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Montreal’s Notman House enters final funding stage

By Francis Moran Montreal's Notman House

For the past couple of years, with more than a little envy that we haven’t a similar facility here in Ottawa, I have been watching Notman House in Montreal slowly coalesce as a critical locus for that city’s startup, entrepreneur and diverse geek, maker and hacker communities.

For those not familiar with Notman, it’s a rambling old rabbit warren of a place that was built in the mid-1800s and, until 1991, was operated as a hospital for the terminally ill. More recently, the OSMO Foundation, a group of community-minded people, has opened the house up to the broader startup community. In the last year alone, the house has hosted more than 125 events, including user group meet-ups hackathons, and learning events, been home to over 50 startups, and been visited by over 10,000 entrepreneurs, investors, students and others involved in the growing Montreal tech scene. The OSMO Foundation has been trying to raise the funds necessary to build and refurbish both the main building and a large, even more dilapidated, brick building behind it, and operate them as a not-for-profit hub for Montreal’s startup community. This week, they announced they are within $100,000 of completing their fundraising goal, and they’re asking for community support to get them over the finish line.

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Apple versus Samsung – Every patent owner’s dream

By David French

On August 24, 2012 a California jury issued a decision awarding just more than $1 billion to Apple against three Samsung Electronics companies. This ranks among the top patent awards in U.S. history.  But the case is not over. The final decision, once settled by the judge, will be subject to appeal to the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington. In other mega-patent cases this court has been proactive in terms of adjusting decisions, even those supported by a jury verdict.

On December 6, 2012 an important hearing before trial judge Lucy H. Koh will occur. Samsung has the right and will request the court to render a judgment notwithstanding the verdict issued by the jury, requesting dismissal of the action. This type of procedure is permitted and has occurred in the past, particularly where the jury’s conclusions are so unreasonable as to be perverse. But this is not likely to happen, subject to one new twist: one of the jurors who led the jury in its debates did not fully disclose his special interest and knowledge about patents when questioned before being allowed to join the jury.

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Great articles roundup: Leaky buckets, evil marketing, midnight tokers, affording business and social media fragmentation

By Alexandra Reid

As a regular feature, we provide our readers with a roundup of some of the best articles we have read in the past week. On the podium this week are Gabriel Weinberg, Mark Evans, David Crow, Amber Naslund, and James Carson.

Leaky bucket vs power law problems

Gabriel Weinberg offers a great analogy for the kinds of problems startups can face. Is your startup addressing a leaky bucket or a power law problem?

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SoLoMo: How governments are engaging their constituents

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My firm, has developed a meaningful relationship as a supplier of mobile applications to governments at the municipal and federal level over the past two years. Given the integration of social and location-based information into our applications, we have been the defacto leader in implementing what is termed SoLoMo (or Social, Mobile, Local) with these institutions and borne witness to their trials and successes in leveraging mobile technology to engage with their constituents.

SoLoMo:

Powered by open dataThe past four years have seen an incredible demand for governments to move towards “open data,” whereby they can stream municipal and federal data into the public’s hands permitting them to create “mashup” applications that, for example, can juxtapose police crime reports against neighborhood maps. And while I always suspected that neighbor who never mowed his lawn or opened his curtains was growing weed in his basement, open data managed to confirm it! This mashup trend first materialized on websites, and over the past two years, as mobile devices became the preferred mechanism for accessing the Internet, has become the basis of mobile application contests. Here the municipality or government runs a competition to see who can make the best mobile application out of the open data sources they have released to the public.

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Government incentive programs set for major shakeup

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The eyes of the Canadian commercialization ecosystem will be focused sharply on Toronto and Ottawa this week as the Ontario and federal governments bring down new budgets that are expected to considerably reshape broad programs of industrial, research and business incentives in each jurisdiction..

At the federal level, where the budget arrives Thursday, the main concern will be around the future of the Scientific Research and Experimental Development tax credit, a widely used program that accounts for well more than half of Ottawa’s annual $7-billion support for research and development. More than 24,000 companies every year underwrite at least part of their operations through this refundable tax credit that gets paid out whether the company is profitable or not. The fear is that the federal government will follow the advice of the Expert Panel Review of the Federal Support to Research and Development, a task force that suggested SR&ED be scaled back and the savings redirected into more direct funding of research.

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