The first round table organized by the International Law Research Program (ILRP) of the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) in collaboration with the Ontario Ministry of Research, Innovation and Science aimed to consider the close connection between intellectual property (IP) rights and innovation, and how more strategic use and support of IP rights might contribute to an innovation agenda.

Four key problems pertaining to IP’s crucial role in supporting innovation were discussed:

  • weak IP literacy among Canadians;

  • lack of access to affordable legal services to take products from the early stages of development to full-scale commercialization;

  • weak collaboration between universities and businesses on leveraging of university-generated IP; and

  • absence of a national IP strategy and coordinated governmental action.

  • Oonagh E. Fitzgerald was director of international law at CIGI from April 2014 to February 2020. In this role, she established and oversaw CIGI’s international law research agenda, which included policy-relevant research on issues of international economic law, environmental law, IP law and innovation, and Indigenous law.

  • Bassem Awad is a senior fellow and was previously the deputy director of International Intellectual Property Law and Innovation at CIGI.