Canada needs a national overhaul of university IP policies

Bart De Baere, Elicia Maine , University Affairs, Sept 19, 2017
Commentary by Stephen Downes

According to the authors, young scientists and innovators have difficulty obtaining funding. This could be addressed by revising institutional intellectual [property (IP) rules to that they have full ownership of anything they create, even if they're working at a university (or government research lab?), which would attract investors and given them incentive to commercialize their innovations. In such a scenario, university technology transfer offices (TTO) could act like venture capitalists, providing the marketing and business development researchers often lack, in exchange for a stake in the innovation.An example of this is the University of Waterloo’s IP rights policy. Sitting where I sit, I see both sides of the argument. It would be nice to see government investments flow toward innovators, rather than to major corporations, as is currently the case. On the other hand, why should government investments end up in the hands of private enterprise at all? 

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