April 19, 2022Print | PDF
Laurier is committed to maximizing the benefits of research undertaken at Laurier for the benefit of the citizens of Ontario and its economy. We seek to create an ecosystem that drives innovation that strengthens human health and wellbeing, the economy, communities, and the planet. We are committed to the management and protection of intellectual property (IP) generated by our researchers to maximize commercial opportunities and benefits to society. Our commitment is reinforced in our Research Strategy where knowledge dissemination, research excellence, partnerships, and future-readiness are weaved throughout.
As a learning and research institution, Laurier generates new knowledge across various disciplines. This new knowledge can take the form of inventions, such as novel products or processes; literary, creative, and artistic work; software, computer programs or data; and other such creations. There is no single path for the knowledge generated by our researchers to reach its target audience and maximum benefit. Regardless of the path, there are various roles and entities at Laurier that take part in the generation, management, protection, and translation of IP generated at the institution.
Faculty members and students are the primary generators of IP at Laurier throughout the course of conducting their research. This research is most often supported by external granting agencies and, occasionally, external industry or not-for-profit organizations. As the university has an inventor-owned IP policy for full-time faculty, contract teaching faculty (CTF), and students who create IP while attending the university as outlined in Article 5 of Policy 11.3 Ownership of Student-Created Intellectual Property, it is up to the inventor to assign their IP to the institution if they wish for Laurier to manage it. Faculty members play a critical role in assisting students in navigating the process of IP management and protection as part of their training at the institution.
The work of faculty and students to generate IP and commercialize products is supported by a robust innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem at the institution. The ecosystem consists of a number of incubators, accelerators, innovation lab spaces and hubs, research centres, curricular and extracurricular activities. The figure below outlines the current dynamic ecosystem that drives innovation activities at Laurier. See “Engagement with the Innovation Ecosystems” for further information on Laurier’s Innovation Ecosystem.
Laurier undertakes a centralized approach to the management of IP and commercialization activities at the university for researchers and students who seek assistance in IP and commercialization, or those who wish to assign their IP to the university. The Office of Research Services (ORS) is home to IP and commercialization support activities at the institution.
The Vice-President, Research (VPR) provides strategic leadership and oversight of research and innovation and the enhancement of partnerships with external partners. The VPR drives the institution’s strategic efforts to increase IP generation and external community engagement.
The Assistant Vice-President, Research (AVPR) provides leadership to the ORS and supports the VPR in enhancing research partnerships and making strategic decisions to promote innovation and commercialization.
The Manager, Research Facilitation, provides leadership and oversight to the Industry Liaison Specialist and Research Facilitators. The Manager works closely with the AVPR to enhance the partnership, innovation, and commercialization services offered to researchers by the ORS.
The Industry Liaison Specialist supports researchers by facilitating collaborative research with industry partners. From strategy planning to partner engagement, identification of funding opportunities, or advancing existing partnerships, customized service is provided to suit the researchers’ needs. The Industry Liaison also promotes technology transfer activities to bring ideas to market. This includes advising researchers on all matters related to the creation, protection, and commercialization of intellectual property via patents, trademarks, and copyrights.
Industry Partnership Services:
Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer Services:
The following services are available to researchers and students who are seeking assistance with their IP:
The Industry Liaison Specialist serves all faculty across various disciplines and will often require additional time to understand the industry sector, product or service that applies to your specific needs. Please reach out to the Industry Liaison Specialist if you are interested in engaging in a research partnership with industry or to learn more about how we can best support the commercial potential of your research activities.
Research Facilitators assist faculty members with all aspects related to funding support for their research activities. Each facilitator works closely with faculty with the objective of increasing the funding support for their research programs and ensuring that the highest quality applications are submitted to external funders.
Research Facilitation services:
Please reach out to your Research Facilitator if you are interested in applying for research funding opportunities.
The Manager, Research Partnerships is responsible for advancing Laurier’s research partnerships with governments and not-for-profit organizations and identifying opportunities for interdisciplinary collaborations within and outside Laurier. The role of the Manager is critical for ensuring that Laurier's research is translated for the benefit of government and non-for-profit receptor communities.
Laurier’s General Counsel and Legal Services and Fair Practices Office ("Legal Services Office") provides legal advice to the Laurier community to support the university's strategic goals and is responsible to review, draft and maintain legal documents. The Industry Liaison Specialist consults the General Counsel and Legal Services Office for legal matters concerning IP, technology transfer, commercialization, and external partnerships as needed. The Industry Liaison Specialist and ORS team members work with the General Counsel and Legal Services Office in drafting and reviewing contracts and agreements, such as:
The ORS also maintains template contracts and agreements that have already been reviewed and approved by the General Counsel and Legal Services Office. New contracts that are not based on existing templates are submitted by the Industry Liaison Specialist to the Legal Services Office for review and approval, in accordance with the University’s Signing Authority Policy.
From time to time, and in consultation with the Legal Services Office, if applicable, the ORS may find it necessary to seek external counsel such as patent attorneys/agents or licensing experts, especially in dealing with patent applications and complex licensing agreements. This is to ensure that the rights of Laurier and its researchers are secured and protected. As patents are highly technical documents and licensing structures vary between industries, the Industry Liaison Specialist ensures that the external counsel has the necessary expertise for the invention/license. In hiring external counsel, the ORS ensures compliance with Laurier's 5.7 Signing Authority Policy, 5.11 Procurement and Tendering Policy, 5.13 Retention of External Legal Counsel, and other relevant policies.
Faculty members and students are the main creators of IP at Laurier throughout the course of conducting their research. The process of technology transfer typically begins when a piece of new knowledge, process, or product is created through research outcomes. When these outputs have the potential to benefit the greater public outside the university, students and faculty members are encouraged to reach out to the Industry Liaison Specialist to discuss their IP. They will be asked to disclose details about their IP in order to conduct due diligence and to assess how to proceed.
When new IP has the potential for commercialization, it is important to secure IP protection to protect the investment in the research and development of the IP. Although Laurier has an inventor-own policy, as outlined in Article 36 of the WLUFA Collective Agreement, Article 20.2 of the Collective Agreement for Contract Teaching Faculty and Part-Time Librarians, and Article 5 of Policy 11.3 Ownership of Student-Created Intellectual Property for full-time faculty, CTF and students attending the university, respectively, faculty members and students who are interested in the protection of their IP are encouraged to contact the Industry Liaison Specialist to seek advice.
For further information on the technology transfer process at Laurier and additional resources, please refer to IP and Technology Transfer Guide for Laurier Researchers.
Laurier has an inventor-own policy, as outlined in Article 36 of the WLUFA Collective Agreement, Article 20.2 of the Collective Agreement for Contract Teaching Faculty and Part-Time Librarians, and Article 5 of Policy 11.3 Ownership of Student-Created Intellectual Property. Researchers are, however, not precluded from assigning their IP to the University. Assigning the IP to the University allows the researcher to focus on conducting research, while still reaping benefits from the commercialization of the IP through royalty shares. Furthermore, IP protection, especially for patents, may require significant financial resources that the University may be able to provide.
Researchers wishing to assign their IP to the University must first complete an Invention Disclosure Form. The form will be reviewed and evaluated by the ORS team. Acceptance of the assignment by the institution will be based on an overall assessment of the IP’s patentability or registrability (for non-patent IP), market potential, and social and environmental impact. The final decision of the acceptance of the assignment rests with the VPR. In the event that the University, upon evaluation and recommendation of the ORS, decides to accept the assignment through a written IP Agreement, it shall provide the necessary support for the registration, marketing, and commercialization of the IP assigned through the ORS and the Industry Liaison Specialist, and with the support of the researcher.
As outlined in the image above, Laurier researchers have access to a robust and dynamic innovation ecosystem that can support and advance their ambitions to commercialize their IP. Where possible, researchers are encouraged to look to their local innovation ecosystem in Kitchener-Waterloo, and then broader across Ontario, to identify local industry partnerships that will provide a net benefit to Ontarians, both social and economic. If local partners are not readily available, researchers are encouraged to work with the Industry Liaison Specialist to identify other domestic and/or international partners.
Engaging in industry partnerships can be a valuable and rewarding avenue to support academic research. Industry partners seek access to research expertise, facilities, and talent and can provide cash and/or in-kind contributions towards a collaborative research project. Through these partnerships, researchers can obtain additional resources, expand the scope and impact of their research activities, commercialize IP, and enrich student training opportunities.
Industry Partnerships are also crucial not just for conducting new, collaborative research, but also when it comes to technology transfer and commercialization. Often, universities are not equipped to commercialize IPs they produce, which is why partnerships are important when it comes to transferring technology. Industry is in a better position, and has more resources, in either bringing the IP closer to its intended market through further product development or commercializing it under a license from the university.
The Industry Liaison Specialist can assist you to:
Researchers are encouraged to identify a potential partner to initiate the relationship. Utilize your formal or informal networks made through academic colleagues, past students, and researchers from external organizations (e.g. government or industry) to identify potential collaborators.
Engaging in non-profit partnerships can be a rewarding avenue to see your research lead to social benefits and support thriving communities. Not-for-profit organizations often seek out research expertise to address pressing challenges facing the communities they serve. Through these partnerships, researchers can expand the scope and impact of their research activities, enrich student training opportunities, and sometimes, receive additional cash or in-kind contributions to support their work. Researchers are encouraged to work with the Manager, Research Partnerships if they wish to engage with a not-for-profit organization. The Manager, Research Partnerships can assist you to:
Researchers are encouraged to identify potential partners to initiate the relationship. Utilize your formal or informal networks made through academic colleagues, past students, and researchers from external organizations (e.g. government or industry) to identify potential collaborators.
As shown in the figure above, Laurier has an innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem that includes incubators and accelerators that cater to students, alumni, and the community, offering mentorship, guidance, and other forms of support for their businesses, such as networks, workspaces, and access to funding opportunities.
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