A Call to Action

CIC President Jennifer Jeffs on why IP matters to Canada - and what we can do to protect it.
By: /
October 2, 2011

In today’s global economic context, and in a world where knowledge creation and enhancement are essential elements for economic growth in knowledge-based economies, intellectual property (IP) requires careful consideration.  A country’s approach to IP must be mindful of approaches being taken by others who consider it to be an essential aspect of a national innovation and competitiveness strategy.

Investment in and strategic management of human creativity and intellectual resources and products are key to our future, and to our health and prosperity. The world’s abilities to grow crops more efficiently under tougher climate and soil circumstances, provide clean water to rich and poor alike, and unlock new renewable energy sources all depend on its ability to acquire knowledge and develop increasingly sophisticated technologies. This requires thoughtful and strategic management of its intellectual property.

Last year, the CIC decided to examine Canada's IP regime, comparing it to IP regimes developing in elsewhere. We hired Karen Mazurkewich, an investigative business journalist who had spent many years in the Middle East and in Asia, both regions very mindful of innovation strategies, writing on themes such as innovation and leadership. For the past nine months, as co-directors of the project, we have been learning about the IP policies in other countries, speaking with policy makers, lawyers, economists, CEOs, inventors, academics, and academic administrators. And in a remarkably short period of time, Karen has written a comprehensive report that pulls the lessons learned by other countries into our national context, deriving lessons learned, best practices, and targeted comparisons. This report and the recommendations therein are the result.

In sum, the CIC’s IP report is a call to action. Many countries have undertaken extensive IP reviews in recent years. The UK, for example, has undergone two IP reviews in the past five years. While we repeatedly look at productivity, research and development, and innovation, unlike others, we have yet to undertake a thorough examination at the strategic management of intellectual property in this country. This report is our call-to-action to redress this oversight.

Photo courtesy Reuters.