ElevateIP aims to aid SMEs with IP

ElevateIP aims to aid SMEs with IP

Serena Nath is an IPilogue Writer and a 2L JD candidate at Osgoode Hall Law School.

In 2018, the Government of Canada introduced an Intellectual Property (IP) Strategy to aid “Canadian businesses, creators, entrepreneurs and innovators” to “understand, protect and access IP”. The hope is to achieve this via IP awareness, education and advice, strategic IP tools for growth, and IP legislation.


To further its IP strategy, the Government of Canada announced its intention in their 2022 budget to launch ElevateIP. This program consisted of the federal government pledging $90 million over 4 years starting in 2022-2023 to provide Canadian SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) with the tools needed to understand, manage, and leverage their IP and with access to professional IP services. Specifically, ElevateIP funding can support three different categories of activities including, and limited to, IP awareness, developing IP strategies, and implementing IP strategies. To be eligible for ElevateIP funding, applicants undertook a competitive application process where they were evaluated on their proposal’s capacity to achieve results and alignment with all three of ElevateIP’s program objectives. On December 19, 2022, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Tourism, on behalf of the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, announced the recipients of the ElevateIP funding.

Importance of ElevateIP

Many studies have shown how valuable intangible assets, including IP, are for a company. Along with more well-known advantages, such as the protection of creator ideas and brand reputation, intangible assets also have less-known benefits for companies. A Business Valuation Resources study illustrated that having more intangible assets, such as IP, correlates with higher business valuations. Another EUIPO study showed that companies with patents tend to grow more than companies without patents. However, studies have also shown that many Canadian start-ups are not capitalizing on their company’s potential due to a lack of IP. This is reflected in a study by the World Intellectual Property Organization that showed that in 2019, Canada was ranked 14th in the world by the number of IP rights filed. Additionally, a survey by the Canadian Intellectual Property Office from 2019 showed that only two percent of small and medium Canadian enterprises owned a patent. Thus, the overall goal of ElevateIP is to help Canadian SMEs overcome their lack of IP.

While some Intellectual Property experts hope that this program will increase the commercialization of IP for Canadian companies, others, including the president and chair of the Intellectual Property Institute of Canada, believe that ElevateIP’s goal of helping companies create an IP strategy will not necessarily result in more IP filings. This is mainly due to the federal government’s focus on educating companies about IP rights and not enough incentivization for companies to acquire IP rights. Perhaps ElevateIP is an important first, but not final, step in the federal government’s plan to increase IP among Canadian companies.