IP policy reform needs to start at universities

Concerns about Canadian intellectual property (IP) moving offshore raise a broader and more important issue about made-in-Canada IP. Across the country, universities have no common or baseline intellectual-property policy; each institution has developed its own approach based on its own worldview, writes Gordon Harling for The Globe and Mail.

These variations in IP policy have resulted in a wide range of outcomes in industrial collaboration and the financial terms relating to patent use. In the worst cases, IP policies have turned potential industrial partners away from approaching universities for help, with one university insisting on 30% of company revenue as a royalty.

A lottery-ticket mentality around IP has spurred universities to focus on building patent portfolios with the hope of cashing in at a future date. But the university Office of Technology Transfer, which is responsible for licensing patents, has not proved to be the best approach. Some universities in Canada have simply chosen to leave IP in the hands of the researchers who created it. The universities help them commercialise the IP through incubators, accelerators and introducing the researchers to investors near the campus.
Full report on The Globe and Mail site