Businesses need I.P. strategies — so do governments: A how-to guide

  1. Establish an IP Secretariat: Following Ontario’s lead, B.C. should establish an IP Secretariat. The IP Secretariat, made up of new, in-house government hires and guided by an external expert panel that has experience in IP policy and IP operations, would advise the government on how to generate, commercialize, and protect the long term value of homegrown ideas. This includes advising the government on how to improve our prosperity of their existing decisions through the addition of IP related actions. Instead of treating IP as a silo, this Secretariat must be given free rein to adopt a whole-of-government approach, providing instruction on the IP ramifications of all government decisions — from FDI, to new funding programs, to existing innovation programming, and to post-secondary education work learning placements.
  2. Introduce an online IP education program aimed towards start-ups: To close the IP knowledge deficit and increase IP literacy at the stage where it really matters, a free-to-access, standardized web-based IP curriculum should be developed and deployed to innovators. Ideally, this IP education program — which would touch on developing an overall IP strategy, managing IP in contracts, managing confidentiality, and engaging external experts — would be mandatory for any individual or entity who receives public funds in support of entrepreneurial activities.
  3. Recognize the role of funding agencies and third-party intermediaries: Startup incubators, accelerators and other organizations funded by the government have a huge role to play in today’s knowledge-based economy. As a start, these bodies should be directed to include applicants’ IP portfolios as an assessment criterion when awarding funds; they should aim to ensure IP experts are available to provide advisory services to recipients, either through Board composition or informal networks; and their mandates should be modernized to include the generation of IP for the benefit of B.C.’s economy as a goal to be accomplished.

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