Navdeep Bains, Canada’s Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, unveiled the government’s long-awaited intellectual property (IP) strategy, which responds to the need to increase IP awareness, develop new IP tools for businesses and counter IP misuse that harms both consumers and businesses. Following Bains’s announcement in April, the strategy garnered widespread applause for its holistic approach to IP policy, which recognizes the need to support IP through a combination of better information, administration and corporate practices.
My CIGI essay notes that perhaps the most notable aspect of the policy is the decision to reject a commonly heard refrain: if IP is good, more IP must surely be better.
That policy approach, which invariably leads to an emphasis on restrictive IP enforcement and longer terms of protection, fails to adequately account for other incentives for innovation and the benefits that come from open systems and flexible IP rules. While the Canadian government will undoubtedly continue to tinker with its IP legal framework – an ongoing review of copyright law seems certain to lead to some proposed amendments – the IP strategy moves in several new directions, including countering IP abuse, addressing IP administration and removing IP barriers to innovation. The full essay can be found here.