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Ottawa should automatically review deals involving IP-holding or -generating companies in fields like AI, quantum computing, telecommunications, renewable energy, biotechnology, fintech and space technology, the Council of Canadian Innovators chair told a House of Commons committee on Monday. (The Logic)

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Talking point: In April, the federal government signalled it would subject takeovers involving firms in public health or COVID-19 response supply chains to close scrutiny, as well as any launched by foreign state-owned enterprises. Balsillie argues that’s insufficient—and that the problem of foreign investment seeking to export Canadian IP extends beyond the pandemic. In February, for example, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States gained new powers to look into deals involving critical technologies and sensitive personal data, regardless of size. But lawyers who specialize in such cases told the committee Monday that the current Investment Canada Act is sufficient. Ottawa can look into takeovers regardless of size on national security grounds, noted Omar Wakil, a Torys partner. And “blanket restrictions” could deter investment and international innovation cooperation, said Joshua Krane, a Blakes partner.

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The panel, announced in Thursday’s Ontario budget, will also include Shiri Breznitz, a University of Toronto professor; Dan Herman, former head of strategy for Innovation Canada; Natalie Raffoul, an Ottawa-based patent lawyer; and Myra Tawfik, an IP law expert. (Globe and Mail)

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Talking point: Universities spend billions of dollars each year on R&D, but they see relatively little return on that work. U of T, for example, brought in $2 million in royalties in 2015, and was granted $1.1 billion for research that year. Balsillie has been a major critic of Canada’s intellectual property track record, arguing we don’t generate enough IP and that Canada’s R&D is too often commercialized in the U.S. Creating a pipeline from basic research to commercialization could mitigate that. But, as John Lorinc noted in an article for The Logic, many critics argue that universities should focus on basic and creative research rather than commercializing it.

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In its report to the federal government, the Council of Canadian Innovators (CCI) recommended increasing funding for fast-growing companies, improving access to skilled foreign workers, increasing efforts to upskill workers for in-demand jobs, as well as focusing more on government procurement of local technology and patenting research to help reap the long-term benefits of COVID-19-related inventions. (The Logic)

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Talking point: The CCI, chaired by Jim Balsillie, outlines opportunities Canada has missed in its response to the pandemic—like using local fintechs to distribute relief funding—and how it can avoid pitfalls going forward by prioritizing made-in-Canada technology over that of foreign corporations. The report raises many of the same concerns CCI had before COVID-19 was a factor. However, the pandemic has heightened the group’s sense of urgency to fix what it sees as shortcomings in the Canadian innovation landscape.

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The advocacy non-profit, founded by Jim Balsillie, former co-CEO of Research in Motion (now BlackBerry), claims the Liberals, Conservatives and NDP are violating election law by combining voter lists—which are only meant to be used for communications—with other information, then using their database for tasks like scoring voters’ likely support in order to target their outreach efforts. The application, filed Friday, seeks a judicial review of the commissioner’s April decision not to investigate the centre’s complaint. CTV reporter Glen McGregor first tweeted it. (The Logic)

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Talking point: In September 2019, the centre lodged complaints about the three parties’ use of personal information and other data with Canada’s competition, privacy, and elections commissioners, as well as the B.C. privacy commissioner and the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission. The antitrust watchdog is investigating. Federal privacy commissioner Daniel Therrien has repeatedly called for parties to be brought under privacy laws, from which they’re currently exempt.

Correction: The CDR is alleging political parties are using voter lists illegally by using them for purposes other than communication. This story has been updated.

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The robotic arm is designed to perform tasks without humans as part of the U.S.-led Lunar Gateway project, which aims to send humans deeper into space than ever before. (The Logic)

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Talking point: This deal comes six months after a Canadian group including Jim Balsillie bought MDA from Colorado-based Maxar Technologies for $1 billion and promised to return the firm’s corporate headquarters to Canada. Friday’s government announcement emphasized the made-in-Canada aspects of this, stating that the build will “ensure the participation of the broader Canadian supply chain and help motivate investments in key industrial capabilities within Canada’s space sector.” MDA built the first two Canadarms for the U.S. Space Shuttle and International Space Station.