Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology (INDU)

The committee met once this week to resume its study on the intellectual property regime in Canada.

On 6 November, the committee heard testimony from the following witnesses: Nobina Robinson, Chief Executive Officer, and Ken Doyle, Director of Policy, from Polytechnics Canada;  Emechete Onuoha, Vice-President, Citizenship & Government Affairs, and Patricia Hawkins, Business Manager, Research Agreements & Innovation Services, from Xerox Canada;  Tom Brzustowski, retired Professor, Telfer School of Management, Ottawa University; and Robert J. Currie, Associate Professor, Schulich School of Law, Law & Technology Institute, Dalhousie University. Nobina Robinson voiced concern over the lack of a coherent, collaborative and responsive innovation within the market ecosystem. She argued that clear definition of the roles of universities and colleges is needed along with reallocation of funds by the government to industrial applied research to increase market competitiveness. To solve the imbalance between discovery research and commercialization support, Ken Doyle suggested investing in programs which solves industry identified problems (e.g the innovation program administered by NSERC) and introducing a national form of voucher program for late stage commercialization support. Mr Onuoha further commented on how strategic investment and applied research in commercialization are critical for the success of innovation. Information communication technology companies like Xerox drive nearly 35% of all private sectors research and development spending annually in Canada and thus can extend the impact of established value added R&D investment. Mr. Brzustowski emphasized the importance of having a strong first patent for market exclusivity; this is a useful protection tool especially where patent disputes and litigations are involved. Robert J. Currie elaborated on how the unofficial use of official marks have been used by public authorities for revenues at the expanse of tax payers; he suggested reforming the trademark act (section 9, subsection 1, paragraph N, subparagraph 3) to limit the authority scope of official marks.

The meeting this week was short as one of the committee members, Mme LeBlanc, moved that a study of the criteria, including national security, defining the “net benefit to Canada” that apply to the review of foreign acquisitions of natural resources by foreign state-owned enterprises be undertaken by the committee. The committee then proceeded to sit in-camera to deal with the motion. To see if the motion passed, see the Minutes.