Communitech is mobilizing the experience, knowledge and insights of the Waterloo Region tech community to help strengthen Canada’s approach to the commercialization of intellectual property.
“IP has a direct impact on competitiveness, job creation and overall prosperity,” said Communitech CEO Iain Klugman. “The tech ecosystem in Waterloo Region, which makes a significant economic impact, is uniquely positioned to contribute to the important IP conversations taking place at the provincial and national levels.”
Communitech’s IP initiative has two broad components: first, to use the organization’s relationship network and membership base to facilitate thought leadership through a series of white papers, panel discussions, and related activities; and second, to leverage the successful Communitech Academy program to deliver leading-edge training that helps businesses develop more effective IP strategies.
The IP initiative kicked off today with the launch of the first Communitech-sponsored white paper, Towards a New Understanding of Intellectual Property: IP 2.0. Written by innovation economist and tech entrepreneur Charles Plant, the white paper argues that the global economy has changed significantly in recent decades and that business and governments need to expand the traditional understanding of IP to address the realities of a knowledge and innovation-driven economy.
The Communitech Academy IP training programs will launch in the spring.
Discussions about Canada’s approach to intellectual property have recently focused on the increasingly powerful role that IP plays in the global economy, international competitiveness, and general prosperity.
“This unprecedented generation of IP (and data) stock assets demands urgent but sophisticated policy approaches for every nation, state or jurisdiction that competes in the global economy,” states the 2020 report of Ontario’s provincially appointed Expert Panel on Intellectual Property, which was chaired by former BlackBerry co-CEO Jim Balsillie.
The Ontario government asked the expert panel to make recommendations for “the development of a provincial intellectual property framework that fully exploits the potential benefits of Ontario’s investments in research and development and maximizes the role that Ontario's innovation intermediaries can play in supporting this framework.”
Last July, Ontario Premier Doug Ford travelled to Waterloo Region to unveil the resulting Intellectual Property Action Plan. The plan is intended to "drive the province's long-term economic competitiveness by prioritizing the generation, protection and commercialization of intellectual property."
Communitech hosted a roundtable discussion in conjunction with the premier’s announcement, bringing experienced tech leaders together with senior members of the provincial government to discuss critical IP issues.
"Ontario is home to some of the brightest and most innovative people and businesses in the world, and it's critical that we leverage that advantage globally, while ensuring we keep the value of homegrown ideas in the province for the benefit of Ontarians," Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, said at the time.
Since then, Communitech has continued to work with the province to facilitate additional discussions between tech leaders and government, including another roundtable with Fedeli in October in which medtech entrepreneurs shared their insights into the IP issues facing their sector.
“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 Klugman. “We look forward to engaging industry, academic, and policy experts who are collectively working to strengthen Canada’s economic prosperity through the strategic use of intellectual property.”
More information about Communitech’s IP initiative and training programs can be found at communitech.ca.