Does an organizations intellectual property belong to the organization itself ?
That depends on how much of the intelectual property was funded using taxpayer dollars. The amount of ownership should depend on the percentage of government grants that the organization used to to build the intelectual property in the first place.
If the Canadian government hands out billions of dollars to a Canadian company and assists that company in developing their intellectual property with R&D tax credits, tax grants, and EDC loans, then that property is NOT, and should not belong to the sole domain of the organization itself. Technically, the Canadian tax payer helped fund the business. As long as the business remains in Canadian hands then the property belongs to the owner / shareholder. And as soon as the assets are sold to outside foreign interests then this property should revert, (as a percentage of the total amount “donated”) back to the Canadian taxpayer. Furthermore, there should be laws in place that protect the Canadian taxpayer as a secured creditor in the event of a foreign sale or bankruptcy.
The US government is standing in line with their hands open, waiting for their billions in proceeds from Nortel’s bankruptcy sale.
Where is the Canadian government and why aren’t they protecting Canada’s interests in the Nortel debacle ?
At this point it’s probably too late to deal with the Nortel issue – they’re done. But, this philosophical discussion should be happening at senior levels of our bureauracy.
Why am I bringing this up ?
I read a post on AllAboutNortel.com yesterday, and I quote Mark Evans:
Second, the federal government made the right decision when it decided not to review the Ericsson’s deal. The CDMA business was not of “national interest” so it made little sense to review it.
Mark references a Bloomberg article which states Michael Ignatieff as follows:
Canada needs an investment law “that protects our national interests” Liberal Party Leader Michael Ignatieff said today at a speech in Toronto. Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper “dropped the ball” when the government declined to review Ericsson AB’s purchase of some Nortel assets, Ignatieff said.
Mark – YOU ARE WRONG. Canada made the WRONG decision when it decided not to review the Ericsson deal. This is Canada’s asset – it belongs in many respects to the Canadian tax payer. Well, not entirely, but, we are entitled to our fair share of this asset. We should be waiting in line, ahead of all of the other creditors. We should be protecting our intellectual asset, and if it gets pilfered in a bankruptcy then we should review the process.
Don’t you think ?