Minutes - TRIPS Council - View details of the intervention/statement

H.E. Ambassador Dr. Lansana GBERIE

273.   Canada is pleased to take part in today's thematic discussion on "IP licensing opportunities", under the agenda item of "IP and innovation". Canada would like to thank the United States of America for drafting the discussion paper for this topic under document IP/C/W/691, as well as the co-sponsors for their valuable insights today regarding national experiences on the topic of IP licensing. Canada would be also pleased to take this opportunity to share some initial reflections and national experiences on this topic. 274.   As the discussion paper for this topic sets out, and as some delegations have already noted today, if a creator or innovator has an idea that is commercially viable and possesses the IP rights necessary to enter the market, a key consideration is to decide how to do so. Of course, one option is to sell IP-protected goods or services directly to customers, or indirectly by way of an online platform. Similarly, an innovator or creator may decide to develop an export strategy and to sell their goods or services to other markets, in order to reach an even broader and global consumer base. However, for those creators and innovators that do not have the resources to manufacture and sell their IP-protected goods and services directly, such as small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), IP licensing can serve as an important strategy for those seeking to commercialize their ideas and bring them to market. IP licensing can also be an important tool for businesses that may need to license goods or services as inputs into production along a value chain. Licensing can also be useful for those SMEs seeking to enter a foreign market, where it may be easier to operate with a local licensee. 275.   Ensuring that IP rights holders, including SMEs, have the appropriate educational tools and resources at their disposal is important in helping them decide which forms of licensing may be best suited to their particular IP strategy. As noted in previous meetings of the TRIPS Council, the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) recently launched an online IP academy, which features a suite of informational materials and interactive learning resources for businesses and entrepreneurs. Notably, for the purposes of today's discussion, the IP Academy includes a recently- developed "Massive Open Online Course" on the "Foundations of IP Strategy", as developed with the Canada-based Centre for International Governance Innovation, which offers a learning module on the topic of IP licensing. This learning module, which is available for free online at the website cigimooc.org, provides an overview of IP licensing agreements, including basic principles to consider when entering into a licensing agreement, IP licensing agreements as they related to specific types of IP, overviews of innovative licensing approaches like creative commons and opensource licensing, and general considerations for enforcing IP licenses. 276.   In addition, CIPO also maintains an online web resource on IP licensing, which provides an overview of licensing types, including exclusive and non-exclusive licenses, as well as sole licenses. This resource also provides important considerations for both licensors and licensees, such as on common forms of licensing payment, as well as on topics like sub-licensing and franchising. While today's thematic discussion may not permit time to go into detail on each of these interesting topics, we would encourage interested delegations to visit CIPO's dedicated web page on this topic online, by searching for the title "Ways to take your idea to the market" and CIPO. 277.   Finally, Canada would like to briefly draw attention to the ways in which governments can encourage and facilitate the licensing of IP, including by way of resources to help increase awareness of available IP among prospective licensees. For instance, in August 2019 as part of Canada's national IP Strategy, the Department of Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED) launched ExploreIP, an IP marketplace tool for tool to help businesses, creators, entrepreneurs and innovators discover IP held by public sector institution. Through ExploreIP, users can easily contact IP holders to discuss and negotiate a licensing arrangement. Users can also use the database to locate and contact research organizations with technology relevant to a specific industry for potential collaborations. 278.   In addition, Canada also maintains a dedicated web page on "Commercialization and licensing opportunities" in respect of technologies developed by ISED, the National Research Council, Agriculture and Agri-food Canada, and Defense Research and Development Canada. For instance, Agriculture and Agri-food Canada maintains online resources related to licensing opportunities for crops, environmental technologies, bioproducts and bioprocess technologies that are available for commercialization. Similarly, with respect to technology in emerging sectors like green technology, CIPO maintains a database of green technology patents, which provides details on patents granted in this area. Online marketplaces and related resources can serve as useful tools for prospective licensees, helping collaborators identify the range of available opportunities for licensing, as well as providing innovators and creators with a platform to reach a broader base of potential collaborators. 279.   Canada would again like to thank the co-sponsors of this informative topic, and other Members for sharing their valuable insights and national experiences on IP licensing as part of today's thematic discussion. Canada would be pleased to share any of the above-noted resources with other delegations upon request and looks forward to informally exchanging further insights with other Members on this topic going forward.

The Council took note of the statements made.
60. The Chair recalled that this item had been put on the agenda at the request of Australia; Canada; the European Union; Hong Kong, China; Japan; Singapore; Switzerland; Chinese Taipei; the United Kingdom; and the United States. A communication with the same title had been circulated (document ).
61. The representatives of the United States; Australia; Uruguay; Singapore; Chinese Taipei; Japan; the United Kingdom; the European Union; Switzerland; Canada; Hong Kong, China; China; Chile; and World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) took the floor.
62. The Council took note of the statements made.
IP/C/M/105, IP/C/M/105/Add.1, IP/C/M/105/Corr.1