The new federal budget, released on 29 March 2012, reveals a strong focus on innovation, R&D and commercialization of research. The budget aims to provide more direct forms of support to business innovation. The budget’s focus on innovation highlights the value of intellectual property to the growth and strength of Canada’s economy.
While Canada was recently named as one of the top two innovation-friendly countries in the latest Global Innovation Policy Index, Canada lags behind other countries in research investment, as the percent of GDP invested in research by Canada’s business sector has been decreasing for the past 10 years. The 2012 budget aims to reverse this trend by allocating more money toward venture capital funding and research support.
In particular, the 2012 budget proposes:
- $400 million for early-stage capital investment and private sector venture capital funds.
- $100 million to the Business Development Bank of Canada to support its venture capital activities.
- $110 million per year for companies via the Industrial Research Assistance Program.
- $14 million through two years for the Industrial Research and Development Internship program.
- $67 million in 2012–13 to the National Research Council to refocus on business-led, industry-relevant research.
- $37 million per year starting in 2012–13 to support industry-academic research partnerships.
The research assistance is targeted to supporting R&D in small and medium-sized businesses to help create high-value jobs and stimulate innovation. In addition, the Business-Led Networks Centres of Excellence program links innovative businesses with Canada’s top-notch university researchers to create and sustain knowledge-based jobs.
One aspect of particular importance to the western provinces is the launch of the Western Innovation Program providing financial support to small and medium-sized enterprises in western Canada. It is expected that this program will focus on areas such as applied research and commercialization, technology development, and investment in business innovation.
More details on the innovation aspects of the new federal budget can be found at the Canadian government’s budget website here.
Innovation leads to valuable intellectual property, including inventions, designs, trademarks, and trade secrets. To protect and benefit from your business’s investment in innovation, it is important to review both your existing and new intellectual property and develop a strategy to acquire and protect your intellectual property rights. For further information, please contact one of our lawyers at Oyen Wiggs Green & Mutala LLP.
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