IRAP IP Assist – Considering the Proposal
Previously, we’ve written about the National Research Council of Canada’s Industrial Research Assistance Program (“IRAP”) which offers grants as part of its IP Assist initiatives (see: “Strategizing and Funding Your Innovation, Parts I and Parts II). In those articles we summarized the importance of developing a strategy for the purposes of commercializing a business’ intellectual property, as well as an overview of the IRAP assist program which serves to assist in the financing such efforts.
In this article, we consider factors relevant to preparing and submitting a proposal to an IRAP advisor.
Where Funding is Available and for What Purposes
The IRAP IP Assist program provides small-to-medium sized businesses with assistance to innovate and commercialize assets connected to intellectual property. The program is designed for application across three phases of a business’ innovation and commercialization efforts: the “learn” phase, the “plan” phase, and the “act” phase.  Funding is available for phases 2 and 3, subject to the submission and approval of a proposal.
Phase 1 – LEARN
Phase 1 of the program targets SMEs looking to better understand tools existing in the intellectual property space. Principally, government agencies such as the Canadian Intellectual Property Office are leveraged to provide this educational support on a cost-free basis, enabling businesses to gain more sophisticated knowledge in the IP space.
Phase 2 – PLAN
Phase 2 enables SMEs to obtain funding for the purpose of accessing service providers with expertise in matters concerning intellectual property (such as IP lawyers). Unlike the “learn” phase which concerns the acquisition of general knowledge, the plan phase is focused on intellectual property strategy and advice pertaining to a company’s best practices. An example of such strategic advice includes:
- An overview of a business’ intellectual property assets;
- The identification of deficiencies in a business’ efforts to protect such assets;
- The assessment of a competitive landscape;
- Recommendations for future IP-related endeavors.
Phase 3 – ACT
Phase 3 concerns the treatment of targeted issues and/or recommendations identified in the work undertaken in the “PLAN” phase by professionals carrying subject matter expertise, such as IP lawyers. Examples of work that may be undertaken in Phase 3 include:
- The preparation of an IP audit;
- A detailed assessment of a business’ IP assets for the determination of ownership;
- Developing an approach to international licensing;
- Strategizing an approach to licensing and the consideration of terms such as exclusivity, territoriality, and the form of rights extended to third parties (such as the right to sub-license, modify, or improve a licensed work).
Preparing a Proposal
To obtain funding for phases 2 and/or 3, a proposal must be submitted to an IP advisor. A proposal would outline a scope of work related to a business’ commercialization and innovation efforts consistent with the themes outlined above, as well as a statement concerning the fees related to such work.
We have assisted a number of clients with such proposals as we are qualified to provide assistance related to the phases identified above. If your business is interested in pursuing IP Assist funding and would like to know whether you could benefit from our services, don’t hesitate to reach out – we would be happy to help.
If you have any questions about this article or wish to learn more, please contact Massimo Orsini or Allan Oziel. Oziel Law communications and legal articles are intended for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice or an opinion on any issue. To obtain additional details or advice about a specific matter, please contact our lawyers.
 See: Canadian Intellectual Property Office, YouTube: “IP Talks Session 3: Intellectual Property Funding and Support Programs”, online: < https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=is0THm3M28Y>, published March 31st, 2022.