Media release

Communitech launches white paper series examining how to strengthen Canada’s IP strategies

Inaugural report authored by serial entrepreneur and innovation economist, Charles Plant

KITCHENER, ONT., January 11, 2021 — Today, Communitech has released the first in a series of white papers aimed to help strengthen Canada’s approach to the commercialization of intellectual property. This research report, entitled ‘Towards a New Understanding of Intellectual Property: IP 2.0’ was authored by Charles Plant, former CEO of Synamics and CFO of MaRS as well as current senior advisor on IP Strategy at Communitech and founder of the Narwhal Project

“The current definition and understanding of intellectual property was built for the industrial revolution, when it made sense to think of IP as just the technical details of a product or a manufacturing process,” said Plant. “In today’s innovation economy, this is no longer enough – it is just table stakes; necessary but not sufficient for success.”

Key findings within the white paper make the case for an expanded definition of intellectual property. Plant calls upon leaders in technology, government and academia to work together to no longer think of technical IP in isolation. To succeed in the innovation economy, Plant explains that marketing and process IP must be recognized as intellectual property and, along with technical IP, equally valued and integrated within a new IP framework. Only then, his findings reveal, does a firm have the chance to build a business successful enough to dominate world markets. 

“To succeed at scaling, this research shows why every company needs to develop a balanced portfolio of technical, market and process intellectual property” says Plant. “It’s not just about protecting your technology – it’s about protecting your business and ensuring that companies are receiving the economic benefits of their own intellectual property.”

This whitepaper series, which serves to facilitate thought leadership amongst the organization’s network of more than 1,400 companies, is one of a number of initiatives at Communitech focused on strategic IP. Communitech’s Strategic Intellectual Property for Tech Leaders program delivers leading-edge training to ensure that tech startups and scale-ups can develop effective IP strategies. The next iteration of this program will be delivered in Spring 2021. Additionally, over the last year, Communitech has worked with provincial and federal government partners to host informed discussions with experienced tech leaders on critical IP issues.

“This is one of the things that Communitech is really good at – bringing innovative thinkers together to exchange ideas, learn from one another and create solutions,” said Iain Klugman, Communitech CEO. “We look forward to continuing this important work by engaging industry, academic and policy experts who are collectively working to strengthen Canada’s economic prosperity through the strategic use of intellectual property.”

To learn more about Communitech’s IP-related research, services and programs, please visit

To access Charles Plant’s white paper, ‘Towards a New Understanding of Intellectual Property: IP 2.0’, please click here.


For more information or media inquiries, please contact:

Candace Beres

Manager, Communications, Communitech


About Communitech

Communitech was founded in 1997 by a group of entrepreneurs committed to making Waterloo Region a global innovation leader. At the time it was wild talk, but somehow this community managed to pull it off. Today, Communitech is a public-private innovation hub that supports a community of more than 1,400 companies — from startups to scale-ups to large global players.

Communitech helps tech companies start, grow and succeed in three distinct ways.

  • Communitech is a place – the centre of gravity for entrepreneurs and innovators. A clubhouse for building cool tech and great companies.
  • Communitech delivers programs – helping companies at all stages with access to capital, customers and talent. We are here to help them grow and innovate.
  • Communitech partners in building a world-leading ecosystem – making sure we have all the ingredients (and the brand) to help companies go from a small startup to a global giant.