A national intellectual property strategy in Canada: submission

July 28, 2017
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Male student looking at sheet music in the library.

Universities Canada’s submission to the Department of Innovation, Science and Economic Development’s consultation on Canada’s new IP strategy.

July 2017

University research and development is a major driver of Canadian innovation and economic growth. Canada’s universities conduct 41 per cent of Canada’s R&D. It is estimated that postsecondary institutions produce over $55 billion annually in economic activity and support around 680,000 direct and indirect jobs. Universities are a key partner in industrial R&D by conducting over $1 billion in research for business annually.

There is no single path for innovation – success will vary by sector and by region. In one sector the need to stimulate innovation may be most acute in the start-up phase, while in another it may be during a high growth phase. Each region will require a unique mix of collaboration between higher education institutions, government, and private and non-profit sectors.

Canada has a rich network of university-business research partnerships. Guiding the development of these partnerships are institutional intellectual property policies, which are tailored to the innovation contexts they serve. To this end, university innovation activity varies greatly: it can take the form of new spin-offs and licensing agreements; new social innovation practices with the nonprofit sector; and commercialization through open science initiatives. A flexible, responsive and nimble intellectual property environment is critical as no one-size-fits-all policy will suit the diverse needs and capabilities of Canada’s different sectors and regions.

Universities Canada’s recommendations:

  • Urgently invest in Canada’s fundamental research system as highlighted in the Fundamental Science Review Panel report
  • Maintain a flexible intellectual property policy ecosystem for our universities
  • Establish funding programs dedicated to technology and knowledge transfer activities at Canadian universities
  • Create a national intellectual property concierge service with specific tools and initiatives that promote university technology and knowledge mobilization

Tagged:  Research and innovation

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