We can’t just protect Canadian intellectual property — we need to create value from it

ORIGINAL ARTICLE, thestar.com, Jayson Myers, June 1, 2021

An automatic SMD pick-and place-machine is seen assembling a circuit board at factory. Creating new intellectual property earns much praise, writes Jayson Myers, but we mustn’t forget that the point is to get value out of it.

The Canadian business and tech communities talk a lot these days about the importance of protecting intellectual property (IP), especially through patent rights. For a country with a certified case of IP anxiety — we import too much, we commercialize too little — it’s one more thing to obsess over.

But while we’re worrying about patents, we occasionally forget the big picture: We aren’t in business to protect IP, but to create the most value possible from it.

It seems so obvious when it’s framed that way, but many of us miss the forest for the trees, which is ironic for a country trying to shift from natural resources to a modern knowledge economy. In many ways, IP and talent are Canada’s natural resources of the 21st century. We need to apply them to generate value for Canadians — that’s what drives job creation and economic growth.

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