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Research and development in Canadian industry: Intellectual property, 2015 (actual)

Released: 2017-12-08

Research and development businesses in Canada continue to be net exporters of intellectual property products

Businesses in Canada with current or previous research and development (R&D) expenditures continued to be net exporters of intellectual property (IP) products and technological services in 2015, with $1.0 billion in net outflows. These businesses with R&D activities purchased $857 million of IP and technological services from other organizations outside of Canada. They received $1.9 billion in payments from purchasers outside Canada for their IP or provision of technological services, which contributed to the country's outward flow of knowledge.

Payments and receipts for IP are considered measures of innovation and creativity often related to R&D. IP can include different forms of registered instruments that generate revenues through sales and licensing, such as patents, trademarks and copyrights. It can also include transactions related to original and packaged software, databases with useful lives exceeding one year and other payments for IP. Other payments entail technological services such as technical assistance and know-how, offered by the R&D-active businesses' highly skilled personnel to support the adoption of R&D results by purchasing organizations.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Payments for intellectual property products made to organizations outside Canada and payments for intellectual property products received from organizations outside Canada, 2014-2015
Payments for intellectual property products made to organizations outside Canada and payments for intellectual property products received from organizations outside Canada, 2014-2015

Affiliates account for most IP receipts from organizations located outside of Canada

Of the nearly $1.9 billion that R&D active businesses in Canada received for purchases by organizations located outside of Canada, the majority ($1.1 billion) was made by parent, affiliated or subsidiary companies.

Non-affiliated companies and other organizations account for the majority of IP receipts within Canada

Most payments that R&D-active firms received from organizations located in Canada was from non-affiliated companies and other organizations ($740 million), with the remaining $95 million coming from parents, affiliates or subsidiaries.

Services-producing industries lead in payments and receipts for IP in 2015

The services-producing sector, including wholesale trade and professional, scientific and technical services, continued to account for over half ($678 million) of all spending on IP by R&D-active businesses. However, this was down 9.1% from 2014. The manufacturing sector accounted for the next highest amount ($464 million) spent on IP.

IP payments received by R&D-active firms operating in services-producing industries increased 14.3% to $2.4 billion in 2015, accounting for 9 in 10 dollars of IP sales.

  Note to readers

The estimates do not represent all trade in intellectual property rights or informal technology assistance services in Canada.

These estimates of payments made and received for intellectual property and technology assistance were derived from data collected from companies within the sample of the Annual Survey of Research and Development in Canadian Industry. Although the data come from a sample survey, the responses are self-representing and are not weighted for these particular variables given the volatile nature of intellectual property-related activities. Therefore, the estimates represent intellectual property commercial transactions only for the companies in Canada with research and development activities that responded to the survey.

Research and development-active businesses are companies within the Annual Survey of Research and Development in Canadian Industry sample that currently or previously funded or performed research and development.

Intellectual property

Newly created knowledge can be formally protected through registered intellectual property (IP) instruments. Technology payments include payments made or received for patents, copyrights, trademarks, industrial designs, integrated circuit topography designs, original software, packaged off-the-shelf software, databases with a useful life exceeding one year, other technical assistance, industrial processes and know-how.

Technology payments can be made to, or received from affiliated or unaffiliated organizations within or outside Canada. These technology payments can be for licensing of IP, consultation fees and one-time sales.

Contact information

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