2023-2028 Business Strategy
Priority 2

Priority 2: Foster innovation and competitiveness through leadership and education

On this page

Defining success

  • Canadians have an increased awareness and knowledge of IP and use it effectively.
  • There is an improved use of IP among underrepresented groups.
  • CIPO is a leader in the Canadian and international IP ecosystem.

What we will do

Increase IP awareness, knowledge and the effective use of IP by Canadians

  • Support the National IP Strategy key initiatives through the sharing of information and best practices.
  • Employ an evidence-based approach to target setting and refine delivery of awareness and education services.
  • Increase the availability and accessibility of digital awareness and education material for the effective use of IP along a lifecycle approach.
  • Work with domestic and international partners to understand diversity and inclusion in the society we serve.
  • Develop a range of targeted educational resources and tools to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), as well as women, Indigenous and Black entrepreneurs.
  • Engage with key partners within the IP ecosystem and grow the IP Village to extend the reach of the awareness and education services.

Provide leadership to improve the IP system in Canada and globally

  • Actively engage with domestic stakeholders and government counterparts to promote IP.
  • Support the advancement of Canada's international trade and investment priorities.
  • Collaborate with international partners to share best practices, represent Canada's interests and advance harmonization of the global IP system.
  • Continue to provide technical assistance to IP offices in economically developing countries.
  • Establish an IP data and research agenda to support business decision-making, policy development and follow-on innovation.
  • Produce IP analytics to inform innovation in key sectors, markets and technologies.
  • Publish an annual economic research plan.
  • Increase online access to IP data, documents and information holdings.

Canada's IP system functions well, supporting innovation and creativity and making the knowledge protected by IP rights publicly available for others to learn from and build upon. Beyond the administration of IP rights and the dissemination of the information they generate, CIPO plays a critical role in driving innovation in Canada by advancing IP harmonization, supporting the negotiation and implementation of trade agreements and delivering IP education and information to clients and stakeholders. By providing essential IP information, resources and tools, CIPO is making it easier for Canadian entrepreneurs and innovators to grow and expand their business. CIPO also advances Canada's IP interests both domestically and internationally and will remain attentive to the trends that will shape the future of our IP system.

Increase IP awareness, knowledge and the effective use of IP by Canadians

Increasing awareness of IP can support business growth and create opportunities to leverage IP rights to obtain financing or expand into new markets. It is important that businesses understand the benefits of IP throughout the lifecycle of innovation and how IP is an integral part of their business strategy. CIPO contributes to raising IP awareness in Canada and supporting the development and commercialization of IP, through a range of initiatives that help innovators make informed decisions on seeking and using IP. We will pursue an evidence-based approach to refine our suite of service offerings, tailoring them to address the targeted needs of specific client groups (including underrepresented communities) and empower businesses to make more informed decisions about their IP. Analysis from the 2019 IP Awareness and Use Survey has highlighted specific technology fields and IP-intensive industries where the knowledge gap is greatest, allowing us to maximize the impacts of our efforts.

Through its IP awareness and education services, CIPO works to better understand the varying needs of different audiences and client groups and tailor information and awareness products and services accordingly. Knowledge gaps are identified through interviews, focus groups, roundtables and surveys. Using a "lifecycle" approach to understand the information barriers that innovators and businesses experience, we are able to chart their IP journey, from basic research and discovery to seeking IP, interacting with the office and using IP in the marketplace. Each point along this continuum has different IP information needs for different types of potential beneficiaries of the IP system. Further, CIPO tracks the effectiveness of its educational efforts to understand their reach and impact, measure their performance and inform future service improvement.

Given its unique position within the IP ecosystem, CIPO has developed an extensive network of partners that share an interest in developing the knowledge and effective use of IP by Canadians. CIPO will continue to tap into this network to learn from best practices and leverage existing resources, tools and channels to extend the reach of its awareness activities. CIPO will equip intermediaries such as other agencies, universities and business associations who regularly interface with potential IP applicants with the tools to help make informed decisions on seeking IP, effectively interact with CIPO and benefit from their innovations. CIPO will also deepen its partnerships within the IP ecosystem to better inform and support SMEs and underrepresented groups through the "IP Village" as a common place for SMEs to understand and act on IP matters.

Figure 3: CIPO's network of partners
CIPO's partners include businesses, innovators, creators, exporters, brand owners, designers, start-ups and the public in research infrastructure and government as well as IP professionals, IP offices and the IP marketplace.
Figure 3 – text version

Businesses, Innovators, Creators, Exporters, Brand owners, Designers, Start-ups, Public

Research infrastructure

  • Academia
  • Researchers
  • Institutes
  • Endowments
  • Technology transfer offices
  • Incubators
  • Accelerators
  • Think tanks

Government agencies

  • Innovation
  • Standards
  • Enforcement
  • Competition
  • Border
  • Trade

IP professionals

  • IP law firms
  • In-house practice
  • IP agents
  • IP associations

IP offices

  • IP offices
  • WIPO
  • Treaties
  • Regional systems

IP marketplace

  • IP traders
  • Licensers
  • Enforcement
  • Courts
  • IP collectives
  • Investors, venture capital
  • Manufacturers
  • Global value chains
  • Platforms


  • Consumers
  • Third parties
  • Follow-on innovators

The COVID-19 pandemic significantly altered the delivery of CIPO's IP awareness and education services. Many of our existing services that were traditionally offered in person pivoted to online. E-enablement of our service delivery not only allowed service to continue but also was a cost-effective way of expanding our reach and increasing accessibility and self-service. CIPO will adopt a digital-first approach to any new service development and increase the online availability of existing service offerings as it transitions its program delivery to principally electronic means.

Provide leadership to improve the IP system in Canada and globally

Over the past 20 years, IP has played a prominent role in the Canadian economy, bringing IP to the forefront of policy. In 2018, Canada unveiled its first National IP Strategy to help innovators secure and leverage their IP, recognizing the importance of an effective IP system. CIPO is inherently central to this ecosystem through examination and registration of IP rights and delivery of its IP awareness and education program. We will continue to play a key role in the modernization of the IP framework in Canada, providing expert support to the government in developing and implementing IP policies and negotiating and implementing trade agreements.

CIPO's accession to 5 international treaties has created a more level playing field for Canadian innovators and businesses to grow on a global scale. Canada has also benefited from an increase in international applications for IP protection as a result of these harmonization efforts. Moving forward, harmonization will focus not only on the alignment of our legal IP frameworks but also on the harmonization of tools and processes. Together with other IP offices, CIPO will benefit from an exchange of best practices that leads to decreased costs, increased efficiency and quality and an improved experience for clients.

Innovation is global, likewise, IP is global. To ensure that Canadian businesses can grow and succeed beyond its borders, Canada must support improvements to the functioning of the global IP system. CIPO's active international agenda will focus on working through international fora to represent Canada's interests abroad, exchanging best practices, providing technical assistance and advancing harmonization of the global IP system. CIPO has signed memoranda of understanding with key IP offices around the world and is an active participant at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) as well as many multilateral working groups that explore topics including work sharing, IT tools and harmonization of the IP regime. CIPO aligns its international engagement strategy with the Government of Canada priorities to help strengthen the global IP regime, facilitate international expansion for Canadian businesses and improve service delivery.

IP data is increasingly becoming an integral part of innovation, in the diffusion of knowledge, the application of new technologies (i.e. AI, blockchain) and the optimization of operational performance.

As a key agency in the innovation ecosystem, CIPO collects and shares IP data and information and supports decision-making on matters of IP through our research and expertise. Our vision is to establish CIPO as a data-driven organization, one that is at the forefront of how it uses and shares data to support business decision-making, policy negotiations and follow-on innovation. CIPO will ensure open access to our data and research to support the dissemination of IP knowledge to Canadian innovators and the users of the Canadian IP system while at the same time paying close attention to important issues around privacy and security of data.

Canada's IP framework must respond to its specific socio-economic and innovation context. In-house research, combined with collaborative enquiry into IP issues with Canadian and international research and policy communities will better inform policy decisions that support innovation and economic success. These lines of enquiry will be aligned with the Government's focus on innovation-intensive industries that will boost Canada's global competitiveness. A strong evidence base comprised of timely and accurate IP analysis will also assist innovators in making decisions that affect the strategic direction of their business.

Helping IP offices build capacity and governance practices

For 25 years, CIPO has collaborated with WIPO to host an annual executive workshop for countries looking to further establish their national IP offices. Since 1997, CIPO has welcomed over 200 senior officials from more than 100 countries, providing them with technical assistance to help build their capacity and governance practices.

Figure 4: Participating countries in CIPO's executive workshops
Figure 4 – text version

Map showing the 110 countries (approximately 60% of all countries in the world) that have participated in CIPO's annual executive workshops.

CIPO's IP Research Agenda

As CIPO becomes a more data-driven organization, research and data analysis are fundamental to understanding the factors that impact IP and inform decision-making. For example, research on innovation-intensive technologies is helping to better understand the IP landscape and Canada's position within these important technology fields.

Our gender-based analysis in international patenting is an important research priority. CIPO is working with partners to refine its methodology and leverage newly available data on gender participation from national surveys. CIPO will also continue to apply a Gender-based Analysis Plus (GBA Plus) lens to all aspects of its service offerings and partnerships to ensure underrepresented groups are well supported when it comes to their IP education and awareness needs.

We will also strengthen our involvement in key research committees and collaborate with domestic and international partners to gain insight into current innovation trends, research activities and data-sharing initiatives. CIPO actively engages in discussions with IP offices worldwide through its involvement in the WIPO Economist Network, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development IP Statistics Taskforce and other fora in a joint effort to advance IP research. CIPO will also continue to host its annual IP Data & Research Conference that brings together key players in the area of IP research from across Canada to discuss IP issues and trends.

IP Village

IP is a crucial business tool at all stages of a company's development. The IP and innovation ecosystem is extensive and evolving, and CIPO represents one piece of the puzzle. To help Canadian SMEs better understand how to use IP more effectively, key organizations in the Canadian IP ecosystem have come together to create the IP Village. This initiative enhances partnerships where leadership practices, practical intelligence, best practices, questions and answers are shared.

Successful entrepreneurs need to know how to write a business plan, access capital and tap into industry expertise in order to innovate, identify market opportunities and create an effective market entry strategy. They also need to know how to protect and leverage their IP.

The IP Village will leverage its network of trade commissioners, industrial technology advisors, international business advisors, IP agents and lawyers, IP educators, program officers and investors to help the SME community by:

  • coordinating and tapping into their areas of expertise to identify and bridge gaps in the effective use of IP among Canadians and support available for IP-rich SMEs
  • developing, presenting and promoting IP education and information
  • limiting duplication of effort
  • strengthening the ability of all parties to guide Canadian enterprises and connect them with IP information and expertise