— It’s a tough time to be a Canadian startup, especially for an upstart.
The digital age has transformed the way business is done and has made it more difficult to be on top of the latest technology and make money.
A growing number of startups are being forced to rethink their operations to stay competitive.
The new rules governing digital and intellectual property in Canada, however, are making life harder for many companies, including those that were born out of the digital era.
“The government’s new rules are taking away the competitive edge of the internet, which is what startups need,” says Paul Wojcik, chief executive of The Open Group, a technology consulting firm.
Wojcek says companies are losing money because the government is putting restrictions on where they can operate, restrict their product offerings and restrict their marketing budgets.
“If they want to survive and compete, they’re going to have to adapt to a new world,” he says.
Wozniak, whose company, the Internet of Things, is building smart thermostats for the home, says that’s why the government needs to loosen up the rules, particularly in the digital realm.
“I think there’s a need to have a more inclusive approach in this,” he said.
The government says the rules are needed because the digital economy is changing so quickly, but it’s not clear how the rules will play out in practice.
In October, the Canadian Intellectual Property Office said the rules were needed to ensure a level playing field for Canadian startups in the booming digital economy.
While the regulations are meant to make sure innovation stays on track and prevents patent trolls, critics say they’re actually limiting innovation.
“It’s very hard to compete against the best in the world in the current economy,” says David Janssen, a partner at the law firm, RBC, who specializes in intellectual property law.
“This is going to create more pressure to innovate.”
Critics say the rules put companies at a disadvantage, with fewer options and a limited amount of information to choose from.
That’s why many are raising concerns that the rules have the potential to hurt Canada’s competitiveness in the global digital economy, where the U.S. is leading the way.
Canada is home to some of the most prominent technology firms in the country, including Google and Amazon, as well as a growing number in the U