Operating environment

As we move to a more globalised and knowledge-based economy, IP is the backbone of most high value enterprises. Intangible assets now make up the majority of the value of leading global companies and many local companies.

Businesses and markets acknowledge the extent to which IP underwrites their value. We see this in the level of company value ascribed to IP assets when companies are sold or invested in. We see it in the range of legal actions relating to IP (particularly by large technology companies) demonstrating a determination to protect their intellectual assets. We also see it in the international trade agenda, where IP is increasingly a key focus of negotiations.

Within governments also there is an increased awareness that IP is an important economic asset which can generate growth, jobs and innovation by encouraging trade, investment, research and development, and technology diffusion. This leads to a greater focus on developing and implementing policies to attract and retain IP and capture benefit.

It is critical that the IP system in Australia adapts to this changing landscape to serve Australian innovation and business both at home and abroad.

A fit-for-purpose Australian Public Service

In 2018 the Government announced an independent review of the Australian Public Service (APS) to ensure the APS is fit-for-purpose for the coming decades. The review has been tasked with examining the capability, culture and operating model of the APS, to ensure the future APS is agile, innovative, adaptable and an employer of choice, delivering high quality policy advice, regulatory oversight, programs and services.

The review’s draft report was released in March 2019. The draft report recognises the opportunities that enhanced use of data, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and automation present and a growing expectation from citizens for personalised and automated delivery of services. Through our IT Strategy 2020 we are well placed to embrace the new technologies and IT skills necessary to meet customer expectations in an increasingly digital and data-driven world.

When the final report is delivered, later in 2019, we will work with colleagues across the APS to implement the recommendations and build an APS that is fit-for-purpose into the future.

Global demand for IP rights continues to rise

The Australia Intellectual Property (IP) Report 2019 indicates that Australians are increasingly using the IP system and there is growing demand for all four IP rights. The report shows a record number of trade mark applications in 2018, with Australian residents as the majority of applicants. However, the number of applications overall is growing due to an increasing number of non-residents applying. In contrast, the majority of applications for standard patents were from non-residents.

In line with the potential provided by global markets, businesses are now increasingly likely to file for IP protection outside of their country of origin and register an IP right with multiple IP offices. Australians file many more applications for IP rights overseas than in Australia, reflecting a healthy interest in entering export markets.

In response to this environment IP Australia seeks to facilitate trade and engagement opportunities for Australian firms and pursue strategies that contribute to a more consistent global operating environment.

Technology drives fast-paced change and opens opportunities

Hand in hand with economic globalisation we continue to witness huge technological change. Technologies including artificial intelligence, big data, the internet of things, advanced robotics and biomedical developments such as CRISPR technology will lead to fundamental change over coming decades. They promise to reshape business, markets and the workforce.

Some of these new technologies will also have an impact on the way we manage the IP system itself, e.g. Blockchain or distributed ledger technology, which could potentially provide a basis for alternative IP trading platforms.

Rapid developments in device connectivity, computing power, artificial intelligence and data capacity are fuelling growth in digital technologies, with implications for IP functions and processes. Digital technologies provide us with options for more efficient administration, examination, monitoring and enforcement of IP rights.

The way we interact with each other has also increasingly moved online. Customers expect leading-edge online services to facilitate their use of the IP system. Digital service platforms are more important than ever and provide a powerful platform for us to interact with our customers.

IP Australia is pursuing the opportunities presented by these developments, as they rapidly transform business and policy environments with the potential for both positive and disruptive change.

We are increasingly utilising smart analytics and improved data holdings to innovate and find efficiencies in how we conduct our work and improved methods to gain insights on our data. We aim to position IP Australia at the leading edge of technology and leverage our knowledge and expertise to add value to the IP system both at home and abroad.

Stakeholders are central to our priorities

IP Australia has a wide range of stakeholders, as set out below. Our activities reflect a balance between the needs and aspirations of our direct customers and those of our wider stakeholder group, to ensure Australians benefit from great ideas.

We have an important role in the Government’s innovation agenda, where we work to support businesses to capture the benefits of their entrepreneurship and innovation, and so contribute to growth and job creation.

It is also important we work closely with international stakeholders to facilitate a conducive environment for trade, investment and technology transfer. Our approach is to focus on collaboration and engagement with stakeholders to improve our effectiveness and performance.