Intellectual Property (IP) is at the heart of innovation as it allows companies to take ownership of their creations. In the spring of 2017, the Canadian budget referred to a national IP strategy. Today, with the announcement of the 2018 budget, the amount that will be allocated to this national IP strategy has been revealed. In total, the commitment amounts to $ 85.3 million. The investment covers three major areas to help Canada's innovative businesses: 1) a pilot patent pool, 2) legal and educational IP clinics, and 3) IP tools.

Patent collectives ($ 30 million)

Following the example of other countries, such as France and Japan, Canada announced in the 2018 budget the launch of a pilot program for the establishment of a patent pool (or sovereign wealth fund). patent ), which will consist of intangible assets essential to the achievement of national objectives. All countries face specific challenges regarding innovations in key technologies; the IP strategy and the patent pool reflect these challenges.

What is a patent collective? Why do we need it? A patent pool is one way to address innovation issues for countries like Canada with very few IP assets. It will address issues such as intellectual property leakage and the risks to new competitors. Often, new Canadian companies enter the market using technologies belonging to large (often predatory) companies and associated patents. The collective will help reduce the risk of patent infringement for growing businesses. He will ensure that Canadian companies can collectively benefit from the freedom to exploit patents.

Initial indications indicate that the pilot patent pool will target a particular sector, an area of ​​strategic interest or benefit to Canada.

For Canadian companies, the collective should complement their business strategy. They will be able to maintain their own strategic IP (and thus increase their market share), while collaborating with each other to reduce the risk of counterfeiting (and thereby mitigate the risk posed by third-party patents).

IP expertise and legal advice ($ 21.5 million)

The announcement of the launch of legal and educational IP clinics is another good news in the 2018 budget. The induction of new entrepreneurs to IP is important - we can not have a good strategy in this area if we ignore this. What is a patent and what are the benefits of IP or its operation (ie, the fundamental differences between trade secrets, trademarks, patents and copyrights). This is just one of the reasons why so many professionals use other disciplines (business, science, technology, engineering, mathematics and law) to teach IP aspects.

After running the CIGI and Communitech IP Legal Clinic a few years ago, I found that such an initiative is very valuable. These clinics train people and expand the pool of IP experts, while providing critical IP legal services to emerging businesses. In some cases, this training can avoid many hassles and volunteer legal clinics can produce positive results in the long run.

IP Tools ($ 33.8M)

I recently spoke with members of the House of Commons industry committee on technology transfer to Canadian educational institutions ( for the Council of Canadian Innovators ). During this exchange, it was recognized that there is a lack of information on what IP is and the delivery of Canadian research institutions and funding initiatives. While being aware of intellectual property leakage , the online marketplace will enable the exchange of potentially useful IP information, which hopefully will enhance and enhance collaboration among Canadian innovators.

These three aspects are strictly IP-related, but other federal government departments have mentioned IP-related strategies. Other budget statements highlight the central role of cybersecurity for intangible assets, including the protection of trade secrets and data for both business and the country.

To conclude, this budget is no doubt a pivotal point between the old way of seeing IP, which saw it as a legal mechanism, and the awareness that it is an asset that promotes innovation. has the potential to develop the domestic economy. We look forward to the announcement of the overall national IP Strategy, which is expected in the coming months.