In advance to World Intellectual Property Day (April 26), which we are recognizing for the entire week, we have compiled this special #WorldIPDay message with IAC news, IP events to check out, and IP news that demonstrates IP in action.

This year the focus is on IP & SMEs: Taking your ideas to market, which is perfectly aligned with IAC’s mandate as we continue to work with Canadian SMEs in the data-driven clean technology sector to help them leverage their IP to grow and scale up globally.


We are proud to share that IAC has reached a key program achievement related to member growth in only four short months since our December 2020 launch, securing a second $10M milestone payment from the Department of Innovation, Science and Industry. This will help to continue to fuel program development and especially support the creation of our IP portfolio that is curated to help protect and be leveraged by our members.

“We want to thank all of our supporters and the Department of Innovation, Science and Industry for their ongoing confidence in the work IAC is doing and for their investment in IP for Canadian SMEs. For Canadian companies looking to scale, generating and protecting IP today well as ensuring freedom to operate for tomorrow will be a strategic necessity. With the continued support from the Minister, we are pleased to be able to continue IAC’s program to support scale-up strategies for IAC member companies.” – Peter Cowan, CEO and co-founder, IAC


The success of IAC is a collective effort of amazing partners and supporters who have worked alongside the IAC founders and team from the very early stages of IAC’s inception. It is with this support that IAC have been able to swiftly adapt and deliver targeted IP expertise and support to Canadian SMEs in the data-driven cleantech industry.

It is a pleasure to be able to welcome new members to the IAC Board of Directors, which further diversifies and integrates valuable expertise and perspectives to help drive IAC forwards.

List of board members:

  • Jim Balsillie, Chair
  • Daniela Bassan
  • Peter Cowan
  • Neil Desai
  • Maggie Fox
  • Kiriakoula Hatzikiriakos
  • Leah Lawrence
  • Ruth McHugh
  • Lally Rementilla
  • Jim Hinton (observer)
  • Chris Wormald (observer)
  • Jennifer Miller (ISED representative & observer)

Learn more about the IAC team.


The launch of our Grant Program in Q1 2021 was met with intense enthusiasm from our members with several grants being awarded to participating members between $5,000 and $20,000 that further supports their IP activities and encourage more extensive planning for their continued IP needs.

The Q2 grant application period will begin in May. To participate in the IAC Grant Program, you must be a member. To learn more about the program and eligibility to become a member, please contact with our membership team,

We are happy to spotlight one of our members, Advanced Intelligent Solutions (AIS), a receipt of one of the Q1 IP Generation Grants.

“We are very excited about the IAC initiative and we are pleased to be a member company. We appreciate the grant award that we received from IAC as it supports our IP efforts and helps us in the financial costs of our multi-national patent filings. Also, IAC’s educational events and IP analytics tool has provided us with valuable insights on improving our in-house IP strategy and IP decision-making processes.”

Advanced Intelligent Systems (AIS)   

IAC Member since February 2021


IAC: INNOVATOR SERIES: Data Fundamentals for Business

April 22 at 3pm EDT

Hosted by IP expert Karima Bawa, Data Fundamentals for Business will explore questions around the use and usefulness of data in business strategy, as well as tips to manage risk and leverage opportunity.  

IAC in partnership with NRCan: Impact of Federally Created Software and Data Assets in an Intangibles Economy

April 26 at 1pm EDT

Join the panel of experts as they discuss the role of federally created software and data in Canadian innovation.

Panelists: Jason Abt, Chief Technology Officer, TechInsights; Mike McLean, Vice President Operations, Innovative Asset Collective; Janice Sharp, Senior Director, Federal Geospatial Platform, Natural Resources Canada; and Marc Wickham, Director, Buildings & Renewables Research, Natural Resources Canada.


IP-related content to check out this World IP Day 

  • Head over to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) site where you can see event listings from all over the world for #WorldIPDay
  • To learn what’s involved in taking your ideas to market, follow the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) who will have a full day of content on April 26th with a webinar at 1 pm EDT. Stay tuned to their Twitter and LinkedIn accounts for more information. 


As we learned in our last Innovator Series webinar, IP ignorance or oversight can be quite costly, even for big companies. The following articles provide some insight into what is happening on the IP landscape.

Supreme Court rules in Google’s favor in copyright dispute with Oracle over Android software

The article states that in a ruling that favoured Google, Oracle had made a claim that they are owed $9 billion for code that Google “used to build Android that were copied from the Java application programming interface [API] developed by Sun Microsystems, which Oracle acquired in 2010.”

Businesses of all sizes need to understand the implications IP can have on their financial and operational plans: the ruling has massive financial implications in part due to the lengthy litigation of this case, but it also demonstrates the importance of having a clear understanding of the extent of your IP protection.

The breakdown:

  • ‘Fair use’ is defined as “any copying of copyrighted material done for a limited and “transformative” purpose, such as to comment upon, criticize, or parody a copyrighted work” (source: Stanford Libraries). The copyright ‘rule’ of fair use is a very ambiguous rule, which really is seen much more as a guideline.
  • With the ambiguity of the rule in mind, the court ruling in Google’s favour helps to provide some clarity around the fair use and transformative nature of API’s and their role to enable different software packages and platforms to work together. This decision was sufficient to address the dispute in question – and provides guidance on what constitutes transformative use under the fair use doctrine.
  • What the ruling did not clarify is if API’s should be protected by copyright as was hoped by some parties.
  • Companies should consider a layered approach to IP that utilizes a variety of the rights available to protect their innovation wherever possible.

EPO Patent Index 2020 Underscores Sharp Rise of China as Global Tech Giant 

The Patent Index 2020 was released in March by the European Patent Office (EPO), which provides a “snapshot view of the filing activities” in the EU.

If your business is expanding into China or competing internationally against Chinese-based competition, it will be key to understand the impact IP will have on business risks or opportunities, given the increasing level of “IP sophistication” demonstrated by Chinese firms and their government.

The breakdown:

  • This article helps to outline the position of China versus others which is clear given Canada’s rank of 17th that puts us behind smaller resource intensive countries while China has moved up to 4th.
    • For further reference, The US, Germany and Japan were ranked first, second and third.
  • Huawei is responsible for almost 25% of those filing and the government subsidies that China provides businesses drove a massive increase in their fillings as part of the “efforts undertaken by China’s communist government to democratize intellectual property rights and protections”. These subsidies are being removed over the next few years.
  • The Chinese system is still seen as problematic but shows the ability to adapt.
    • Addressing patentability of software
    • Introducing punitive damages for willful infringement
  • “However, unlike the U.S., where Section 101 reform can’t get passed in Congress despite widespread acknowledgment that judicial exceptions to patent eligibility are choking off important sectors of innovation, the Chinese government continues to show itself as being responsive to well-founded criticism, announcing in late January plans to eliminate all patent filing subsidy programs put in place by Chinese provincial governments by the year 2025.”
  • A change in Canada’s position requires an increase in the volume and quality of IP rights being pursued by Canadian companies. The funding and IP strategy education provided by IAC is intended to assist IAC members in achieving these outcomes relative to a competitive global market.