The Province of Ontario recently launched Intellectual Property Ontario (IPON), an agency meant to “… help the postsecondary education and research and innovation sectors generate, protect, manage and commercialize intellectual property (IP).”
Laws and registration of IP such as patents, trademarks, and copyright are the responsibility of the Federal Government and the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO). This Ontario initiative will complement CIPO services by helping to educate academic institutions and small Ontario companies on how to manage and protect their IP.
IPON resulted from recommendations of an expert panel commissioned to improve how intellectual property is brought to market.
That report said: “The digital transformation over the past thirty years has resulted in a new economic reality in which the basis of wealth and power is derived from the ownership of valuable intellectual property (IP), and more recently, the accumulation and control of data. IP and data are now the world’s most valuable business and national security assets.”
Lawyer and Patent Agent Natalie Raffoul was on the panel. She told me: “I am really pleased to see the Ford government take this important step to help Ontario-headquartered companies better protect their intellectual property and other intangible assets to ensure that they have freedom to operate in the global marketplace to scale their businesses in Ontario. Growing Ontario-headquartered companies is critical to our economic security.”
IPON will also provide training and resources to Regional Innovation Centres in Ontario.
Christina Fox, CEO of TechAlliance, commented to me that: “The launch of Intellectual Property Ontario is welcome news for TechAlliance of Southwestern Ontario, as a regional innovation centre funded by Ontario’s Ministry of Economic Development Job Creation and Trade. The generation, commercialization and protection of Made-in-Ontario IP, and the growth of the intangible economy drives value-creation resulting in increased prosperity for Ontario’s most promising startups and fastest-growing tech companies. Having consistent, equitable access to IP resources, founders and industry leaders will have more opportunity to deepen their knowledge, in addition to advice and curriculum curated by TechAlliance.”
IPON itself is still in startup mode. There will be more detail to come about what resources will be available.
Written by David Canton
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