British Columbia Needs Effective Intellectual Property Frameworks to Promote Collaborative Research and Commercialization

May 24, 2016
Guest Authors

This issue of Policy Perspectives provides an overview of results from a recent Mitacs research project examining what attracts (and deters) foreign direct investment in R&D to Canada, with a specific focus on Canada’s outdated intellectual policy regime.

This edition of Policy Perspectives was guest-authored by Val Walker, Director of Policy, Mitacs and Stephen Higham, Policy Analyst, Mitacs.


  • BC has a high number of small businesses that contribute to a dynamic economy, but lack the capacity to make the province a leader in developing and commercializing new products or services.
  • To strengthen its economic competitiveness, BC needs to grow businesses, in part by promoting collaboration between firms and universities through research partnerships.
  • Stakeholders in BC must ensure that policies surrounding intellectual property are understandable and timely, to avoid deterring potential research partnerships and foreign direct investment in R&D.
  • No consistency currently exists in IP policies in provinces across Canada or at individual post secondary institutions, making navigating commercialization challenges even harder for potential collaborators.
  • BC institutions would be well-served by clear and consistent guidelines to follow when it comes to IP for their researchers and industry partners.
  • Best practices exist that can serve as a guide, including Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects group that has recently created a collaborative agreement with universities called MURA – their multi-university research agreement.

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