Intellectual property (IP) creations such as branding, designs, technology and process development, artistic works, and other innovations are critical to business strategy and competitiveness. It is vital that these be protected to ensure that the ideas provide IP owners with compensation for the innovations and to ensure public trust in a product or service.
“Intellectual property (IP) allows companies to maximize their innovations, differentiate themselves from their competitors, while providing consumers with more choices for goods and services. IP, which is inherently pro-competitive, ensures the protection of differentiated, intangible business assets, while encouraging a dynamic marketplace.” – World Intellectual Property Organization. In Canada, IP protection has lagged our G7 counterparts. Ranking 14th globally by number of IP rights filed, much of the IP created in Canada is sold to foreign entities. This has resulted in fewer opportunities for Canadian businesses to scale up and commercialize technologies for Canadian early-stage innovators.
Canadian Innovation Shaping the World
Canadians are responsible for amazing innovations used daily around the world, including Insulin, a lifesaving medication for diabetic patients; the IMAX movie system, a favourite of Oscar-winning directors the world over; the Blackberry, once the most secure business communications device; and even everyday foods like the Ambrosia apple and Yukon gold potatoes. Check out Export Development Canada’s article on 150 years of Canadian Innovation.
In recent years, and particularly since the Covid-19 pandemic, the Government has identified a need for more knowledge-based industry work to diversify Canada’s economy and future-proof the country’s economic outlook. Provincial and federal programs are designed to help exponentially grow and scale key industries surrounding software development, innovation superclusters, and creative production that can be developed and exported to an international audience.
Atlantic Canada Funding for Canadian Innovation
Recently, to supplement this approach and increase innovation in all industries, governments in Canada have begun to actively encourage protecting IP rights as part of the Intellectual Property Strategy’s ElevateIP program offered by Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED), with Canada’s East Coast most recently joining this initiative.
Particularly beneficial for start-up companies, Springboard Atlantic has created a new program for businesses to ensure that they are able to protect their IP assets to safeguard scalability, commercialization, and reduce incidents of competitors fabricating the same or similar offerings called the Atlantic IP Advantage program.
The Atlantic IP Advantage program allows new businesses located in Atlantic Canada to connect with IP professionals and receive help in developing an IP strategy that is tailored to their business model.
If you have questions about your IP strategy, or would like to identify gaps in your approach, the Government of Canada’s resources on building an IP strategy, including an IP inventory checklist, can be a great place to begin your IP review.
Government Funding for Research and Development in Atlantic Canada
Provincial and federal governments in Canada have identified the need to incentivize innovation and offer several research and development (R&D) funding programs to support these endeavours. The Atlantic Innovation Fund provides up to $3 million to support creation and adaptation of new products and services or technologies that allow businesses to grow and respond to market pressures and meet global demands.
Additionally, the Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) tax program is the largest R&D incentive in the country. It works together with government grants and repayable funding to support salaries and overhead costs for your R&D projects. Not sure if SR&ED is right for you? Our SR&ED 101 video series can help identify opportunities.