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IP Law for emerging techs in Canada

IP Law for emerging techs in Canada

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Published by Scott Valentine
"University and government IP policies vary wildly. In some cases, the innovator may have almost no ownership rights, and therefore little incentive to try and commercialize their work."
"University and government IP policies vary wildly. In some cases, the innovator may have almost no ownership rights, and therefore little incentive to try and commercialize their work."

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Published by: Scott Valentine on Jun 21, 2010
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11/18/2010

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IP in CanadaGovernment stand on intellectual property: Lots of talk, little actionfrom CBC.ca - http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/tech/hightech/ip.htmlBy Scott ValentineDuring its Oct. 16, 2007, throne speech, Stephen Harper's Conservative government said it "will support Canadian researchers and innovators in developing new ideas and bringing them to the marketplaceâ
¦. Our government will improve the protection of cultural and intellectual property rights in Canada."That kind of talk is exciting, because it hints at a plan for Canada's under-supported innovations community. But there are a number of hurdles to clear beforethe Harper government can deliver on its promise to put Canadian innovators on even footing with their contemporaries in the United States and elsewhere."It would be a lot simpler if we could look out at a uniform set of policies," says Ilse Treurnicht, CEO of Toronto's MaRS Discovery District, a non-profit corporation that works to accelerate the commercialization of IP by networking innovators with venture capitalists, scientists and business people."Universities and government research facilities all have varying policies regarding IP," she says. "So whenever an innovator at one of these facilities has something worth commercializing â
¦ it's 'let's make a deal.' "University and government IP policies vary wildly. In some cases, the innovatormay have almost no ownership rights, and therefore little incentive to try and commercialize their work."That's really part of the problem in Canada," says Marie Lussier, president ofthe Canadian Association of Business Incubators. "Every university here does things differently. The policies are so varied â
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even different federal labs have varying ways of looking at IP."In the United States, the 1980s Bayh-Dole Act outlines a clear set of rules determining IP ownership early in the process of federally funded innovation. But inCanada, there is no set method for transferring technological research and knowledge from public institutions. In other words, there are few rules governing and protecting the process of getting immature intellectual property out of the lab and safely into a commercial environment that will nurture it and turn it intoa marketable product.That's less a policy gap than it is a resourcing issue, according to Treurnicht."The idea with transfer is to capture and manage IP in a way that's accessibleto partners."She adds that the success or failure of IP commercialization is often tied to the quality of the transfer experience. "It depends on the quality of the individual transfer office, the experience of the people there, the commitment to commercialization," she says. "If an individual IP owner has to take that all on, it'sa good way to kill the whole process of commercialization."Another glaring hole in Canada's approach to IP ownership is its lack of supportfor private innovators, some observers say.In the United States, the Bayh-Dole Act provides an incentive to private business to contribute to and develop IP. The most common example is how the legislation encourages and enables small and medium-sized enterprise (SMEs) to register an

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