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Intellectual Property (IP) concerns the creation of a knowledge-based product. You cannot "own" ideas in your head, they must in a tangible form, such as:
Then they become intellectual property, and are protected by laws.
If you’re a Canadian citizen, the Canada Patent Act and the Canada Copyright Act cover you. Learn more about this legislation from the Canadian Intellectual Property Office.
The act contains the relevant legislation and law concerning copyright and patents. If you're an international student and/or not a Canadian citizen, you may not be protected under Canadian copyright law.
There are different applications of IP, depending on your employer.
1. If you’re employed by the University of Waterloo, you’re subject to
2. If you’re employed by an off-campus employer:
Policy 73 states that ownership of IP rights for the products of teaching and research activities belong to the creator(s) of these activities, with three important exceptions:
Regardless of who owns the Intellectual Property, contributors should receive appropriate recognition.
If you’ve prepared reports or drawings, your name should be included in the documents. However, for some items (such as technical manuals, software, or advertising copy) it may be unreasonable for the creator to be identified.
Before you begin work, review your employer’s IP policies, which are usually outlined in the employment contract.
In many engineering firms, employees sign a contract giving all Intellectual Property rights to the employer. Many contracts also include a non-disclosure agreement; you may not discuss any employer-related information that isn’t publicly known, during or after a work term with anyone external to your employer.
If you develop an invention while working on an employer's invention, disclose this information and have your invention excluded from the employment contract.
If you’re already employed and didn’t mention a potential conflict of interest, speak to a lawyer. The conflict could be interpreted as breach of company confidentiality or as theft of Intellectual Property.
Thanks to Gordon Andrews, Associate Chair, Mechanical Engineering, University of Waterloo for assistance with this section.
Andrews, G.A., Aplevich, J.D., Fraser, R.A., Ratz, H.C., 2002. Introduction to Professional Engineering in Canada . Prentice Hall Pearson Education, Toronto. Ch 17
Ellis, S.A., Weir, J.D., 1997. Critical Concepts of Canadian Business Law . Addison Wesley. Ch. 14
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