494. Canada would like to thank Switzerland for drafting the communication for this item as well as other Members that are sharing their views and information on this topic today. Canada sees clear connections between the development and protection of IPRs by MSMEs and the ability to secure investment and financing, enhance their growth, facilitate additional innovation, and expand further into domestic and international markets. Canada has also identified some opportunities to facilitate the capacity of businesses in this area, particularly MSMEs, and will present on several related initiatives today.
495. As noted at a past meeting of the TRIPS Council, as part of its IP Awareness and Education program, the Canadian Intellectual Property Office has launched an online IP Academy, featuring a suite of information materials and interactive learning resources for businesses and entrepreneurs. The IP Academy includes a recently-developed "massive open online course" developed by the Canada-based Centre for International Governance Innovation on "Foundations of IP Strategy" that offers particular value for MSMEs. The IP Academy also includes an online self-assessment IP strategy tool for MSMEs which generates a tailored guide with information on what to consider when developing their IP strategies.
496. One of many areas covered by this resource is IP-based financing, an area of growing importance and potential for innovative companies. As noted in the tool, IP-based financing strategies include IP-backed loans, IP royalty securitization, which involves the pooling and selling of future IP-related income streams in exchange for immediate financing, and IP sale and license-back arrangements which can involve the sale of IP assets in exchange for immediate financing, while retaining the option of using the IP assets through a license-back arrangement and potential option of to buy back the ownership of the IP assets at a fixed price at the end of the license period. The IP Academy materials are available online should any other Member wish to consult them, share with their own stakeholders, or have questions or feedback to share with Canada.
497. Additionally, in 2020 the Business Development Bank of Canada, that is to say a federal government corporation that supports Canadian businesses through financing advisory services and capital with focus on SMEs launched an IP-backed financing programme for businesses - the first of its kind in Canada to provide capital to high-potential companies in knowledge-based industries, particularly those who have monetized their IP portfolios through product commercialization or licensing arrangements, or both. If other Members with similar programmes – or with an interest in pursuing similar programmes – have an interest in further discussions with Canada on this programme, we would be pleased to follow up and arrange conversations involving our respective authorities in this area, in the spirit of continuing to leverage the TRIPS Council as a venue for collective policy exchange and learning.