June was a busy month at IAC as we welcomed several incredible data-driven cleantech organizations with strong representation across Canada to our Collective. A warm welcome to our new IAC members!
In this edition of IP Matters, we’re pleased to share a recap of our June events as well as details of what we have coming up. And, we’ll highlight IAC’s activities and news stories.
Also, just a note: we will not be sending out IP Matters in August. We are taking a little break and we hope you are as well. IP Matters will be back in September with a full calendar of events and news to share.
IAC’s fifth Innovator Series took place on June 24th, with a focus on IP Layering: Trade Secrets & Patents
Our monthly series brings together experts in IP, innovation, business and other interdisciplinary areas in an open forum for idea sharing and open discussion.
In the latest series, IAC co-founder Peter Cowan, principal consultant at Northworks IP was joined by Mike McLean, VP, operations and transactions at IAC and Cynthia Shippam, industry technical advisor with the National Research Council (NRC-IRAP). Their discussion centered on these two important types of IP protection and how to contextualize them within your business strategy. Each panelist offered thoughts on the key considerations of layering patents and trade secrets and the overall benefits of a nuanced approach to setting and implementing an IP strategy. We ended with lessons learned from each based on their years of collective experience as experts in this field.
Next up in IAC’s Innovator Series
On September 30th the Innovator Series will return with a session focused on Licensing. Registration is now open.
Members get more: As a member, you’ll receive the recorded webinar as well as takeaway slides with key points and action items from our panelists.
Not an IAC member yet? Head to our websiteto learn more about the series and IAC membership.
Save the Date
IAC is taking a short break from events this summer to focus on some exciting projects for the fall. We are looking forward to kicking off Fall 2021 with an IAC
Member Meet & Greet event on September 16, at 3pm ET / 12PM PT. This session will allow IAC’s ever-growing membership to get to know each other. Members will have a chance to meet the IAC team and get a sense of key players. They will also learn about current and future initiatives, share feedback on what education opportunities you’re looking forward to, as well as how IAC can help your SME achieve your IP goals.
Women in IP Forum
On July 6th, IAC, in partnership with the University of Windsor, hosted a round table event titled, Fostering an Inclusive Innovation Ecosystem: Women Entrepreneurs and Intellectual Property Knowledge.
This half-day session featured many of Canada’s leading IP experts and focused on exploring the gender-based challenges for female-identifying entrepreneurs, innovators, creators, and inventors in navigating the IP system and securing their IP rights.
This event was the kick-off to a study into the underrepresentation of women IP rights-holders (patents in particular) within the data-driven clean technology sector (DDCT). The study will be conducted by the University of Windsor and led by Professor Myra Tawfik and Heather Pratt throughout the summer of 2021.
A final report will be delivered in the fall of 2021, with the goal of providing recommendations to IAC to be incorporated into our programming and gender-based supports for women in DDCT. This is part of IAC’s commitment to inclusion and representation across all areas of IP education. Additional details will be shared in the October edition of IP Matters.
In February, we introduced the IAC IP Generation Grant Program, which provides access to funding for IAC members. Here’s how it works: $100,000 of funding is available each quarter; an average of 10 grants are awarded with amounts ranging from $5,000- $20,000. Submissions are judged on the clarity of the IP strategy, the alignment of the innovation under consideration with that strategy, and the impact the resulting IP rights will have on the business.
To date, we are very pleased to share that two rounds of grants have been awarded for a total of $200,000.
This program is only available to IAC members, so if you know any Canadian data
driven cleantech SMEs that could benefit from assistance with their IP Strategy, this grant program is only one of many opportunities to enrich their business strategy with valuable IP expertise.
Our membership team is available to discuss IAC’s IP Generation Grant and other opportunities available to IAC members.
China reigns supreme in solar energy, with firms from the country supplying three-quarters of the world’s solar panels. To compare, the US, once a strong contender for dominance in this renewable, produces just 1%. But it’s not just manufacturing where China comes out on top. Analysis of data, conducted by Dolcera, reveals a strong showing on the patent front too.
Patent activity within solar energies has been on an upward trend since 2010, with a surge in 2015.
The current pandemic has revealed in many ways, good and bad, the reality of a truly globalised world – from disrupted worldwide supply chains to the immense benefits of the internet, cross-border communications and the virtual economy.
A broader connected truth is that the US is no longer the unquestioned world leader in science and technology research. Today, China is a massive power, while basic research competence is spread throughout the world.
Canada’s semiconductor sector is experiencing a revival, as startups led by experienced chip executives and new founders chase the huge market created by the growth of AI and other disruptive technologies. Larger U.S. competitors absorbed the last cohort of promising firms a decade ago. Industry executives and investors say capital, customers and talent are needed to help the current generation thrive.
The Ontario government has appointed Dan Herman, the former head of strategy for the federal innovation ministry, to design an arm’s-length organization to increase intellectual property ownership in the province. Herman’s appointment follows more than two years of consultations with universities and other stakeholders led by former BlackBerry executive Jim Balsillie. A priority for the new organization will be measuring how public research dollars translate to commercial products at post-secondary institutions.
True to CEO Elon Musk’s stated distaste for patents, Tesla has rarely popped up in patent transactions with other companies. The assignments database at ktMINE identifies only six instances of Tesla executing a patent deal with an outside entity. Half of those, however, took place since the start of 2021. And each, in its own way, shows how patents figure in the company’s M&A efforts and commercial relationships.
These deals don’t necessarily show that Musk is a hypocrite: after all, the commitment not to sue ‘good faith’ competitors would mean nothing if Tesla did not have any patents in the first place. What these transactions do show is that no matter how much an executive may dislike them, patent rights are an important currency when it comes to research partnerships, commercial relationships and M&A deals.
Many of the threat vectors have been created as a result of the blurring of lines between home and work with insecure networks or applications and employees accessing critical intellectual property or data on personal devices. Technology solutions alone cannot alleviate these risks. They will have to be anticipated and mitigated with policies and investments in training and offices for positions handling sensitive materials.
The investigation centres on the possibility that materials such as plasma DNA molecules, which could be used to recreate vaccines or viruses, were transferred to Chinese authorities without the approval of the Public Health Agency of Canada, according to a source with direct knowledge of the matter.
The Trudeau government’s enthusiasm for an Alphabet/Google company, Sidewalk Labs, to take charge of developing the Smart City potential on Toronto’s waterfront rather than creating an opportunity for Canadian companies was just one example of how Silicon Valley had seduced Ottawa.
This is the wrong model for Canada’s future economy. These tech giants will not deliver the jobs and wealth we will need to sustain and enhance our way of life. Rather than becoming one of the top five innovation nations in the world, as Bains boasted we would, we are falling behind. Nor does the spate of recent unicorn financings—companies valued at at least $1-billion—mean we are on the right track; with a high level of U.S. venture financing, much of the profit from these investments will flow to U.S. investors, not stay in Canada.
IP data analytics tools need to become a lot more user-friendly and reflective of wider business needs if non-patent professionals are to be convinced of their value, argues Bridget Diakun in this week’s Saturday Opinion
New National Security Guidelines for Research Partnerships will help protect Canadian science and research
Canadian researchers—including those in government, academia and the private sector—should increase their vigilance to protect the security of their research and intellectual property. The new guidelines are another tool that all researchers can consult for information on how to mitigate risks to research security.
For an in depth breakdown and commentary, please read The Logic’s article “Canada to weigh national security risks in funding research”
Today, as part of the Government of Canada’s first-ever Intellectual Property Strategy, the College of Patent Agents and Trademark Agents has been established to regulate the patent and trademark agent profession to ensure Canadians benefit from access to high-quality IP advice and services.
The College will be responsible for maintaining the high standards that are expected of trusted patent and trademark advisors. It will administer a licensing system, making sure that only qualified professionals are authorized to provide agent services. The College will also maintain an agent code of conduct and undertake investigations and enforcement, as necessary, to ensure high-quality IP services for Canadians.
The safeguarding of Indigenous intellectual property, including intellectual property based on their knowledge and cultural expressions, is integral to the social, cultural and economic interests of Indigenous peoples. The protection and preservation of Indigenous intellectual property benefits Indigenous communities, businesses, innovators and creators.