Canadian Intellectual Property Office announces that the federal government is here to help
The Canadian federal government has been saying for some time that the encouragement of innovation is one of its important policies in the development of Canadian trade and business. Recently, the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) issued a statement outlining financial assistance programs available from the federal government for developing intellectual property (see statement here
In this article, we will briefly discuss what the statement had to say.
One thing you should ask yourself when considering accepting financial assistance is, “do I really need this sort of financial assistance to develop my business at this stage and is it the right time to invest in protecting my intellectual property?” At a very early stage, all you may need to protect your intellectual property is keeping your ideas confidential (that is, not publically disclosing or using your inventions) and earning your reputation in the marketplace under the name that you have chosen for your business (that is, developing your common law trademark rights). But eventually you may want to register your trademarks so that you can better protect your brand beyond your contacts/neighborhood and to apply for patent and/or industrial design protection if taking a newly developed product or process public is or will be part of your business. At that stage, there is a lot to consider and certainly having some extra funds available to help develop your plans could help.
So what programs (as outlined in the statement) does our federal government have available to help?
The Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) offers financing and advisory services that focus on small and medium sized businesses for starting a new business or expanding an existing business. In order to qualify for a start-up loan, an applicant must have a solid business plan and what the Bank refers to as a “reasonable financial investment in the enterprise” - so the government won’t put up all of the money that you need to get started. Other criteria are listed on the BDC website here under the tab “learn more about the eligibility criteria”.
The statement also refers to the Trade Commissioner Service of Global Affairs Canada that helps small and medium Canadian businesses develop new export opportunities and international research and development partnerships. Also mentioned is the Industrial Research Assistance Program of the National Research Council, whereby funding is available for you to partner your research efforts with the expertise and equipment of researchers at the National Research Council of Canada.
Beyond what is discussed in the statement, the federal government has developed a website that outlines what it offers to help Canadians to innovate at https://concierge.innovation.gc.ca/en/home.
Provincial governments also may offer some form of assistance. An example of a program specifically related to patents is the first patent program of the Quebec government (see here) for a general outline of the program (in English) and here for a more detailed discussion (in French)).
Clearly there is more to this topic than what is discussed in the CIPO statement and the related websites briefly discussed here. Our firm not only has professionals that are prepared to discuss your intellectual property needs with you on a confidential basis, we also have lawyers with extensive experience in corporate law who can offer further information and advice on setting up/organizing, expanding and financing your business.