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Goals of the Network
An important goal of the Canadian Stroke Network is to ensure that the results of stroke research are translated into health and economic benefits to Canada. Economic benefits can be developed through:
- Protecting and exploiting intellectual property (IP) resulting from Network sponsored research
- Launching start-up companies to commercialize research advances generated by the activities of the Network
- Creating new products or services that can produce revenue or result in cost savings
What is IP?
In general terms intellectual property refers to creations of the mind or intellect. It can include for example inventions, forms of “expressed” IP (such as written works, software, designs, images, etc) and know-how. An invention is a product or process that provides a new way of doing something or a new technical solution to a problem. An invention is defined under the Canadian Patent Act as “Any new and useful art, process, machine, manufacture or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement in any art, process, machine, manufacture or composition of matter”.
Who owns the IP?
Ownership usually resides with the creator but the rights to exploit the IP are often assigned to other parties – such as the creator’s employer or sponsors. Institutional policies on IP vary widely and Investigators should contact their IP Management or Industrial Liaison Office for further information.
How can IP be protected?
There are two basic ways of protecting IP. A patent is an exclusive right to make, use or sell an invention granted by the state to the inventor(s) for a period of time in exchange for complete public disclosure of the invention. To obtain a patent the invention must be novel, have utility and not be an obvious extension of existing approaches in the field of the invention. Note that disclosure of the invention to anyone prior to filing a patent application, except under formal conditions of confidentiality, may constitute a public disclosure of the invention. Public disclosure can include oral presentations, abstracts, grant proposals, theses, papers etc. If an invention is disclosed publicly prior to filing with the patent office it is no longer novel and can not be patented!
Expressed intellectual property, such as software, written works, etc are protected by copyright. Expressed intellectual property is protected by copyright as soon as it is created. It is important to note that an idea, method or concept can not be protected by copyright. Registration of the copyright through the copyright office is not required for validity, but can help in the event of a legal dispute.
I think I may have generated important IP!
Contact (i) your institutions IP Management or Industry Liaison Office – links can be found at the institutions web site, and (ii) the Network’s Director of Partnerships. In the case of a potential invention it is important to act as early as possible in order to avoid inadvertent public disclosure (see above) and to be first to invent and file. The latter is important as if more than one application for the same invention is filed with the Patent Office, the patent will be granted to the inventor(s) that were “first-to-file” (World excluding USA) or in the case of the USA “first-to-invent”.
You will be asked to make a confidential Invention Disclosure by your institutions IP Management or Industry Liaison Office. Forms and assistance will be provided. This starts the process of protecting the invention and assessing commercialization potential. Note that inventorship is determined by patent law and not by the typical process used to decide on the authorship of a scientific paper. Potential co-inventors should seek professional legal advice before a decision to name a person as an inventor is taken as this decision can directly impact the validity of the patent.
How can the Network help?
The CSN can also provide funds to contribute to the cost of protecting IP and seed financing for technology development, product proof of principle and other entrepreneurial activities.
- Helping to identify important IP in the field of stroke.
- By working closely with the Institution and Investigator to provide access to subject matter, legal and commercial expertise.
- Assisting in the assessment of the potential value of the IP.
- Providing access to receptors and industry in the field of stroke.
- Promoting and advocating the IP to other commercialization agents.
Managing IP resulting from Network Supported Research
The first step in the process of realizing economic benefits from research is to put in place agreements that define the rights and responsibilities of the parties involved in the research (typically the Investigator, the Institution and the Network) with respect to the IP that will be generated. These agreements form the basis of the Network’s IP management policies. For general guidance (and with the exception of the Registry of the Canadian Stroke Network – contact the Network Business Development Office for details) the points can be summarized as follows:
- IP arising from research supported by the Network is typically owned by the creating Investigator(s) and their Institutions (subject to Institutional policy and other relevant agreements).
- The owners of the IP have the authority and responsibility for making decisions on protecting and commercializing the IP.
- When an Investigator believes the research has potential to be commercialized he/she shall promptly disclose this to the Network Business Development Office and his/her Institution’s Industry Liaison Office. This disclosure will be treated as Confidential Information.
- Within 30 days of the disclosure a meeting of the relevant parties will be convened to discuss the potential for commercialization and the roles, duties and compensation of the parties in the commercialization process.
- The Institution(s), inventor(s) the Network and any other owner(s) shall be entitled to share in revenues resulting from the commercialization of the IP. The formula for this will be negotiated on a case-by-case basis.
- If a proposed presentation or publication (see Protection of IP above) contains IP the Investigator shall submit text to the Network and the relevant office of the Institution at least 30 days in advance of sending it to any third party. The Network or the Institution can within 30 days request a delay in disclosure for up to an additional 60 days in order to take steps to protect the IP.
Copies of Network Agreement and other relevant documents are provided below. It is important to consult these documents for further details and seek professional interpretation before taking any action.
Other useful sources of information
- Canadian Intellectual Property Office
- World Intellectual Property Organization
- StrategisAn Industry Canada site with information on starting a business.
- PatscanUniversity of British Columbia patent search service
- Biotechnology Human Resources CouncilUseful links for starting a business in biotechnology
- Angel Investors Network: The Canadian Angel Investment Network puts wealthy individuals interested in funding early-stage firms (angel investors) in contact with Canadian entrepreneurs.
- Canadian Technology Network