IPIC Committee Profile: Public Awareness Committee
As intellectual property practitioners, it is sometimes a challenge to explain and raise awareness of the value of intellectual property to business, governments and the public at large, as well as the vital role that IPIC plays in Canada. IPIC’s Public Awareness Committee is playing a crucial role in meeting this challenge. We asked Georgina Starkman Danzig (Chair) and Dane Smith (Vice Chair) to tell us about the role played by this important committee.
1) What is the committee’s mandate?
The Public Awareness Committee (PAC) supports initiatives that increase public awareness of IPIC and intellectual property in general. These initiatives range from presentations at industry events to development of educational materials. PAC coordinates closely with IPIC's Director of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion and, Stakeholder Relations, Loreto Lamb, and IPIC's communications department. PAC connects directly with industry and government bodies, such as the Canadian Intellectual Property office (CIPO), to collaborate on joint projects that raise IP awareness across Canada and globally.
2) How has the pandemic affected the work and mission of the committee this year
The pandemic has been a wake-up call to embrace a new way of delivering service and maintaining trust. PAC members were quick to adapt to the new virtual norm and the committee has been continuing to support IP awareness through virtual presentations to various stakeholders. They have also taken the opportunity to increase their engagement in the development of educational materials and resources.
3) How does the committee’s work advance the mission and vision of IPIC?
IPIC’s mission is to enhance member expertise as trusted intellectual property advisors, and to shape a policy and business environment that encourages the development, use, and value of intellectual property. Its vision is to be the leading authority on intellectual property in Canada, and the voice of intellectual property professionals.
The committee work aligns directly with the mission and vision of IPIC by ensuring that their deliverables, including educational materials, collaborations with other institutions, and its community and stakeholder engagement, is consistent with IPIC’s high standard of integrity and purpose, ensuring that IPIC remains the trusted voice of the intellectual property professional.
4) What challenges do IP practitioners in Canada face in terms of raising awareness of IP?
Traditional information delivery was challenged by Canada’s geography and the concentration of IP professionals in some parts of the country, and not in others. Virtual networking platforms have presented new opportunities for the broader delivery of material and services promoting IP awareness in Canada.
Another challenge is to ensure that in promoting our Canadian IP landscape we remember to differentiate it from others. Canada is a small market compared to our neighbour to the south and it is a common misconception that our IP laws directly mirror those of the United States. While many of our IP laws are similar to those of the U.S., some are closer to European IP laws and others are entirely unique to Canada. The differences between Canadian and foreign IP laws can have significant impacts on IP rights and Canadian IP practitioners face the ongoing challenge of educating their clients and the public about these important differences.
5) In these more difficult economic times, how can IPIC work to educate Canadians about the value of IP?
The journey from idea to commercial product or service is challenging. PAC supports initiatives that inform this journey. IPIC actively promotes and supports PAC which in turn serves to educate Canadians about the value of IP and about the value of engagement with IP professionals.
6) What initiatives is your committee working on?
- The committee has been working on a variety of interesting initiatives including:
- updating educational material on patents & trademarks in conjunction with CIPO;
- facilitating speaker requests advanced by Trade Commissions and others across Canada;
- working on public facing communication that:
- differentiates a trademark from a registered business name;
- explains the value of hiring an IP Professional;
- explains the basics of several categories of IP rights;
- re-designing and freshly populating the Bank of Speakers (the resource used to facilitate speaker engagement request) to ensure it is reflective of the diverse community IPIC serves.
7) Who are the members of the committee?
PAC is fortunate to have a diverse membership that includes lawyers, patent & trade-mark agents, in-house counsel, etc. The current list of members is provided below, and the Committee encourages anyone with an interest in IP awareness and education to apply to be a member of the PAC in the future.
Georgina Starkman Danzig (Chair)
Dane Smith (Vice Chair)
Loreto Lamb (IPIC Staff Liaison)
Heather Mueller (IPIC Board Liaison)
Andrew M. Shaughnessy
Mark D. Penner