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Intellectual Property & Commercialization

We support the development of relationships between industry and Laurentian, evaluate, protect and commercialize intellectual property developed at the university and disclosed to the Office of Research Services, and provide the coordination of provincially-led entrepreneurship activities.

Specific tasks related to intellectual property management include:

  • advising faculty and students on matter matters relating to intellectual property including patents and copyright reviewing and evaluating invention disclosures
  • conducting prior art and patent searches
  • developing marketing strategies, contacting potential licensees and negotiating licenses
  • managing all expenses and revenues related to commercialization.

For more information, please contact Gisele Roberts, Director of Research & Innovation, at  or at ext. 3866.

51's Commercialization Policy sets out our institution's commitment to the management and protection of intellectual property (IP) in a manner that maximizes commercialization opportunities, protects Ontario interests and strengthens the Ontario economy. It is intended to outline a supportive structure that facilitates the commercialization of intellectual property created at 51.

Public Statement on Research & Innovation and Commercialization Action Plan at 51


1. Laurentian’s Approach to Research and Innovation Activities

General Overview

As a primarily undergraduate university, Laurentian aspires to be a leader and partner for research projects and innovative solutions that are regionally, nationally and globally significant. Laurentian is committed to advancing the discoveries generated from academic research and their application to society in a manner that creates economic, social, cultural and environmental benefits within Greater Sudbury, the province of Ontario, and nationally. The University is a recognized research leader with its foundation built upon partnerships.  A collaborator in both its research and commercialization activities, Laurentian is strongly connected to its ecosystem and leverages its relationships to positively impact the dissemination of the outcomes of research.

IP Ownership

An inventor owned institution, ownership of intellectual property (IP) created from research activities at Laurentian rests with the creator unless otherwise determined by a partnership agreement. The University’s Commercialization Policy outlines a supportive structure that facilitates the commercialization of intellectual property created at 51 while respecting societal needs, the interests of the University, its creators and research partners, our tricultural mandate, and any relevant policies, procedures and collective agreements.

Approach to Promote Innovation and Commercialization

Laurentian recognizes the value of innovation stemming from research and academic activity and provides the mechanism to support and celebrate innovation and commercialization through access to physical, financial and intellectual resources.

The Office of Research Services provides intellectual property advice and consultation to faculty, staff and students.  Support from this office also includes introductions to service providers and financial support for baseline introductory services when faculty wish to commercialize intellectual property independently from the University.  The Office of Research Services also has a funds to support the cost of a provisional patent application when ownership of the IP is assigned to Laurentian until a receptor can be identified, a license agreement negotiated or until funds are secured through programs like NSERC’s Idea to Innovation grant.

The Jim Fielding Innovation and Commercialization Space is the focal point for entrepreneurship-related programming outside of the classroom. Services and resources are provided to students, staff, faculty and alumni from any discipline and programming is offered through The Foundry, the University’s flagship entrepreneurship program.  The centre features coworking, meeting and event space in addition to a fully equipped makerspace. The Foundry offers workshops, crash courses, equipment training, mentoring, and connections to the innovation ecosystem.  Events include guest speakers from the entrepreneur and innovation community, Office Hours with staff from partner agencies, high school tours to promote STEM, guest speakers on special topics, and a final year-end pitch Be Your Own Boss pitch competition for students and recent alumni.  

In addition to one on one consultations with the Director of Research and Innovation, workshops on intellectual property are regularly offered to graduate students.  The Innovation and Commercialization Coordinator is also available to present to undergraduate classes to promote IP literacy and awareness about services on campus and in the Greater Sudbury innovation ecosystem.

As part of its annual week-long Research Week celebrations, the Office of Research Services hosts the Voyageurs’ Innovation Challenge. The Challenge is a unique, academically based entrepreneurship competition and teams are made up of students and faculty members, the winning team must be able to pitch an idea or innovation that is original, creative and has economic and/or societal benefits.  Further, every year the Vice-President of Research puts out a call for nomination for the Innovation Award which is given to a faculty member whose research has resulted in an innovative technology, process or product that benefits both the university community and society at large.

In 2023 Laurentian’s Policy on Commercialization, which builds off its Commercialization Mandate Framework, developed in 2022, was officially approved by the University’s Board of Governors and posted on the University’s website.

 

2. 2023 Commercialization Action Plan Overview

Commercialization actions to be undertaken in 2023 are summarized below.

IP Education Actions

  • A minimum of two face-to-face IP education workshops in the Fielding Innovation Space (Spring 2023; Fall 2023)
  • A minimum of one IP education workshop over zoom (recorded and made available to LU faculty, staff, students who were not able to attend)
  • In-class presentations for any class in any faculty (Goal to speak to at least two classes in every Faculty at the University)
  • IP Education workshop for graduate students in the Fall of 2023
  • One-on-one consultations as appropriate

Engagement with Private Sector, Research and Innovation Intermediaries

  • IPON, client referrals for IP education programs, IP strategy advice and other services
  • NORCAT Innovation, client referrals, attendance at innovation events such as Pitch
  • Regional Business Centre and Innovation Quarters, client referrals, Office Hours in the Fielding Innovation Space
  • Ontario Centre for Innovation, faculty and client referrals
  • ORCA and AUTM Canada, maintain memberships and volunteer activity on steering committees, attendance at online and in-person events
  • Northern, provincial and federal funding agencies, client referrals for funding and business strategy advice

Engagement with Laurentian Community and Innovation Ecosystem

  • Be Your Own Boss Pitch Competition for students and recent alumni will occur in the Winter of 2023
  • Goodman Gold Challenge (Winter 2023)
  • Voyageur’s Den Innovation Challenge will be planned in the fall of 2023 with a call for proposals.  Three groups will be selected to pitch their innovation to the “Voyageurs” in the Winter of 2024.
  • The Office of the Vice-President, Research will launch a call for its Excellence in Innovation Award in the Fall of 2023.  The selection committee will deliberate in late 2023 with the award scheduled to be announced at Research Week in 2024.
  • Establish the 51 Advisory Committee for Entrepreneurship and Innovation with membership from 51 staff, faculty and students in addition to members of the Greater Sudbury innovation ecosystem (Fall 2023)

The overall goal of the Commercialization Mandate Policy Framework (CMPF) is to help postsecondary institutions become more intentional in the generation, management, protection and commercialization of IP for the benefit of Ontario’s economy and long-term competitiveness.

For the purposes of this document, “IP development and commercialization success” is broadly defined as actions, activities and/or partnerships that can help further this goal, by:

  • Improving IP capacity at postsecondary institutions through programming, training and information related to IP; and,
  • Increasing commercialization opportunities for IP developed at or supported by the postsecondary institutions.

As identified in the Year 1 Annual Commercialization Plans (ACP) and summarized in IPON’s report, it is clear that while each institution has a unique starting point and capacity to undertake research, innovation, and commercialization activities, Ontario’s colleges and universities are making concerted efforts in their commitment to the objectives of the CMPF, regardless of whether this was previously an institutional focus. It is also evident that the sector is undertaking important work to maximize the value of the IP generated through Ontario-based research.

As noted earlier in this document, your institution is required to publish this section, supplementing the Year 1 ACP information your institution has already posted. The objective is to deepen understanding of the work underway, showcase success and inform best practices. The ministry understands that each institution will complete this section based on their own individual context, area of focus, strength, and progress and that “success” will be differently interpreted and defined on this basis. 

Q. Describe your institution’s greatest IP development and/or commercialization success over the Year 2 reporting period, whether it is through programmatic/policy development or a specific case study.

51’s first year commercialization plan focused on three actions, intellectual property education; engagement with private sector, research and innovation intermediaries; and engagement with our university community and innovation ecosystem.

With regard to intellectual property education, three learning sessions were hosted by the Office of Research Services between September and April. Students from a number of disciplines at the graduate and undergraduate levels, including psychology, business administration, engineering and computer science, participated in these in-person sessions. In addition, a general “IP 101” overview was presented through a service partner during an industry-academic mixer event held in the Fielding Innovation Space. These educational sessions were complimented by one-on-one consultations between the Director, Research and Innovation and various faculty and students.

Engagement with the private sector and innovation intermediaries was greatly facilitated through provincial funding. In 2023 51, in partnership with Lakehead, Nipissing and Trent Universities, was successfully awarded funding from Intellectual Property Ontario under a pilot program targeted at enhancing post-secondary commercialization efforts while driving economic growth.  The objective of the Northern and Rural Innovation Cluster (NRIC) was to inventory and highlight the collective research assets of the institutions to demonstrate the range of capabilities and resources available for collaboration in critical minerals, cleantech and electric vehicle technologies. During the project period, Laurentian and its partners held a number of workshops, networking, and connector events with the goal of augmenting intellectual property literacy within both their own institutions as well as with community partner organizations, while facilitating access to intellectual property services.  Upon completion of the project, the NRIC published an which inventoried and itemized key assets and areas of expertise within the institutions as well as a high-level overview of supporting non-government organizations that are critically important to the development of innovation within these sectors. 

Efforts continue to foster intellectual property, entrepreneurship and innovation engagement both within the University itself and the greater community ecosystem.  The Office of Research Services, through the Jim Fielding Innovation Space and its associated The Foundry programming, hosted a number of educational sessions and guest speakers with the goal of initiating an interest in entrepreneurship and a culture of learning, collaboration, and innovation.  A recent highlight was the Voyageurs’ Innovation Challenge during the University’s 2024 Research Week. This annual competition boasted 6 competitive teams composed of faculty and students from diverse and multidisciplinary research backgrounds. Sponsored by a community partner, the event is judged by industry and local partners and draws a large viewing crowd showcasing innovation and connecting the academic an industrial communities.

Further, The Foundry continued to lead, and participate in, innovation activities with its partners including the hosting of Innovation for a Greater Sudbury and Sudbury Innovation Alliance meetings, being an active partner, sponsor and host facility for a Google Developer Groups Sudbury codefest, and leading the coordination of Sudbury’s innovation ecosystem presence at the Ontario Centres of Innovation’s Discovery X. Finally, the Director, Research and Innovation, continues to be an active volunteer in the university commercialization community as a steering committee member for both AUTM Canada and the Ontario Research and Innovation Alliance. 

51 is proud to partner on the Northern and Rural Innovation Cluster with Lakehead, Nipissing and Trent Universities to support IP literacy and access to intellectual property services both on our campus and within our communities. This initiative is funded by (IPON), a provincial agency launched in 2022 by the Government of Ontario to provide trusted IP support and services to enable Ontario businesses and researchers to innovate and grow.

Do you have an idea, technology or invention and need help understanding how IP can protect and scale your business? IPON works directly with clients, including industry, researchers, and entrepreneurs, to better understand how to protect and maximize the value of their IP, strengthen their capacity to grow and compete in the market, and advance the province’s economic growth.

Their services and support are available for free to all, including an and learning sessions that take place in-person or online. Client services include funding of up to $25,000, one-on-one mentorship opportunities and numerous tailored services for innovators across the province.

To access 51 intellectual property services, contact Gisele Roberts, Director of Research & Innovation, at groberts@laurentian.ca


  •  - Science and Innovation Canada

  •  - Government of Canada

  •  - Governement of Canada

  • (IPON) - Government of Ontario

    • (self-guided course)

    •  (overview of IP organizations, services and support available across Ontario)