Canadian Government Details $66.5M Commitment to Intellectual Property Legislation, Tools, Education

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The investment of 85.3 million Canadian dollars over the next five years is intended to create a comprehensive IP strategy.

The music industry is responding favorably to the Canadian government's recent commitment to the value of intellectual property by promising 85.3 million Canadian dollars ($66.5 million) over the next five years to legislation, tools and education.

The intent is to "help Canadian business, creators, entrepreneurs and innovators understand, protect and access intellectual property (IP) through a comprehensive IP Strategy," says a detailed report released Thursday.

Navdeep Bains, minister of innovation, science and economic development, made the announcement at the Innovation Centre at Bayview Yards in Ottawa.

"We know IP is a critical ingredient in helping Canadian businesses reach commercial success," he said in a statement. "Canada's IP Strategy will make sure Canadians know the value of their intellectual property and how to leverage it to innovate, increase profits and create middle-class jobs."

According to statistics provided by the government, small and medium-sized businesses that hold formal IP are three times more likely to engage in product innovation than those without IP, two times more likely to engage in other types of innovation, four times more likely to export and 64 percent more likely to be high growth. IP-intensive businesses pay 16 percent more, on average, than businesses with little or no IP and businesses using IP in patent-intensive industries have about eight to 10 times more revenues than those not using IP.

Michael Geist, professor of law at University of Ottawa and an author on intellectual property issues, said in a statement, "The government's IP Strategy does an exceptional job of responding to the long-standing need for better IP education, supporting innovation and combating abusive IP practices. 

"The changes to the Copyright Act's Notice-and-Notice system restores its original intent and will come as a relief to thousands of Canadians who have received dubious settlement demands. By crafting rules designed to limit misuse of intellectual property, Canada is demonstrating leadership in fostering a progressive, balanced and innovative IP framework."

The new IP strategy also received praise from a wide range of industries, from aerospace to biotech to the music industry.

"We are pleased to see new funds committed to the Copyright Board of Canada, coupled with the upcoming review, which were both well due and will hopefully lead to a reduction in delays for decisions," SOCAN CEO Eric Baptiste said in a statement.

Toronto-based Vince Degiorgio, a former BMG exec who is credited with signing *NSYNC to its U.S. deal and now runs CYMBA Music Publishing, said in a statement, "We support enhanced protection of creators' and music publishing companies' intellectual property and fair compensation for those who help contribute to Canadian cultural content in order to remain innovative. 

"The right IP strategy is critical to the continued economic growth of Canadian businesses," he added. "This strategy is the right one. For companies like mine, who operate in Canada and globally, or our members -- ole, Red Brick Songs, CCS Rights Management and so many more -- copyright and IP are at the heart of what we do."

According to the press release summation, the IP Strategy will make changes in three key areas: legislation, literary and advice, and tools. See their summarizes below. 

LEGISLATION:

The IP Strategy will amend key IP laws to ensure that we remove barriers to innovation, particularly any loopholes that allow those seeking to use IP in bad faith to stall innovation for their own gain.

The IP Strategy will create an independent body to oversee patent and trademark agents, which will ensure that professional and ethical standards are maintained, and will support the provision of quality advice from IP professionals.

LITERACY AND ADVICE:

As part of the IP Strategy, the Canadian Intellectual Property Office will launch a suite of programs to help improve IP literacy among Canadians.

The IP Strategy includes support for domestic and international engagement between Indigenous people and decision makers as well as for research activities and capacity building.

The IP Strategy will also support training for federal employees who deal with IP governance.

TOOLS:

The IP Strategy will provide tools to support Canadian businesses as they learn about IP and pursue their own IP strategies.

The government is creating a patent collective to bring together businesses to facilitate better IP outcomes for members. The patent collective is the coming together of firms to share in IP expertise and strategy, including gaining access to a larger collection of patents and IP. 

Taken together, these measures, along with the Innovation and Skills Plan, will help Canadian innovators maximize the value of their creations and enhance further innovation from coast to coast to coast.