by Chuck Black
While some, as represented by the August 15th, 2014 Globe and Mail article “Is there an innovation gap in Canada?” question whether our great white north is even able to bring new and innovative ideas to market; others, like those behind the Alberta based Stonecracker Scientific Legal Network, think the real issue is simply getting the right support people to build upon existing and acknowledged Canadian expertise.
At least that’s the perspective advanced by Stonecracker founding partner Kevin Wong.
According to Wong, innovation is all about the collaboration needed to pull together the different and disparate elements needed for the final deal. “The science might be bang on; the accounting might be spotless but millions of dollars could be lost over an improper or lost intellectual property (IP) application,” he said, during a recent interview.
Wong stresses that a successful initiative also requires four disparate areas of law (IP, corporate, tax and international) in order for the initial innovation to be commercialized and rolled out to markets.
And this is where Stonecracker can lend its expertise. According to Wong, Stonecracker is the only law firm which specializes in research and development tax credit claim preparation, one of the essential legal pillars protecting and encouraging innovation under Canadian law.
The lawyers work along-side highly qualified engineers, scientists, technical and finance/tax experts who thrive on complex R&D tax problems, scenarios, and situations that few preparers can comfortably handle solo.
According to Wong, this allows Stonecracker to make connections in disparate areas which might not be apparent to specialized organizations. An example would be some of the recent changes to both tax legislation and the IRB program allow for new, unprecedented opportunity to combine the SR&ED program, and the IRB program, to create substantially higher benefits than either program can achieve on its own
“Large prime contractors are eating this up,” according to Wong because it allows them to build out their supply chain at a lower cost.
But the word still needs to get out to the smaller start-ups who might not be aware of the new situation. With a little bit of luck, the team from Stonecracker are doing their best to change this.