IP Insights: Consumer products

IP Insights: Consumer products

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♫♫ Welcome to the second of our four discussion panels, where experts from various industries will share their expertise to inventors and entrepreneurs considering turning their idea into a business. IP is a crucial business tool at all stages of a company's development. To help Canadian small and medium sized enterprises better understand how to use IP more effectively, leading organizations in Canada have come together to create the IP village.

This is the result of collaboration between the business Development Bank of Canada, the Canadian IP Office, Export Development Canada, Global Affairs Canada's Trade Commissioner service, the IP Institute of Canada and the National Research Council of Canada's Industrial Research Assistance Program and, of course, Innovation Science and Economic Development (ISED). I'd also like to give an extended welcome on the behalf of IP village to Health Canada and the Standards Council of Canada. As well as the Office of the Privacy Commissioner, who participated in our last panel. So, the purpose of today's panel is to share insights from the consumer products field by featuring a real story with the real company, their innovation and their IP journey, along with their IP professional, who has worked with them and also show you how they have used this IP to finance further growth. We're also fortunate to be joined by Standards Council and Health Canada, who will give us helpful information about what individuals need to do and know for how they can use and also respect various standards and regulations in their industries. So, the format of today's discussion is that I'm the moderator and I'll be asking questions to our excellent panel of experts today.

I'd like to start by welcome to Chris Aimone, sorry if I got your name wrong, from InteraXon-Muse. Chris co-founded InteraXon, which is a Canadian neurotechnology company which was founded in 2007 and specializes in research grade EEG headbands and related software application. The Muse is a smart headband and reads your brain signals and acts as your personal meditation coach. Chris's creative design and practice has fanned across many fields, including architecture, augmented reality, computer vision, music and robotics. He's built installations for the Ontario Science Center and contributed to major technology art projects featured around the world. We also have Maya Medeiros, who works at Norton Rose Fulbright as an IP lawyer, a Patent and Trademark agent.

She has a degree in mathematics and computer science and of course, extensive experience with different computer-related technologies such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, virtual and mixed reality and wearable devices. She advises on IP strategy, develops tailored IP programs, manages international IP portfolios, and drafts IP agreements, and Maya is a member of the IP Institute of Canada, which is part of the IP village. And our next panelist works at the Business Development Bank of Canada, also part of IP Village. It is Max Yam, who is an associate at BDC's Capital IP backed financing team.

He provides IP analysis and valuation support for all deals. And prior to joining BDC, Max was an IP analyst at Quantus, which is a commercial lender where he developed patent analysis and valuation framework for new loans. And as I mentioned, an important consideration for product developers is standards.

To this effect, we have Anneke Olvera, who will join us to represent Standards Council of Canada, where she is the director of programs and operations. Which is Standards Council of Canada is, for those who don't know, it is a Federal Crown corporation responsible for promoting standardization in Canada, and Anneke is spearheading four flagship programs over there. They're focusing on innovation and IP, AI and data governance, infrastructure and climate change, mental health and substance use, health. And finally, there are also regulations for certain products as we will learn and to this end, we have invited Cristina Micali, who is a senior regulatory policy and risk management advisor at Health Canada, and she will help us understand the role and importance of regulations. Cristina is a graduate from Carleton University in biology and biotechnology and she's been working at Health Canada in the Consumer Product Safety program for over 10 years, first as an inspector and more recently as a senior risk management advisor specializing in children's products and textiles.

And my name is Lisa Desjardins. I work at the Canadian IP office as the manager of the group developing IP Education content for our presentations, the CIPO website, our videos on the CIPO YouTube channel. I'm also the English host of our podcast called Canadian IP Voices. So, with this, I'm going to turn over to our panelists, and the first one I would like to welcome is Chris, and I was wondering if you could give us a summary of the Muse technology and how you've built the IP around this. So Muse, there's a neurotechnology and this is, this is an exemple, you have to get in front of my face to show this to you, so. Muse senses your brain waves. People know us more as Muse than InteraXon, just because the device we created is called Muse.

But it's actually a quite simple looking and feeling technology and what it's doing is making brain sensing. electrical brain sensing available to anyone, it's a low-cost device. We are in the consumer electronics space, and we really, we're trying to address this big problem that we have around mental health and the impact of the busy minds that we all have. This is something we're learning more and more about as a society and that is the impact of how we use our minds, our brains, and you know what happens when have an overactive mind and you know, you try to take that to bed and you can't sleep, or it's creating high levels of stress in your life and that's impacting your physical health in different ways. So, I think many will agree that mental health is most relevant concerns that I think the populations are faced with in this day trying to find solutions for that. Technological solutions is really what we’re focused on. So I'll just, you know, take us back to the very beginning because I think that's relevant from an IP perspective and that is that we many tech companies, we had our roots in the university academic space and that's, you know, where myself and my cofounders were introduced to this kind of technology in the brain sensing technology and what promises it may have in terms of measuring physiology and mental activity, we are mostly interested in its application as a cybernetic technology.

So, melding this with different kinds of computing technology, like virtual reality, augmented reality as a way of improving its function, you know for assistive technology. So that's where we started. But in the process of working with that, we really had some ideas about other ways that this could be brought to people as a technology in its own right.

Instead of being combined with these other supporting technologies and so we branched the work that we were doing outside of the university, certainly is an important consideration from an IP standpoint. If you, you know, like to build a commercial endeavor around something. I mean you can also bring IP out of the university, but it has its own challenges. So, we really partitioned the work that we did, sort of working outside the academic space to sort of pursue these ideas and some of our work in the beginning was, you know, really at this intersection of technology, engineering, science and art. So, in some ways, we would have considered ourselves at the time, this is now more than 10 years ago, we would have thought of ourselves as artists in a certain capacity.

And I think you know that is something which is, you know, maybe not the first thing you'll think about if you consider IP and technology building a business is art, but it's really incredible how the thinking that you bring into an artistic endeavor, the diversity in that thinking really spurred us to consider all the different ways that, you know, this technology could impact the human experience. So we really, it encouraged us to go very broad in our thinking and you know we had some pretty crazy ideas. So, the first patent we ever wrote was totally crazy patent. It was, it was. There was so much, you know, stuff in there that was, you know partially inspired by, you know, science and engineering, endeavor to solve a problem, but also inspired by an art practice. And so, it was a collage of, multiple invention collage,

that we still to this day go back to because some of the ideas that we had that came out of this artistic practice were so novel and innovative, and now we're showing there's real value in there. So I think, in the, in the beginning I don't think we really saw the value in approaching IP in that way. But now it continues to bear fruit for us, you know since you know from the very beginning, very early filing as time went on I think the way that we approached filing patents changed a lot, you know, became much more targeted and much more focused around you know the applications that we were building. But in the beginning, we didn't really know which direction we were heading in. We were heading in every direction at once. So that was, you know, that was the start of our own IP journey that I think is it's actually quite fun and relevant as we became more of a functioning business and we envisioned building a piece of hardware. So that was also never

kind of in our road map was to actually build a device we really thought we were going to be centered around, you know, machine learning software and different kinds of interactions that involve the brain information. But we found at the time that there was no appropriate device that would allow people to engage in this you know, in the broader population. So, we had to build our own and that took us down a another IP road around the creation of a physical technology and having to solve the problems around creating something that could be used easily for people and could be part of life in a comfortable way. And so we had very practical problems to solve, and I think the relevant piece there is that that journey of problem solving that you go through to try to make something that actually solves the problem as well as all the problems that you don't foresee when you first imagine it, you create something, you start testing it, that allows you to see around the next corner. You know each step of the way you're having to solve your problems, and I think that that journey is something that's quite relevant when you're considering filing IP patent, IP on something, you know, given that part of the protection comes from the breadth of what you described, problem solving journey is actually very relevant to document because you can, you can really in many ways create a much greater space of protection that that comes from all the different corners you explored in that process.

So we built a piece of technology and as we as we discovered what that technology wanted to be and that that comes from having an idea, taking it to market, and then exploring with your customers, you know, and trying to create value, it's been like a 10 year long journey for us, in that relationship, you know, between our own innovation in-house and also the needs of our customers and what we're learning from how we create wellness with the technology. You know, research is super active for us. We're continuing to learn. Certainly, dealing with the brain is an area where we can all acknowledge that do we really know what we're doing? Certainly, we're knowing more and more, but it's amazing what, what, how much we don't know. Certainly, as it relates to how we can create technology that help us, you know, almost reengineered and reprogram ourselves for greater well-being is a big mystery.

You think a relationship with the mystery in that, in that sort of spirit of discovery is, is an essential part of creating an IP-centric company. You know, you have to continue to foster that curiosity and that desire to solve problems that you didn't even know existed. That is, you know, still very much alive in the culture of the company, so there's There's, there's a part of our business which is really continues to be focused just on R&D and keeping that process thriving and alive and artistic has been, you know, really essential to creating broadness in our IP and, and just in being able to envision, you know, the future. So

for us, you know, I don't want to take up too much time here, I think where the future is, which is really interesting, is now that we have a successful product, you know it's in the homes of hundreds of thousands of people, the opportunity for us to learn in that those, in all of those relationships by creating new offerings and getting feedback from our customers and receiving data that people you know share with us has allowed us to explore and continue to explore many different dimensions and assistive technology for mental wellness. And so it's allowed us to create patent IP around this sort of, you know, broader system you know kind of application of the technology and there's a lot of cloud technology involved with that. There’s a lot of AI that's, that's, that's part of that, that ecosystem. But for us, you know, the, the feels from, from an IP perspective there the blossoming is continuing to happen, you know, as we get taken into more spaces and we have a larger platform and, and basis of, you know, human experience to help in that parallel innovation process, you know. So, it's become very from a single track to multiple tracks for us.

That's a, a bit about our own IP journey and I'll stop there as since I'm sure we'll have lots of discussion. Very interesting Chris. Thank you. It, it doesn't sound too atypical with someone with an idea looking at the technologies and then trying to streamline to think about what is the problem that we've solved and then focusing around the different products. I'm going to turn to Maya because I know that Maya has been helping you with the IP and she has a lot of expertise and experience from not just that, but from the other, many other companies. And I wanted to ask you, what would you say has contributed to the Muse's success that you would share with other SMEs? It is a joy to work with Chris and the InteraXon team as an IP lawyer, and I think I can say 4 sort of good takeaways for SMEs is : a culture, building a culture of IP and protecting the core technology assets, looking to commercialization opportunities as well as strategic enforcement.

And so on the culture of IP, I think Chris and his team are very engaged. So, there's the technical and business team very engaged in the IP process, so there's awareness of IP by, by all team members. There's buy in from company leaders. There's involvement in regular meetings because there's lots of moving parts with different types of IP assets. And this creates a solid IP foundation throughout the company that has been developed over time as a result of this engagement, it's not an overnight short-term goal. And that awareness of IP also permeates to the assets, the technology being able to spot them, milestones and it, it encourages and motivates invention disclosure and just management of intellectual property within the organization. And so, they do a tremendous job with that, leaders and...

..and I don't want to say favorites, but definitely Chris and his team is one of my favorite clients to work with. The other thing they do really well, and as Chris mentioned, is they protect their core technology assets. So, it's not necessarily a one stop shop, you layer different types of intellectual property rights, so patents, copyright, design, trademarks, trade secrets to obtain advantages and benefits of all different types of technologies. Or sorry, intellectual property rights as they relate to the and mapped to the technologies, and as Chris mentioned, they have a number of different types of assets. You know, code level assets, device assets, system assets, data assets, and so constantly layering those different types of tech, IP rights is very important.

Given the long life cycle of patents as well, as Chris mentioned, it’s important to pivot and adapt the strategy over time, not only for the patents but as your technology and business evolves as well so, constantly revisiting the strategy and not just keeping it static from one point in time to develop this, port, defensive portfolio and so the, the core is really to protect freedom to-operate and so, you want to, as Chris mentioned, they do, do a fantastic job at thinking about where they're going next and getting those, those concepts down or those practiced elements down is really important from record keeping standpoint, they consider geographic scope of IP protection as well, so not just, you know in Canada, but looking globally is so important and managing disclosures as well is very [inaudible] whether it’s through agreements or just selecting, being selective of what you're actually going to disclose. As I mentioned as well, they do a great job at is looking for commercialization opportunities for their IP. So, they leverage their IP assets to support their collaborations because the collaboration opportunities also often involve cross line sensing or joint development which may result in joint ownership or at least complementary IP assets and different types of players to collaborate with, whether it's research or different types of customers. And so they do a very good job of looking for those opportunities and then aligning their IP assets with those opportunities. Of course, the IP terms and their agreements align with their IP assets, [inaudible] provide as much clarity as possible. So again, they do a great job of pausing and saying what are each party bringing the table, what are we going to develop here, how are we going to use it afterwards? So having that big open collaborative discussion early on is important.

They also look at strategic enforcement and again it’s, the portfolio is more of a defensive IP portfolio. But of course, you could align invitations to license IP and the technology, or just the technology and the with or by itself with some IP thrown in, depending on the nature of the collaboration to avoid or mitigate disputes. With selective enforcement and settlement so you can turn a potential dispute or an enforcement, enforcement issue into a partnership as well.

And there’s ongoing monitoring and awareness by the team not only from a market landscape perspective, but also from a patent landscape perspective, because new market entrants might pivot, but you might be able to find their published patents to understand what tech, what companies are working on, so. As I mentioned, Chris and his team do a fantastic job at creating this culture of IP and protecting their assets and then leveraging them, so keep up the good work, Chris! Thank you, Maya. Very interesting to hear how that is a journey of the coming sort of 360, where whatever it is that you do, you need to think about IP. And as we know in today's knowledge world, up to 90% of a company's market share can actually be based on intellectual capital and to be able to consider that intellectual capital and how you can protect it as IP is becoming really, really important. And so having that savviness and those routines to look at it is becoming really, really important.

And this is where I want to turn to Max at BDC, because this is where investments happen and a company that has that savviness obviously has a good portfolio. But I wanted to ask you, what are the key areas that you are looking for when it comes to determining a value? We're a fund that's set up to do both equity and debt investment so we have a slightly different lens than maybe some traditional investors typically do. And that view shifts a little bit whether we're looking at a deal from maybe an equity or pure debt perspective or if there's some sort of convertible option as well, but what we look for is really a couple of things that both Maya and Chris have already sort of outlined. We usually run sort of a 2-track process when we're looking at a company, one that really focuses sort of deeply on the business side and then one that focuses on the technology and IP side as well. And we like to use both of those as opportunities to generate different levels of insight and questions that we asked both the company and ourselves when we're making and evaluating an investment, because we find that if we look at something from just a pure business perspective, if we're only looking at revenue figures or profitability, we often don't really get the full story on where the true value is coming from. So, we really spend a lot of time evaluating the, one of the things that Chris talked about, the ability to look around the corner and try and protect things in the future.

So, we try to make sure that the companies made a good investment in their research and development and made sure they've taken the best approaches to protecting that investment and making sure there's good foresight in how they've, let's say, applied for patents, making sure that they have a good degree of coverage, they're working with a good counsel that can provide them with insights on what's best to, to patent, what's best to protect its trade secrets, and make sure there's the best return on investment in both the companies' money and time when filing for these protections. When we're talking about the value of IP, we're not only looking about a dollar value, we're looking at what value that it brings to the company in terms of the ability to create a competitive mode and exclude a lot of the potential competitors or give them that additional competitive advantage. So Maya brought up a very good point on looking at the company's foundation and saying is there that competency within the company that gives them the ability to entrench themselves in terms of IP to give them that competitive mode and make sure that they have a very good base for not only protecting what they're doing right now, but protecting what they could be doing in a few years when they have a higher degree of competition or when they have some other opportunities available to for let's say, monetization through licensing, or maybe co-branded products. So to sum it up, we're really looking for a good IP strategy that aligns with what the company is doing now, what some of their business opportunities are in terms of geographic coverage, having that degree of flexibility in terms of coverage for pivots or changes to the business strategy, good return on investment in research and development, outcomes from patenting, so making sure high quality patents, if that's the choose, the route that they choose to go with, our result so that the company can have opportunities to monetize with the patents if they choose to or provide them with a very good degree of protection.

And we're making sure that they're partnered with the right firms in order to provide them the best advisory services or commercialization opportunities. Thank you. I wondered, I wanted to ask you from a practical sense, when you are an inventor and you're talking to investors, you're about to develop a relationship and I would imagine that this requires a lot of transparency at the same time you're trying to sell what you have. So I was wondering if you could take a minute or so to explain in more practical terms, how was that dialogue developed over time? Yeah, I think transparency is usually the best option in when we're doing due diligence. It's better for us to find out and get good answers to the questions we're asking early on to build that level of trust to make sure that when we come across the answer, it's the answer that we are going to be most comfortable with, and not be surprised with in terms of, let's say, inventor attribution or any sort of strings attached with licensing from university portfolios or third parties, other third parties.

So, we will generally find the answer to the question that we're looking for, so it's best to have all the information up front and be as transparent as possible just to build that level of trust, so. We're all really working to the same aim, especially at BDC, to make sure that we are helping the company grow as best as possible. Thank you so much Max. Now, I wanted to turn over to, to Anneke to talk about the standards. They are the key to so many technologies that are able to interoperate, but you may not be thinking at that when you're starting off a company.

So, I wanted to give you the floor and basically explain what are standards, and why are they important? It's not something that folks generally think about, I think about it all the time because I work for the Standards Council of Canada, which is a small crown corporation that reports to the government, we're part of the ISED portfolio and we're about 150 people, but our network is pretty broad. We work with businesses both big and large. We work with governments, federal and provincial, territorial and municipal. We work with civil society, consumers. And, and so on. When you wake up in the morning, you're probably not thinking about standards, but they're all around you and they're keeping you safe, so you don't think when you wake up that your house, you're gonna fall through your floor or your roof is gonna fall down. When you pick up your cell phone, you don't think that it's, you don't worry about it blowing up or catching on fire, and that's because everything around you has been built to some sort of standard, and that standard, in most cases, is an international standard that's been developed by countries through a consensus-based process.

Standards help to ensure that the health and safety of citizens comes first for all of our products and our services. It also makes sure that companies can, can prosper because most countries have trade agreements, and so in order to import or export, you have to meet the obligations that are outlined in their regulation as well. And the EU is a great example of that, and, and I think we we're talking a little bit about artificial intelligence. I just happened to be at the World AI Summit, where I just talked about standardization and its implications for this rapidly evolving sector. The EU, for example, has been quite fast in developing its regulations around artificial intelligence, and other countries are trying to catch up. One of the worries that a country will have when it's negotiating trade agreements, is that their companies will be at a disadvantage because the regulation in one country may not be the same as a regulation in another, and that country may be asking for companies to align with certain standards that are referenced in their regulation.

So, you really need to think about standards from the onset of a startup, and that can be a daunting task because they're complicated. They're not always easy to read and I think most importantly, if you are a small to medium enterprise, you may not have the capacity to think through your standardize, the, your standardization strategy, but it will put you at a huge disadvantage if you aren't at the, at the very least aware of what standards are applicable for your products or your services. And more and more now as we move into this intangible economy, an intangible economy that, that is full of risk, when you think of artificial intelligence and data, because it now becomes very personal to people's data and that data can be used in good ways, and that data can be used in bad ways and AI is rapidly evolving. And using this data that it's, it's hard to wrap our, our minds around how are we going to standardize this intangible economy.

Standards can be very specific or prescriptive, but for the most part, standards are performance-based standards. And what that means is that companies have to show how they meet a standard. But how they get to meet it is up to them, and different companies may, may have a different avenue in order to show how they meet those standards. So a great example of a standard that impacts a lot of businesses are quality management standards, because most businesses want to continually improve how they operate so that they can save money, they can be more efficient, so that they might be, I think, a prime choice when it comes to procurement or because another, they're being asked to be ISO 9000 certified, as an example.

Standards are just one part of the equation though, standards are pieces of paper or PDFs, or I think soon to be machine-readable standards. But the real carriage is showing how you conform to those standards. That's important, because that's what you're being asked to show or to prove and you're being asked by consumers. You're being asked by governments. You're being asked by other industries that are procuring your services.

And that is a costly business and it's complicated and again, you need people in order to do that. Lastly, I'll maybe make the point around why it's so important to be aware of standards and even to influence standards. If you have technology that does not yet have a standard, you have a huge opportunity to be the one holding the pen to draft those standards and to be first to market. You also, I think, have obligations. We all have obligations to participate in standardization because it impacts all of us. And one of the areas that for me is most concerning is around who is developing those standards because who develops those standards are often the ones that are the beneficiaries of that standard. Standards can also harm if not everybody is at the table.

And what I'm talking about is we have so many different communities that are not at the table; marginalized communities, black, indigenous, people of color communities. Standards historically have been written by white men, and it is so important that in order for standards to be usable by everybody that all communities are able to participate so that we have equitable standards and diverse standards that meet out all of our needs. So maybe I'll stop there. Thank you so much, Anneke, that's, That's really important and thanks for highlighting the importance of inclusion into, to this development. It's especially important, and I'd like to perhaps at the same time highlight that this month, in about a week's time we have the World IP Day and the theme of this year's World IP Day is actually women and innovation. So stay tuned, we're gonna have more discussions about inclusion and innovation in, on that day.

But thanks for highlighting that and very, very interesting fields.. CIPO works with the Standards Council on a regular basis and it's, it's a very, very interesting field, not just from the point of patents, but obviously just to holding the pen and participate, is, is really, really valuable. I want to turn over to Cristina now, who comes from Health Canada, and I know that some of the consumer products may be subject to other regulations. They need to be safe and so on. So, Cristina, the floor is yours, what are the main regulations that we need to be aware of and, and where can entrepreneurs learn more about those? I want to start by recognizing that the consumer product sector encompasses a diversity of products that may be subject to various regulations in Canada, both at the federal and at the provincial levels.

So today I will only speak to the Consumer Product Safety Program. So, the Consumer Product Safety Program operates under the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act, or CCPSA and the food and Drugs Act and the cosmetic regulations. But for the purposes of today's discussion, I will only focus on the CCPSA. I want to stress, though, that there are other acts that would apply to consumer products, two important ones I want to mention are the Canadian Environmental Protection Act or CEPA and the Consumer Packaging and Labeling Act or CPLA, that I'm not going to discuss today.

So, the Consumer Product Safety Program generally adopts regulations that are outcome based and provide the flexibility for industry to develop innovative and safe products. So what products are in scope of this CCPSA? Well, the CCPSA defines a consumer product as a product that may reasonably be expected to be obtained by an individual to be used for noncommercial purposes so, noncommercial purposes would include a, a broad range of purposes, domestic, recreational, sports purposes. And the definition includes the product itself, the product's components, parts, accessories and the packaging. So, some examples that come to mind when you think of consumer products are cribs, kettles, blinds, lighters, children's sleepwear and other children's products, but also electric and electronic products such as stoves and microwaves, personal computers. And the Act doesn't apply to some products that would otherwise fall under the definition of a consumer product, and I would direct you to schedule one of the Act for a list of products to which the Act does not apply. So some examples are drugs, food and medical devices.

These are captured by other acts. We operate as a program under a post market regime, which means that there's no premarket review, approval or licensing of products product, prior to their sale in Canada. So it's the responsibility of the supplier, the manufacturer, the importer, the retailer to ensure that the consumer product stays supplied to the Canadian market, complies with the CCPSA and its regulations. So very briefly, the CCPSA addresses dangers to human health or safety posed by consumer products in Canada by setting several obligations and prohibitions that apply to manufacturers, to importers, sellers, advertisers, testers, packagers and labelers of consumer products.

So you may manufacture, import or sell a consumer product in Canada if the product is not prohibited. So, there's a list of prohibited products under schedule two of the CCPSA. A good example is baby walkers, there were a lot of incidents, a lot of injuries and deaths related to, to these products.

The product should meet the requirements in the applicable regulations or standards under the CCPSA so, again, I direct you to the CCPSA for a complete list of product specific regulation. And even if there's no specific regulation that applies to the product, the product should not pose a danger to human health or safety. This is known as the general prohibition under the Act, so the Act defines the concept of danger to human health or safety and Health Canada has published and continually updates a list of consumer products that it has assessed and deemed to pose a danger to human health or safety and, as I'm speaking, I think there are links to guidance documents that are available or online that are shared with the panel for your information. The products should also not have been recalled either voluntarily or through an order. So in addition to, to these requirements, there's additional prohibitions related to making false, misleading, or deceptive labeling regarding product certification related to its safety or its compliance with a safety standard or the regulations. So, for example, it would be an offence under the Act to make a claim that Health Canada has certified the health or safety of the product when that is not the case, and again, I want to remind you that Health Canada is not a certifying authority for consumer products.

So as a manufacturer, an importer or a seller, you're required to report to Health Canada, potential or non-human health or safety incidents and product defects regarding consumer products you manufacture or import or sell in Canada. So, for example, recalls or corrective measures initiated in other jurisdictions for health or safety reasons should be reported to Health Canada. If, if your product was recalled in Europe or in the United States for health or safety reasons, this is a reportable incident, and you should get in contact with Health Canada. And you should prepare and keep documents to ensure a consumer product can be traced throughout the supply chain in the event that a danger must be addressed. So again, if there's a recall, we want to be able to control the product on the market, so it's not available to consumers. You should also be ready to provide information and assistance to Health Canada inspectors when they solicit information. You should be ready to provide tests

or study to Health Canada regarding the consumer products you manufacture or import, and you should be ready to carry out a recall of consumer products when ordered by Health Canada. So just in summary, as a manufacturer or importer of a consumer product, you're responsible for the safety of the product you place on the market. There's an expectation that you know and you comply with the legislation that is applicable to your product. There's quite a volume of information available online for all to consult, both about the act, the regulations, but also about policy, about testing methods, recall products, best practices. So, I would encourage all to visit the Health Canada website

starting with the documents that have been shared with you during this panel and to reach out to us for further information, you can also subscribe to our electronic newsletter for updated information on Consumer Product Safety or you can contact us by e-mail or phone at the coordinates that, that were provided to you. Wonderful. Thank you so much. And Chris, I wanted to start with you because you were talking about that creative flow, and I imagine that it's a, a balance to think about what is possible in terms of IP versus what you want, to, people to kind of explore without thinking about IP all the time so, at what point do you start wearing that IP hat in there, in the creative process? You know, my experience with, you know, with InteraXon there was sort of two movements, and 2 phases of this and I think in the, in the beginning, you know, we were first looking at soliciting some investment, you know, to support the, like a business proposition that securing some IP is a, is an important piece of that. At least you know it certainly was. And so, you know, I think IP in the beginning was a, was a, was in the forefront of our thinking.

And then it's your middle phase, we're kind of in work mode trying to build the technology. And really, you know, stay focused on the market and the application, that phase, you know IP was something that became relevant part of our thinking once we were, you know, getting close to commercialization and being able to protect, you know, what we actually, you know, bring to light in the world and reveal the things that we've been, we've been creating. And so I think that middle phase, the, the, the IP felt like a bit of, a bit of a, a, secondary part of the process since we really were focused on creation and through that process, I think, you know, I'd say that we've developed a different relationship, at least certainly with patent IP. And that just came from the experience of writing patents that was to protect our core technology that we were commercializing and discovering that the that process in itself created, you know, new lines of thinking and ideas, and certainly the, you know, the folks like Maya who've worked with closely encouraging us to, you know, make sure that you know within, within those filings we were including our, our, not just what we were you know going to market with but you know all the other embodiments and inventions that, that we sort of came across along the way, but not only that but you know looking towards the future you know knowing you know in the life of the patents and also, you know, you know, what's available through patent continuations. There is really great value in imagining the future. So if you're, if you work deeply on something, if you're in that flow of innovation, generally you're already placed yourself kind of on the edge, you know, of, of the known and explored. And you have a view there that really is, is, is quite special and so we really saw the value of, of, you know of being there and being able to articulate our, our vision of the future because you know you not only can see where, what's possible, but you also know how to create it. So the work that you've done and that really creates the foundation for, you know, patenting.

And so I think, you know, the, this sort of third phase that we're in now is one where the creation of, of patent IP is really closely linked with our innovation process and something that we you know are, are more in lockstep with, you know, we make sure we, we, we, we keep it part of the innovation process because it encourages us to look at what we have and try to distill the ideas down to what the invention is and that process in itself, you know, is, is illuminating to crystallize the, you know, the invention and also, to take the opportunity to use what you know in your experience to envision the future and in many ways the writing of patents, you know, has been part of, you know, creating our future vision and our future road map, you know because it has encouraged us to take that, that view and I think just the, the, the cost and the time it takes, you know, to you know you know patent IP, you know, it encourages you to make the most of it. So, I think the motivation that really served us and continues to serve us in in, you know, helping us stay future-looking. Thank you, thank you! I, we received a point of clarification regarding standards and as Anneke stressed, these are consensus developed to and anyone who's been sitting on any of these committees knows that it's a long process to develop a standard just to clarify.

But Chris, I wanted to tie in to something that you said and put the microphone over to Maya. When you have a company that has an idea, they may not have IP protection yet. They need to know if it's worthwhile, and you mentioned the importance about doing a freedom to operate analysis. If, if I haven't heard about that, can you explain? How that, how does that work? How do I get one? So, a freedom to operate analysis can take many different forms, but ultimately, it's just having an awareness of what other entities have, core IP that may overlap with an aspect of your product or service and knowing maybe there's some holes in those in those third party IP assets and just seeing where you fit in within that patent landscape, so making sure you're not jumping into an area that's heavily patented or patented already and making sure that you have that awareness so you could either pivot or maybe like I said you might, there might be a hole or a gap and so, I think a lot could be a problem-solving journey as Chris mentioned too, you might see other, for other IP assets or patent assets, reading those and say, well, those wouldn't solve the problem in the same way that I'm proposing, so it actually might help crystallize what you're actually contributing or developing further, and so building that into your innovation process might be helpful.

Because often it's, it may appear that everybody's patented something similar, but when you dive into the details, it's actually a different aspect of that solution or a different problem altogether. So having that awareness from a freedom to operate perspective is important and then when you file your own patents, those become publications that patent examiners can then locate and reject later filed applications as well, so that indirectly protects your freedom to operate by having patent assets yourself, articulating your problem solving journey, or your, your invention in details so that, it is a very helpful tool to ensure you're not walking in to, on to be on the receiving end of a cease and desist or a patent infringement claim. Thank you very, very good information. Thank you. So with 5 minutes left, I have asked you to prepare like a reverse elevator speech, if you met with an entrepreneur in the elevator and you just desperately felt that you had to share the best piece of advice that you had. Get ready to share that, before I ask you to do so I have a question that I think I can take: How long does it usually take from the time of request of an IP examination and the examination start and result by CIPO? I assume we're talking about patents and there is statistics out there and usually from the time of filing, to get a patent ready can be between 2, to 4, and even 8 years. It depends on what you have in the application and the kind of conversation that you have with the examiner during the prosecution period. So it's difficult to give an exact timeline, it really depends.

But to wrap up, there are some more questions coming in, but I will now pass it around to give your short reverse elevator speech and I'll start with Chris. There's amazing people with amazing expertise and I have found, you know, so many willing to help us on our journey. And I would just say talk to lots of people, and know that there's a way through, you know, a lot of this stuff can feel really overwhelming, but there's a way through and there's a lot of experts out there that, you know, you know really take pleasure in helping folks on their journey of innovation and creation. That’s great, I love it. Maya? I would say protect your core assets, your core technology assets, but have fun with it so, celebrate your wins, celebrate your inventors, celebrate the success when you get a patent through.

Pause and make sure to have fun and those brainstorming sessions have fun with them. I love having brainstorming sessions with Chris, so it helps with the culture. Absolutely. Thank you. Max? I'd say make sure that you have a good story, but also be able to back it up with facts and information and make sure that you know your audience so, try and tailor your pitch or presentation to that audience as best you can.

Excellent. Thank you. Anneke? Standards Council of Canada is actually here for you. Many people don't know that you can follow, reach out to us , phone us and we can give you advice on standardization from other, other, other organizations, actually can develop standards that doesn't actually have to just be an accredited standards development organization.

You can get your technology embedded in, in, into these standards, type deliverables and be first to market, or you can use it in order to access other markets. So give us a call, we're here to, to help walk you through the standardization system. Thank you so much. Cristina? I would say just know your product inside out and feel responsible for your product, it is your product, you're putting it in the hands of, of the users, you have to know it from beginning to end. You have to be curious and you have to be knowledgeable about the laws that are applicable, about the regulations and when you move into novel space you, as Anneke has put it, you are the creator of new standards. Get, get your hands in and build a safe product and help others. Build similarly safe products. I want to mention I don’t know if this document was already shared in the chat but, consider applying human factors principles to product designs throughout the product life cycle. There’s a guidance document that’s available online, I think it was shared.

Basically designers and developers have to remember that people with different aptitudes, abilities, experiences will interact with their with their products and this will happen in many different conditions, configurations, use scenarios, so a design that considers human characteristics and capabilities and limitations it's, is important to create safe and effective products. That's wonderful! Well, on behalf of the IP village, I would like to sincerely thank you for your time today. A special thanks to our panelists, and of course, a big thank you to our audience who has been here today. I wish you a great afternoon.. Before we finish this session, my final word would be to learn about IP. CIPO Is here. We offer free and unbiased information about IP. I will drop a link in the chat. It's canada.ca/IP-for-business. Learn about IP. We're here for you and I wish you a wonderful afternoon. Thank you very much.

2023-11-18 20:30

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