Intellectual property (IP) is an important economic asset that incentivises innovation and fosters secure conditions for investment, research and development and trade. In an uncertain and diverse world, we aim to provide an accessible, balanced, and effective IP system to help Australians and our regional neighbours prosper from good ideas.
Each year, we release our Australian Intellectual Property Report which presents the latest statistics on the use of registered IP rights in Australia, and what that means in Australia’s global economic context. The 2022 Australian Intellectual Property Report shows applications for patents, trade marks and design rights all reached record highs in 2021. Patenting by Australian Small and Medium Size Enterprises (SMEs) reached its highest level in at least a decade, with strong growth in patents for computer and audiovisual technology, as COVID-19 forced organisations to digitise their operations. Trade marks – which businesses use to announce new offerings – have surged for household products and telecommunication services with the shift to remote work. We expect to see these upward trends continue and with it the demand for our services. To meet this demand, we will embed innovation in our agency to identify emerging needs and opportunities, and invest in our IT infrastructure, systems, processes and people to administer the IP rights system as efficiently and effectively as we can.
Digital information systems are more important than ever and provide a powerful platform for IP Australia to interact with our customers, who expect leading-edge online services to facilitate their use of the IP system. We aim to position IP Australia as a Government leader in digital services and leverage our knowledge and expertise to add value to the IP system, both at home and abroad. We will ensure continued improvements to our customer and corporate systems through sound investment, and deliver programs that continue to transform IP Australia into a customer-centric and delivery-focused agency.
Data is central to how we work and what we do. We are increasingly using data and smart analytics to innovate and find efficiencies in how we conduct our work. This includes improved methods to analyse the data we collect, and provide ongoing data offerings to help inform Government, businesses, and researchers. Our data and economic research allow us to develop robust evidence to support reforms to the IP system to reflect changing technology and business needs.
Indigenous Knowledge is an important asset belonging to Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people, their communities and their organisations or businesses. Indigenous Knowledge can reflect and identify a community’s history, cultural and social identity and its values. IP Australia has heard from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples that the current IP system does not support the protection of Indigenous Knowledge, including cultural expressions. Through our Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), we aim to make the IP system more accessible to the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Our RAP shows our commitment to progressing reconciliation with real actions that ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are fully considered within the IP system and the broader community to build a more inclusive, united, and prosperous Australia.
There will be an ongoing role for IP Australia to support Australian business to create value and benefit from the IP system. Our partnerships with Government agencies, universities, local chambers of commerce and local business accelerators help promote the value of IP to business and inventors, so they can make informed decisions about their IP. We will continue to look for innovative ways to promote increased awareness of the IP system through targeted education and awareness programs demonstrating the value of the IP system and how it can support business growth and innovation.