create a basic IP strategy.

Level 3: Action
Prioritize and execute the steps you will follow to carry out your IP strategy.

Note: IRAP funding covers patentability searches but it does not cover freedom-to-operate (FTO) opinions, drafting or prosecution costs.

Useful links:

Overview of IRAP Program:

IPIC's IP Assist:

NRC main page:

Guide to building an IP strategy: plan-your-ip-strategy-html-version

Read the original article on

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.

See More Popular Content From

Mondaq uses cookies on this website. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies as set out in our Privacy Policy.

Learn More