Published: 
26 April 2022

The 10th Annual Australian Intellectual Property Report presents a rich account of the latest IP trends in Australia. Intellectual property (IP) rights facilitate creativity, innovation and the diffusion of ideas. They enable progress in science and technology and support commercialisation. IP data provides an important lens across the state of the economy and how the economy is changing. 

The latest IP trends illustrate how Australians have adapted to change in our social and work environment during COVID-19. Record applications for patent, trade mark and design rights were filed in 2021 with patents increasing in technology areas that support remote work and interaction. Trade marks and designs have surged for household equipment, as Australians have invested to improve their homes. 

The report finds that participation in patenting by small and medium enterprise has reached its highest level in at least a decade. It features evidence, using data on Australian small enterprise, that IP rights are an important tool for creating high-growth businesses. 

Access the full 2022 IP Report as a downloadable PDF. 

Margaret Tregurtha, Deputy Director-General Policy and Corporate Division, introduces the 2022 Australian IP Report and its key findings.

Patents 

In 2021, a record high 32,397 standard patent applications were filed in Australia, an 11% increase on 2020 filings as innovations have increased in Australia and internationally.  

Demand has surged in pharmaceuticals patent filings, given the need for novel vaccines and treatments, as well as computer and audio-visual technology, as the economy has moved to a virtual model.  

Read Chapter 2: Patents 

Trade marks 

A record total of 88,725 trade mark applications were filed in Australia, up 9% on 2020. This demonstrates strong domestic economic activity as businesses and individuals create new brands when pursuing growth opportunities. The report shows how IP data can provide real-time insight into changing economic conditions. 

Read Chapter 3: Trade marks 

Design Rights 

Design applications in Australia grew 13% in 2021, the steepest year-on-year growth observed over the past decade, reaching a record 8,115 applications. The chapter highlights reforms underway to broaden access to IP for Australian designers. 

Read Chapter 4: Designs 

Plant Breeder’s Rights 

PBR applications were down 6% (297) on 2020 likely due to environmental stressors. Chapter 5 presents early findings from IP Australia's PBR reform program. Australian applicants for PBRs contribute around $13 billion in revenue per year and employ 78,000 full-time workers.  

Read Chapter 5: Plant Breeder's Rights 

Copyright 

Copyright has a central role in content-based industries as a driver of economic value. Content industries contribute about $124 billion to the Australian economy annually. Since the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, people have been spending more time at home, leading them to consume more online content.  

Read Chapter 6: Copyright 

IP and Enterprise Growth 

IP rights provide a vital set of tools for innovation, entrepreneurship and for creating high-growth businesses. IP Australia has conducted research to understand the role of registered IP rights (patents, trade marks and designs) in the growth of Australian small and medium enterprise (SMEs). Australian SMEs that file for registered IP rights employ more people and are more likely to achieve high growth 

Read Chapter 7: IP Rights and enterprise growth 

Research Program 

This section provides a thorough overview of the advanced research and analytical capability of IP Australia, including the Office of Chief Economist (OCE), Patent Analytics Hub and the Centre for Data Excellence. 

Read Chapter 8: Research program 

 

To read more on these findings and the trends IP filing statistics, view each chapter or download the PDF of the Report