NRC IRAP IP Assist Program

What is an IP Assist Program?

If you are the owner of a small or medium-sized Canadian business and need assistance with intellectual property issues, you may be eligible for financial support from the Government of Canada. The National Research Council (NRC) has introduced the IP Assist program through their Innovation Research Assistance Program (IRAP) as part of Canada’s commitment to support Canadian businesses in technology development and intellectual property protection. 

Why is it important for Canadian startups and SMEs?

The Government of Canada is prioritizing awareness of, support for & protection of Intellectual Property (IP) to Canadian SMEs. Accordingly, IRAP has developed targeted advisory services to help SME clients develop an IP strategy for their innovative product and services. IRAP has launched this IP advisory service (IP Assist) with the goal to increase IP awareness, increase IP management knowledge by leveraging different types of IP Support for IP strategy development for increased revenue growth (CAGR) of firms receiving IP Assist resources. 

IP Assist is intended to empower Canadian businesses to better protect and leverage their intellectual property to achieve business objectives. IP Assist supports SMEs in improving their intellectual property capabilities by providing educational opportunities and supporting access to IP professionals for certain IP-related services.

How IP Assist Works – Stages of IP Assist Program?

If you are already an IRAP client, reach out to your IRAP representative – Industrial Technology Advisor (ITA) and mention that a comprehensive IP strategy through the IP Assist program could help your startup develop a strong IP portfolio of various IP Assets including Patents, Trademarks, designs, and Copyrights. Further mentioning that the IP Strategy would also help identify potential competitors to your business and future collaborators through IP Landscape analysis. If you do not have an ITA, reach out to us and we can guide you through the process.

Once your ITA gives you a go ahead, designate an individual at your firm who will “lead” the project from your firm for defining your IP strategy, summarize the project in the IP Assist Proposal template, and obtain a quote from an IP professional for the services you need. Submit the proposal and quote from the IP professional or contractor firm for approval to your ITA. Once approved, the funding is formalized through the IRAP contribution agreement.

The IP Assist program works in three stages:

Stage 1: IP Knowledge and Awareness 

Your IRAP ITA will discuss with you about the IP requirements and potential IP strategies best suitable for your business, product or technology. ITAs are really helpful in providing resources for basic understanding of type of IP Assets and importance of an IP Strategy for your business. 

Stage 2: IP Strategy Development (up to 20K)

After stage 1 discussions, your ITA will ask you to fill the IP Assist proposal form and get a quote from a contractor firm for one or more of the following activities :

  1. IP Audit and IP Strategy – to obtain an overview of your IP assets, and a recommended strategy on how to best protect your IP assets through a variety of measures including (but not limited to) copyrights, trademarks, patents, and internal procedures
  2. Background art search 
  3. Competitive analysis 
  4. IP landscape to identify technology whitespaces and potential competitors (Small projects)

(We can help you fill the IP Assist proposal and provide a quote for our services)

Stage 3: Implementation of developed IP Strategy in Stage 2 (up to 20K)

Once the IP strategy for your firm  is defined with the help of a contractor, IRAP IP Assist can help you with an additional $20K fund to support specific IP related action defined in your strategic plan including:

  1. Trademark clearance searches 
  2. IP landscape Analysis 
  3. Prior art search and analysis 
  4. Patentability analysis 
  5. Out-licensing strategy development 
  6. Detailed Competitive analysis 
  7. Review of trademark and branding strategies

What is not covered through IP Assist?

  • The costs for the drafting and prosecution of patents, patent office costs, or patent annuity fees.
  • Fees due to national patent offices, including but not limited to patent filing fees, examination fees, and annuity/maintenance fees
  • File management costs, whether internal to the firm or due to external service providers
  • Freedom-to-operate opinion costs
  • Infringement and validity opinion costs
  • Memberships or subscriptions, conference fees

How much funding can you get?

You can get up to $20,000 for stage 2, and another $20,000 for stage 3. The program covers 75% of contractor cost and 80% of the direct salary cost of team member(s) who would be spending time on this project. 

How can we help?

We have a team of seasoned patent analysts and attorneys, who have experience working with startups and SMEs since the conception of the IP Assist program. We have worked with 12+ Canadian startups on their IP strategy development through IRAP’s IP Assist program. Our team delivered IP strategy reports along with all the necessary recommendations. Our relationships with these startups have transformed into full scale IP consulting services and are proud to be trusted partners in their journeys.

If you are interested in learning more about IRAP’s IP Assist program, please feel free to connect with us at We’ll be happy to help you develop and implement an IP strategy tailored to your specific needs and future plans for your business.

Canada Government’s other Intellectual Property Assistance Programs

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