This article explores ownership rights, conditions for successful startups and the role post-secondary institutions play in community development.

Getting Started

Appropriate Subject Area(s):

Marketing, entrepreneurship, business administration, patents

Key Questions to Explore:

  • What does it mean to be an innovation-friendly economy?
Study and Discussion Activity

Introduction to lesson and task:

This lesson explores the role of post-secondary institutions in economic development and the rights of startups housed within an incubator.

New terminology

Clean-energy technology, patented intellectual property, wrongfully misappropriated, patent infringement, principal investigator, co-inventors, technology commercialization, provisional patent, sponsored research

Action (lesson plan and task):

  1. Distribute the article for reading.
  2. In pairs, have students create a mini-dictionary of the key terms above.
  3. Combining pairs, have students create a timeline of activity outlined in the article.
  4. Using the W3 tool, have students discuss:
    1. What did they observe, acknowledge, learn, by creating the timeline?
    2. Why is this information essential to the case?
    3. What next? What do they recommend as next steps for Salient? For the University of Waterloo?

Consolidation of Learning:

  • Ask students to develop a win-win scenario for this situation and one that can be applied to others in the future.
Success and Additional Learning

Success Criteria:

  • Students understand the implications of patented intellectual property.

Confirming Activity:

  • In pairs, have students select one of the key terms and research and identify other applications.  Combine pairs to share the learning.

(*Note: The lawsuit was later settled — see here: