For innovators, inventors, entrepreneurs and start-ups Intellectual Property, colloquially known as IP, is crucial to business success. To keep Canadian innovators competitive in the global innovation economy the Canadian Federal Government is investing $85.3 million in a new Intellectual Property Strategy. The strategy is specifically aimed at inventors and small business innovators.
Announcing the Intellectual Property Strategy, the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, The Honourable Navdeep Bains said, “We know IP is a critical ingredient in helping Canadian businesses reach commercial success. Canada’s IP Strategy will make sure Canadians know the value of their intellectual property and how to leverage it to innovate, increase profits and create middle-class jobs.”
What is Intellectual Property (IP)?
Intellectual Property is a creation of the mind or an “intangible” asset like an invention, software, or industrial design. These creations or assets have a marketplace value just like tangible assets that you can hold in your hand. Intellectual Property that is useful, new and inventive can be protected by patent. These patent rights prevent others from making, using or selling your invention for up to 20 years.
What’s new in Canada’s IP Strategy?
1. Literacy, Tools and Advice
The Canadian Government has found that Intellectual Property is poorly understood. A key aspect of their IP Strategy is to ensure that Canadian innovators and business have access to information and educational resources about Intellectual Property. As part of the IP Strategy, the government will launch a suite of programs and tools designed to help improve the understanding of IP among Canadians and support the development of IP strategies to drive their business’s growth.
In 2015 RIM’s former CEO, Jim Balsillie lamented the lack of access to quality IP advice citing this as a reason for the state of lacking Canadian innovation. The Canadian government has listened. The Canadian IP strategy allocates funding for IP legal clinics staffed by law students to help businesses get a sense of their IP needs and facilitating access to the professionals that can provide quality IP advice. In addition to legal clinics, funding will be used to create a dedicated team of IP advisors to ensure that Government of Canada program officers have the knowledge and capacity to address IP issues and guide program recipients to improve their IP knowledge and savviness. These officers can be reached here.
2. Patent Collective
The government is creating a patent collective to bring together businesses that are building on top of the existing technology of larger and often predatory companies. The patent collective will ensure that Canadian firms can collectively benefit from patent clearance. The patent collective is the coming together of firms to share in IP expertise and strategy. This also includes access to a larger collection of IP to the benefit of all parties.
3. Innovation IP Legislation
The Canadian IP Strategy will amend current IP laws to ensure that barriers to innovation are removed. The legislative changes also focus on closing any loopholes to prevent those who seek to use IP in bad faith and stall innovation for their own gain.
The legislation will also create an independent body to oversee patent and trademark agents, which will ensure that professional and ethical standards are maintained.
Leverage Your Innovation
The Canadian government is beginning to understand that in today’s innovation economy for Canadian innovators, inventors and businesses to grow and succeed in the global marketplace they need to commercialize their ideas and protect their intellectual property. If you have an innovation or invention, now is the time to utilize the resources of the government to create your IP strategy and leverage your innovation to success.
Small and medium-sized businesses that hold IP are:
- 64 percent more likely to be high growth.
- 3 times more likely to engage in product innovation than those without IP
- 2 times more likely to engage in other types of innovation
- four times more likely to export
- have about 8 to 10 times more revenues than those not using IP
By Jesse Waldin: Mako Design + Invent
About: MAKO Design + Invent is the original firm providing world-class consumer product development services tailored to startups, small manufacturers, and inventors. Simply put, we are the leading one-stop-shop for developing your physical product from idea to store shelves, all in a high-quality, cost-effective, and timely manner. We operate as one powerhouse 30-person product design team spread across 4 offices to serve you (Austin, Miami, San Francisco, & Toronto). We have full-stack in-house industrial design, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, patent referral, prototyping, and manufacturing services. To assist our startup and inventor clients, in addition to above, we help with business strategy, product strategy, marketing, and sales/distribution for all consumer product categories. Also, our founder Kevin Mako hosts The Product Startup Podcast, the industry's leading hardware podcast. Check it out for tips, interviews, and best practices for hardware startups, inventors, and product developers. Click HERE to learn more about MAKO Design + Invent!