The expert panel that was established as part of the Ontario government’s 2019-2020 budget released its report on Tuesday, outlining its recommendations on how the province should handle the commercialization of intellectual property (IP).
“IP is, by definition, a government-granted exclusive ownership right to an idea.”
Jim Balsillie, chair of the Council of Canadian Innovators and co-CEO of BlackBerry, was tapped to lead the panel as its chair. Balsillie stated in the report, “IP is, by definition, a government-granted exclusive ownership right to an idea, and continued leadership from the Government of Ontario is critical to the success of these recommendations.”
The task force was asked to submit an action plan for a provincial IP framework aimed at maximizing commercialization opportunities at Ontario post-secondary institutions and within the innovation economy. After five months of consultation from industry and business experts as well as input from innovators including Regional Innovation Centres (RICs), campus-linked accelerators (CLAs) and On-Campus Entrepreneurship Activity (OCEA), among others, the panel has set forth four recommendations for the Government of Ontario.
The panel’s first recommendation urges the Ontario government to create a mandatory IP education curriculum for individuals and organizations that receive public funds in support of entrepreneurial activities. Balsillie’s panel noted that the curriculum should be offered for free or “at a nominal cost” and be easily accessible throughout the province.
The panel also recommends that the Government of Ontario create a “centralized provincial resource” that provides “consistent, sophisticated legal and IP expertise and education.” It also suggests building a standardized governance framework for the commercialization of IP, to be led by a “special advisor” who would assist in the development and implementation of the framework.
Finally, the report noted that all “commercialization entities” within research organizations that receive public fundings should have clearly defined mandates outlining their roles and responsibilities in generating IP “for the benefit of Ontario’s economy.”
“Commercialization of intellectual property generated from publicly supported institutions can facilitate Ontario’s prosperity domestically and increase our competitiveness abroad for generations to come,” the report stated.
“Every step of this process…had one objective at the core: to advise how the Government of Ontario can facilitate prosperity through a well-governed, well-resourced and well-positioned innovation ecosystem and see Ontario resume its place in the top 10 North American jurisdictions for GDP per capita,” read the report.
Image source Canadian International Council via Flickr