Alberta government to overhaul intellectual property rules

Doug Schweitzer, the newly minted minister of jobs, economy and innovation, announced Thursday his government's plan to diversify Alberta's struggling economy and attract investment. 

The move is part of a plan to help diversify the struggling economy

Doug Schweitzer said the government would work to modernize Alberta's intellectual property rules. (Todd Korol/The Canadian Press)

Consultations with business are on the way, as the Alberta government sets its sights on revamping intellectual property rules in the province in an effort to spur diversification.

The consultations will focus on the tech sector, but there are no details at this time beyond a promise to move quickly and help businesses commercialize their ideas. 

"Alberta is coming to play in the tech and innovation space," said Minister of Jobs, Economy and Innovation Doug Schweitzer in a news release. 

"We're putting the rest of Canada on notice that we are going to beat provinces like Ontario and B.C. to punch by moving policy at the speed of business. The first of many policy steps is to develop the best framework for intellectual property so ideas can be turned into businesses and jobs."

Speaking at a news conference, Schweitzer did not provide more details on what the changes could be or when they might be implemented. 

He says other jurisdictions are talking about making changes in 2021 and Alberta wants to beat them.

"That's our mandate, that's our direction," he said, adding he'd like to see something before Christmas.

"We're planning to try and get this done as fast as possible."

Demetrios Nicolaides, the minister of advanced education, said the province's post-secondaries "are home to groundbreaking research" that has the potential to result in new startups and businesses.

"This commercialization of research is an important mandate for our post-secondary system, and in consultation with our institutions we are working to strengthen their commercialization potential, which will help diversify the economy and set our students up for success," he said in the release. 

The consultations are part of a previously announced $75-million effort to help kick start the struggling economy in Alberta, which is heavily dependent on the oil and gas sector. 


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