Intellectual Property Strategy
From: Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
The Government of Canada is investing $85.3 million over five years to help Canadian businesses, creators, entrepreneurs and innovators understand, protect and access intellectual property (IP) through a comprehensive IP Strategy.
What is IP
IP is a business asset.
Businesses need to protect their intellectual property, just as they would their physical assets such as buildings and equipment.
Patents, copyrights, trademarks, registered industrial designs, plant breeders’ rights, geographical indications or trade secrets can give entrepreneurs an important advantage over their competitors.
Finding success with IP
IP-intensive firms are more innovative, export more, enjoy higher growth and create better jobs.
How some successful Canadian companies use IP:
Spin Master is a successful Canadian toy company that created the must-have toy of 2017, Hatchimals. A tailored IP strategy has been key to Spin Master’s ongoing success. For example, as trends change quickly, Spin Master only selectively uses the long-term protection of patents. Instead, it relies more heavily on trademarks, which protect against the counterfeiting of its popular products.
BioVectra is a chemical manufacturer based in PEI. BioVectra uses a multi-pronged IP strategy that relies on trade secrets to protect products from becoming reverse-engineered. Patents are more commonly used in the biotech industry, but by focusing on products that can be protected through BioVectra’s IP strategy of choice, the company is able to protect its investments without having to file patents in multiple jurisdictions or pursue difficult and expensive infringement proceedings.
Read more success stories to learn about how businesses are finding success and growth potential by harnessing their IP.
The IP Strategy
Supporting innovation, stimulating growth and creating jobs
Over the next five years, the Government of Canada will be making sure that Canadian businesses, creators, entrepreneurs and innovators have access to the best possible IP resources through IP awareness, education and advice; strategic IP tools for growth; and IP legislation.
Read about these new and exciting changes.
The IP Strategy is about learning.
Building an understanding of IP among Canadians is a major component of ensuring that entrepreneurs, businesses, creators and innovators recognize the value of IP.
Canadian businesses, entrepreneurs, creators and innovators need to think about IP differently, recognizing its importance to business growth.
Building expertise through learning and education
The Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) will continue to build on current learning tools and resources and will develop new educational resources to better equip innovators and businesses with the IP knowledge they need.
IP awareness and use survey
The government will be conducting an IP awareness and use survey to identify how Canadians understand and use IP, including groups that have traditionally been less likely to use IP, such as women and Indigenous entrepreneurs. The results of the survey will help better meet the needs of these groups.
Indigenous intellectual property issues
This part aims to support Indigenous participation in national and international discussions about IP and how it interacts with traditional knowledge and cultural expression. This includes support for Indigenous people’s participation in the World Intellectual Property Organization Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore, for domestic engagement with Indigenous people, and for research activities and capacity building.
IP legal clinics
IP legal clinics are a win-win, enabling law students to learn more about IP, helping businesses get a sense of their IP needs and facilitating access to the profession that can provide quality IP advice. Funding will also help clinics obtain resources and tools to improve the quality of prior art searches.
A new team of IP advisors
A dedicated team of IP advisors will be assembled to work through existing federal programs 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 advisors will supplement, rather than replace, existing IP professionals.
The IP Strategy is about growth.
For Canadian businesses to grow and succeed in the innovation economy, they need to commercialize their ideas and compete in the global marketplace.
Expedited IP dispute resolution
IP rights’ owners and users will benefit from more efficient and less costly IP dispute resolution and copyright tariffsetting at the Federal Court and Copyright Board of Canada.
Pilot Project: The Patent Collective (2019–2020)
This collective, bringing together firms through a membership model, is a pilot initiative to support small to medium-sized firms in coming together to facilitate better IP outcomes for collective members.
A third party, chosen through a competitive request for proposal process, will work with firms to promote IP best practices, provide patent intelligence and support, and obtain access to patents to help remove barriers to firms’ growth.
IP and standards-setting strategy
The Standards Council of Canada will work with innovative Canadian companies to leverage their IP during the standards-setting process. This will support the participation of Canadian businesses in the standards-setting process and encourage the inclusion of Canadian innovations in international standards.
A centralized IP-specific portal for businesses, entrepreneurs and innovators is being developed. It will improve the way that companies find and identify existing IP held by government and academia, giving businesses access to groundbreaking research that can be licensed and/or commercialized.
The IP Strategy is about balance and transparency.
New amendments to key IP laws will clarify acceptable practices and prevent misuses of IP rights.
Minimum requirements for patent demand letters
Establishing minimum requirements for the use of patent demand letters to discourage the sending of deceptive and/or vague letters and to reduce costs for the recipient in assessing the merits of the allegations.
The requirements will mandate that basic information (e.g. patent number and product or activities) will need to be included in a demand letter alleging infringement. Regulations will ensure a balance between using demand letters as a low-cost method to assert a patent right and discouraging bad behaviour.
Exclude settlement demands from the copyright Notice and Notice regime
While most rights holders have used the notice and notice regime responsibly, a small number of bad actors have leveraged it to send threatening demands to make settlement payments. We will make it explicit that notices that include such demands do not comply with the regime. This would protect consumers while ensuring that the Notice and Notice regime remains effective in discouraging infringement.
Reinforce the importance of use in the trademark regime
To prevent the cluttering and misuse of the trademark registration system, notably what is sometimes referred to as "trademark squatting," new bad faith trademark opposition and invalidation grounds will be introduced. Use will also be required to enforce a trademark within the first three years after registration.
Patent research exemption
Amendments aimed at affirming that there is no infringement when conducting experiments that relate to the subject matter of a patent.
However, resulting inventions still need to abide by existing patent laws before being sold or used for commercial benefit.
Standard essential patents
Clarification that, when a patent owner voluntarily makes a licensing commitment to incentivize a standard-setting organization to incorporate its patented technology as part of a standard, prospective licensees will be able to rely on that commitment even if the patent changes owners.
IP licences in bankruptcy proceedings
Currently, in restructuring, IP licensees in good standing can continue to use the IP if the debtor disclaims the licence. New amendments will extend this right to liquidation proceedings.
Better IP agent governance
IP agents are a key component of the innovation ecosystem because they help inventors secure exclusive IP rights.
Creating a new College of Patent and Trademark Agents will regulate the profession.
Develop your IP strategy
IP means innovation. Canadian businesses, entrepreneurs, creators and innovators have fantastic ideas, do incredible research, and create amazing products and inventions. IP plays a critical role in exploiting the growth and innovation potential of businesses. An IP strategy for your business can help extract value from existing products and services, create new revenue streams and raise capital.
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