9. How can researchers be best positioned to engage in innovative activities?
Researchers, including student researchers, need to understand IP.
Given the importance of IP, a starting point is to ensure that all researchers understand what IP is and how it can be leveraged for commercial and/or social benefit.
In other words, IP education needs to pervade the entire education system so that IP awareness extends into every discipline within the post-secondary setting. This also means that the focus has to move beyond patents to encompass all forms of IP.
It is equally important for industrial designers to understand how industrial design protection might give them a competitive advantage in a global marketplace as it is for engineers to understand how to use expired patents for intelligence-gathering purposes.
Researchers also need to understand what rights they have in relation to their research under their institutional IP policies.
In addition, they need to know what types of IP rights are possible in terms of patents, trade secrets, copyright, open source etc. and how these possible rights align with their desired goals to protect or leverage their research.
Researchers also need to understand whether any of their rights have been relinquished under private sponsorship or other funding agreements.
Finally, researchers and budding entrepreneurs need to recognize which commercialization entity is actually mandated to represent their IP interests and the extent of those mandates.
They also need to understand when it is best for them to seek independent advice.