Managing Your Intellectual Property

The latest seminar hosted by New Ventures BC this week in downtown Vancouver covered some essential information on how companies can protect their intellectual property. The topic included a number of themes, including copyrights, trade-marks, trade secrets and patents. Some highlights from the NVBC seminar, delivered by Roger Kuypers and Doran Ingalls of Fasken Martineau (Disclaimer: none of this ought to be considered official legal advice):

On Copyright

As a general rule, the author or creator of a work is the first owner of copyright. If you’re an employee of a company creating code on instructions of your employee, your code is copyrighted to the owner. If you’re an independent contractor creating the code and don’t have an employee relationship, the contractor owns the copyright. This can be addressed in a contract.

A classic example is a website. The web developer creates what you see. If your contract doesn’t say you own it, you don’t own it (you just have license to use it).

On Copyright and Blogging


I write a blog that’s interesting to my user base. I’m re-posting parts of an article.

Often with blogs you have to accept certain terms before you’re allowed to post. If you want to be sure about what you post and submit, you need to be clear about those terms… There are concepts of fair use. You are allowed to use parts of works if you credit them, depending on what they’re used for. Such as education.

At the end of the day, you are running some risk in re-posting part of an article.

If you’re copying Harry Potter and selling it, that’s obviously infringement. But copying a few sentences for a Harry Potter fan blog and crediting it should be fine.

An overview of the pros and cons of commercializing your Intellectual Property as a licensor:

Licensor- license the technology to others to take it to market (ie. sell the license and sit back and collect checks).- low capital and capability requirements- requires strong IP protection- requires good contracting skills- allows innovators to focus on what they do best

The seminar was very well attended and very educational. Lots of questions were asked and the audience seemed very interested in the topic.

Next week, NVBC is having a networking event instead of a seminar, so that could be THE place to check out on Tuesday, April 20. To those who have already attended some seminars at the SFU Segal School of Business, an important note is that this event will be taking place at Fasken Martineau DuMoulin Offices at 550 Burrard Street.