About Intellectual Property
- The role of IP
- Who owns my ideas or intangible creations?
- Managing knowledge and innovation
- IP Facts
Why intellectual property is important to small and medium-sized enterprises and their business activities.
Intellectual property (IP), very broadly, means the legal rights that result from intellectual activity in the industrial, scientific, literary and artistic fields. IP rights, whether in the form of patent, trade-marks, copyrights, industrial designs, integrated circuit topographies, or plant breeders' rights reward this intellectual activity.
The Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO), a special operating agency of Industry Canada, administers most of Canada's IP laws and regulations to ensure that they meet present and future client needs and best contribute to the Canadian economy. First, CIPO grants or registers ownership for the following five types of IP: patents, trade-marks, copyrights, industrial designs and integrated circuit topographies. Second, it makes accessible to the public the details of new innovations registered in Canada, thereby encouraging further economic activity. CIPO's core functions reward and encourage innovation and the use of IP by granting IP rights, maintaining a responsive IP framework, and ensuring that the IP data collected by CIPO is available to all its clients, in Canada and abroad.
Some Canadian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) assume that the IP rights are not so important mostly because they do not fully understand the IP benefits and implications. There are many SMEs that have very valuable IP rights but they don't use them effectively. Other SMEs are occasionally involved unintentionally in violating the IP rights of others without being aware of the legal consequences for doing so. Further, the lack of IP rights may be very damaging to a SME's ability to offer low-cost and especially differentiated products or services to its customers. The present IP Toolkit is intended to make you better understand the implications of IP to your business activities.