2020-2021 Annual Report
Building IP awareness and education

CIPO's IP awareness and education program is a key component of Canada's National IP Strategy that aims to help Canadian businesses, entrepreneurs and innovators better understand IP and its importance in growing their business.

IP awareness and education aims to raise awareness, knowledge and effective use of IP by Canadians. In 2020−2021, CIPO's focus was to increase educational content on the strategic use of IP and how to leverage global IP portfolios. To support businesses in the context of COVID-19, CIPO pivoted its program to a digital approach.

Expanding our IP offerings

In 2020−2021, CIPO expanded its digital offerings to better assist businesses, innovators and underrepresented groups in unlocking the value of their IP by using it strategically when growing to scale, and to address some of the COVID-19 related challenges businesses were facing.

In collaboration with CIPO's network of partners and IP advisors, a new "Manage your IP" section was added to the CIPO website containing information on topics such as IP strategy, commercialization, enforcement and doing business abroad. These pages provide step-by-step instructions, tools and related links on how to build an IP strategy, capture and retain new IP, define ownership, maintain an IP inventory, manage IP rights abroad and enforce IP rights. Further, CIPO added new tools to its IP Toolbox, including a Doing business abroad guide for Brazil, and a one-pager on the roles of our Client Service Centre information officers and IP advisors.

To better assess the impact of the IP awareness and education program, web surveys were integrated into our online IP products and digital services, allowing us to measure client satisfaction and gather feedback and insights to improve the services offered on our website.

Having pivoted CIPO's IP awareness and education program to digital approaches created an opportunity to expand our reach. In 2020−2021, CIPO held more than 150 webinars and events that were attended by more than 4,000 participants. Topics included IP foundations, IP strategy and the protection of IP in other countries. The theme of World IP Day 2020, celebrated on April 27, was "Innovate for a greener, healthier future". To mark the occasion, CIPO recorded a webinar on clean technologies and IP, highlighting CIPO's specialized IP education resources for clean technology businesses. CIPO's educational video series will continue to grow as more resources are developed.

Strengthening established networks and partnership

In 2020−2021, CIPO prioritized growing partnerships in targeted innovation-focused networks and communities. MOUs were renewed with long-standing collaborators, such as the Business Development Bank of Canada and the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program, and new collaborations were formalized with the Forum for International Trade Training and Mitacs.

CIPO continued to train staff in partner organizations to help serve innovators looking to leverage their IP portfolios. More than a dozen training sessions were held with organizations such as Global Affairs Canada (Trade Commissioner Service, CanExport and Canadian Technology Accelerator), Innovation, Science and Economic Development (Clean Growth Hub), Natural Resources Canada and the Canada Revenue Agency. Through this network of government services, more than 440 intermediaries were trained on the importance of IP for businesses.

From coast to coast to coast, CIPO's IP advisors met virtually with more than 1,100 entrepreneurs and innovators, answering their IP questions and providing tailored IP resources. CIPO presented at more than 100 events with regional networks and organizations, including Innovacorp in Nova Scotia, Invest Ottawa, Communitech in Kitchener-Waterloo and Women Entrepreneurs of Saskatchewan. CIPO also participated in several COVID-19 related events, including a CanCOVID panel discussion where we provided information on IP disclosure and the importance of safeguarding inventions.

In collaboration with the Women's Enterprise Organizations of Canada, CIPO presented to more than 160 women entrepreneurs on the importance of IP, available IP tools and the use of IP in protecting Indigenous knowledge and cultural expressions. CIPO also participated in Startup Canada's International Women's Day activities, including panel and one-on-one discussions with women entrepreneurs.

As more Canadian businesses seek to enter international markets, CIPO was invited to present at a number of events on protecting your IP abroad, including Startup Canada's Canadian Export Challenge and Smart Energy Event. In collaboration with organizations such as the International Development Research Centre and Le Bureau des petites et moyennes entreprises, CIPO provided numerous training sessions, reaching over 200 small and medium-sized enterprises.