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Intellectual property policy summary

Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) is committed to promoting the use, dissemination and deployment of its intellectual property (IP) assets to achieve social, security, environmental and economic benefits for Canadians. This includes making IP assets available for use in collaborations with external parties, supporting open science by making IP assets accessible when it is in the public interest to do so, and pursuing commercial opportunities for IP assets to contribute to the economic growth and prosperity for Canadians.

Ownership and Collaboration

NRCan is also committed to open innovation and collaboration to share information with other government departments, municipal, territorial, and provincial governments, international organizations, academia and the private sector. NRCan will obtain permission to use the IP assets of external parties.

NRCan’s management of its IP assets is guided by federal legislation, regulations and policies. Ownership of IP remains with the Crown when it is created by NRCan employees while acting within the scope of their duties or employment, made with facilities, equipment, or financial resources provided by or on behalf of NRCan. Intellectual Property created under certain procurement contracts may also at times vest with the Crown.

Ownership and usage rights for background and arising IP for NRCan and external parties will be identified and protected in NRCan agreements.

NRCan does not normally transfer ownership of its IP assets. In extremely rare circumstances, Ministerial approval may be sought to do so when it achieves NRCan’s mandate.


NRCan may grant under license to external parties the right to use, fabricate, reproduce, publish, and / or commercialize NRCan IP assets when it is determined to be appropriate for the circumstances. Licencing will be done in a fair, equitable and transparent manner, reflecting the uniqueness of each opportunity.

NRCan may provide a no fee license when appropriate, to grant rights to users under open access publishing and on open data platforms. The department may also negotiate licenses with commercial entities to pursue scale-up funding, broadly deploying technologies to help realize commercial success.


NRCan will be diligent in enforcing its rights when there is unauthorized use of its IP assets. Reasonable efforts will be made to resolve issues through discussion and negotiations, and other means such as litigation may be employed to protect the Crown’s rights.


For questions or further information, please contact NRCan’s Intellectual Property Division (IPD).

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