Evidence of meeting #32 for Industry, Science and Technology in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was patents.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

  • Gay Yuyitung  Business Development Manager, McMaster Industry Liaison Office, McMaster University
  • Scott Inwood  Director, Commercialization, University of Waterloo
  • David Barnard  President and Vice-Chancellor, University of Manitoba
  • Digvir Jayas  Vice-President, Research and International, University of Manitoba
  • Catherine Beaudry  Associate Professor, Department of Mathematical and Industrial Engineering, École Polytechnique de Montréal , As an Individual

9:55 a.m.

Business Development Manager, McMaster Industry Liaison Office, McMaster University

Gay Yuyitung

I guess I should clarify. When we file a provisional patent application in the U.S., we're not saying we aren't going to file in Canada. It's just sort of a process mechanism to file in the U.S. first. It gives us 12 months to file a PCT. And then 18 months after that, we are able to say in which countries we will actually keep the patent alive. It's in that 18-month period, when you say that you're going to file in the U.S. only, or in the U.S. and Canada, or in the U.S. and Canada and Europe, that you choose whether it's going to stay in Canada.

Right now, we do file in Canada. I think some universities don't file in Canada. Part of the evaluation is that Canada is a much smaller market than the U.S. or other places. The other part, as Scott said, is that a lot of Canadian companies aren't here. The patent allows you to sort of prevent others from making, using, or selling. If companies aren't going to be making it or using it here, and you are selling it to the United States as a major market, it might not be of value to actually file a patent here and pay those patent costs here.

10 a.m.

Conservative

John Carmichael Don Valley West, ON

To do that, you would do those registrations concurrently rather than simultaneously. Is that correct?

10 a.m.

Director, Commercialization, University of Waterloo

Scott Inwood

The U.S. filing is basically just a place holder.

10 a.m.

Conservative

John Carmichael Don Valley West, ON

You mentioned that, yes.

10 a.m.

Director, Commercialization, University of Waterloo

Scott Inwood

It's a place holder. Even Canadian corporations would likely file in the U.S. first, because for Canadian corporations the biggest market in the world is the U.S. So there would be a filing in the U.S. for a variety of technical reasons. If the filing starts there, there are certain aspects of U.S. patent law, for instance, that favour filings that are in the U.S. first. It's a major market.

This doesn't preclude our filing in Canada at the appropriate time—or anywhere in the world, for that matter.

10 a.m.

Conservative

John Carmichael Don Valley West, ON

So it's a function of scale, not just of cost?

10 a.m.

Director, Commercialization, University of Waterloo

Scott Inwood

Yes. There are some patent-related laws and precedents that drive people to file in the U.S. first, but it in no way precludes our filing in Canada at the appropriate juncture in the future. It's just a place holder.

10 a.m.

Conservative

John Carmichael Don Valley West, ON

Earlier this month we heard from a witness that Canada is the place of second filings. My concern is that if we truly believe in keeping creativity and innovation here, at least from the outset, are we missing the boat on this? Are we missing the opportunity?

10 a.m.

Director, Commercialization, University of Waterloo

Scott Inwood

I don't think so, because even Canadian corporations, if they had to file one patent, would probably pick the U.S., because it's a big market. But they're operating out of Canada, so it's still a benefit to Canadian corporations.

10 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair David Sweet

Okay.

Madam Yuyitung, did you have more to offer on the last question that you hadn't completed?

10 a.m.

Business Development Manager, McMaster Industry Liaison Office, McMaster University

Gay Yuyitung

No, that was it.

10 a.m.

Associate Professor, Department of Mathematical and Industrial Engineering, École Polytechnique de Montréal , As an Individual

Dr. Catherine Beaudry

Just very quickly, we surveyed a number of firms in nanotechnology, and what they have told us is that they strategically patent in the markets where they want to expand. They might patent a compound in a number of countries, but not in other countries. They can't afford to patent in every single jurisdiction, so they strategically post their patents throughout the world.

10 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair David Sweet

That pretty well does it, Mr. Carmichael.

Now we go on to Mr. Harris for five minutes.

May 17th, 2012 / 10 a.m.

NDP

Dan Harris Scarborough Southwest, ON

I think getting that first foot in the door is really the critical thing with the patents. I think that has been illustrated by everyone.

I apologize quickly to the witnesses, but I have some committee housekeeping to attend to now.

I noticed that in today's agenda we didn't have the notice of motion that I had submitted, so I would like to introduce the motion now. It is that the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology immediately call representatives from MDA and Industry Canada to appear before this committee on Tuesday, May 29, 2012, to update the committee on the status of the RADARSAT constellation program.

I have a copy of the motion in both languages as well. I would not want us to kick out the witnesses, but perhaps we can attend to this at the end of the meeting.

10 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair David Sweet

I think you'll find agreement on that—I would hope.

All right, then we'll attend to that in the last 15 minutes.