Last updated: 
17 July 2018

Download the PDF iconIP Australia Corporate Plan 2018-2019 in PDF format [3 MB]


Accountable Authority introduction

As Director General and Accountable Authority for IP Australia, I am pleased to present our 2018-19 Corporate Plan, which is presented as required under paragraph 35(1) of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013. The Plan outlines the action we will take over the next four years to deliver on our vision of creating a world leading Intellectual Property (IP) system building prosperity for Australia.

The Corporate Plan is presented in the context of our Strategic Roadmap to 2030. IP Australia has been exploring future drivers of change in the IP landscape and has developed a long-term roadmap to position us to adapt and respond to future challenges and opportunities. This roadmap (see pp 5-7) sets out our commitments and aspirations over three four-year horizons. Horizon one is covered by this Corporate Plan.

The effective and efficient administration of IP rights continues to be the cornerstone of our business. In 2018-19 we will continue to focus on improving our quality and productivity performance. This includes reviewing our quality standards to ensure they drive positive change in our business and trialing new performance-setting arrangements for examiners to boost motivation and productivity. Our performance will be underpinned by effective workforce planning that enables us to build a flexible, skilled and highly productive workforce which focuses on the needs of our customers.

We are also moving to activity-based working in both our Canberra and Melbourne offices. This will be underpinned by a major refit of our Woden headquarters to create a more flexible and effective working environment for our staff. Completion of this project will take two years and will facilitate more agile and innovative approaches to our work.

As we enter 2018-19, IP Australia is driving a multi-year program of legislative change designed to ensure a more effective and balanced IP system. Our focus is on implementing the Government’s response to the recent Productivity Commission review of IP. The first of two Bills to implement this has now been introduced into Parliament while preparation of the second Bill is underway.

We are embarked on a process to fix, modernise and transform our ICT systems, deliver smart tools for our staff and enhance customer services. Late 2018 will see delivery of our new Rights in One administration system for trade marks, while planning for replacement of our patents administration system will get underway in early 2019. Our Data Matters strategy continues to drive improvements in the quality and usefulness of our data holdings with benefits for operations, policy and research.

We continue to be active on the international front, promoting international harmonization of IP arrangements and supporting Australia’s trade facilitation agenda with relevant IP advice and support.

In the year ahead we will deliver outcomes in the following areas: implementation of changes flowing from passage of the Intellectual Property Laws Amendment (Productivity Commission Response Part 1 and Other Measures) Bill 2018; updated quality standards for IP rights; better digital services for our customers; new technology-enabled business processes to improve efficiency; and ongoing improvements to our data management and value-added services for customers.

We are building our capacity and international reputation as a trusted IP office delivering robust IP rights, staffed by skilled and engaged people and leveraging cutting-edge technology to deliver outcomes for our customers and stakeholders.

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OPERATIONAL EXCELLENCE

High performing core business and internal operations

Quality and productivity

  • Define high quality for IP Rights, construct a baseline and ensure our quality system supports the definition
  • Identify priority work in IP Rights and improve its quality to international best-practice level
  • Implement revised performance setting and incentivisation arrangements to motivate staff in production areas to improve productivity, quality and timeliness

Workforce

  • Deliver the Future Way of Working program (FWOW) to enable flexible and efficient working arrangements, underpinned by supportive technology and fit-for-purpose workspaces
  • Develop and embed strategic workforce planning that informs group and whole-of-agency approaches to recruitment, retention and staff transition/development
  • Negotiate an industrial framework that supports our future way of working and our aspiration to be an employer of choice

Revenue and investment

  • Finalise significant once-in-a decade investments (FWOW), Rights In One (RIO) and utilise cash reserves via small operating losses. Fee review 2019-20
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SERVICE EXCELLENCE

High performing customer services that support our core business

Technology and business processes

  • Develop automated processing and guided-decision making capabilities for IP Rights processing that meet stakeholder expectations, are supported by legislative change and deliver improved cost effectiveness
  • Utilise technology solutions (AI, smart use of data etc) to enhance customer experiences, including improving the immediacy, reliability and connectedness of external-facing services
  • Deliver improved B2B and eServices solutions based on APIs
  • Review and optimise our business processes and implement smart systems that improve our efficiency and deliver resources for re-investment
  • Deliver a new platform to improve Trade Marks rights processing (RIO for TM)
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VALUE ADD

Our expertise is leveraged to deliver value to the Australian IP system, stakeholders and broader economy

Stakeholder services

  • Explore opportunities to expand export support, including through partnering with others, to provide IP information to Australian businesses seeking to operate in global markets
  • Identify and maximise opportunities to provide value-added products and services and explore options to support effective mechanisms for IP Rights enforcement
  • Develop a revised strategy and priorities for public awareness and education, that maximise the impact of our investment

Data

  • Curate and utilise our data resources in order to better support operational effectiveness and customer service
  • Position IP Australia as a global leader in IP data provision and analysis

Policy and international

  • Develop and implement a Trade Marks regional strategy (for SE Asia), based on an assessment of the benefits for Australia and the region
  • Review and update our Designs system and administration to meet changing stakeholder and market needs
  • Develop a post-PC review policy and legislative agenda in consultation with stakeholders
  • Review opportunities to deliver IP training and support within our region
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OPERATIONAL EXCELLENCE

High performing core business and internal operations

Quality and productivity

  • Achieve quality outcomes that make us an international office of choice
  • Develop recognised quality and productivity standards that underpin our ability to do international work for others

Workforce

  • Enable staff, through innovative business models and technology solutions, to focus on high-value aspects of their work and better serve customers
  • Embed and realise the benefits of a modern, flexible work environment and supportive culture, to achieve collaboration, high performance, and an engaged and committed workforce

Revenue and investment

  • Return to small surpluses if demand holds. New procurement approach (e.g. cloud based services) will reduce capital demand and put pressure on operational funding. Cash reserves rebuild. Consideration of new investment options. Fee review in 2023-24
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SERVICE EXCELLENCE

High performing customer services that support our core business

Technology and business processes

  • Leverage latest technology to deliver sophisticated decision-making support and further enhance efficiency and quality across all agency functions
  • Deliver a single technology platform for IP Rights processing (finalise RIO)
  • Evolve business processes and update solutions and training to support timely, customer-centric service delivery
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VALUE ADD

Our expertise is leveraged to deliver value to the Australian IP system and broader economy

Stakeholder services

  • Expand export support activities, based on cost-benefit analysis
  • Develop value-added services to provide income streams to invest in (internal) R&D
  • Potential delivery of Trade Mark services and training for other offices in our region
  • Occupy a key niche in innovation and business support systems – the go-to body for IP and IP-related advice

Data

  • Champion WIPO efforts for cross-border and cross-government data integration
  • Develop a data platform at IP Australia that supports development of IP tools and apps for global use

Policy and international

  • Explore options for regional Trade Mark integration or harmonisation, to facilitate business operations in the region
  • Embed outcomes from the review of the Designs system and look for opportunities to promote and support Australian designers and design-based companies
  • Implement the post-PC review policy and legislative agenda
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OPERATIONAL EXCELLENCE

High performing core business and internal operations

Quality and productivity

  • World-leading quality in priority work areas and internationally competitive levels of productivity underpin demand and revenue

Workforce

  • A flexible workforce characterised by diverse modes of working is managed coherently to attract and retain the capabilities we require
  • A strong and positive organisational culture supports employee commitment and achievement
  • Property footprint is reduced and overhead costs optimised based on our workforce needs
  • Review accommodation needs post lease expiry in 2032

Revenue and investment

  • A secure revenue base is enhanced by returns on non-core services
  • Financial model and investment priorities are reviewed in light of the prevailing environment. Fee review in 2027-28
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SERVICE EXCELLENCE

High performing customer services that support our core business

Technology and business processes

  • Ongoing investment in technology, training and advanced business processes supports high levels of quality, productivity and customer service
  • Our leading-edge expertise in the application of relevant technology underpins operational and service excellence and furthers our influence in the region and internationally
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VALUE ADD

Our expertise is leveraged to deliver value to the Australian IP system and broader economy

Stakeholder services

  • Offer a range of value-added services, both domestically and internationally, that support our stakeholders and contribute to revenue

Data

  • Support and contribute to effective global IP and business information data platforms to assist the work of IP offices, customers and stakeholders

Policy and international

  • Be highly regarded and influential on IP issues, both internationally and domestically
  • Implement streamlined systems for IP Rights administration and prosecution in the region
  • Explore opportunities for greater regional harmonisation or administrative streamlining for Designs and PBR

Purpose

Ensuring Australians benefit from great ideas

Vision

Provides a picture of what we ultimately want to achieve

  • Creating a world leading IP system building prosperity for Australia
           

Purpose

Communicates why we exist and informs the basis of all our work

  • Ensuring Australians benefit from great ideas
           

Objectives

Outlines how we will achieve our purpose, and how we organise our work

  • Operational Excellence
  • Service Excellence
  • Value Add

IP Australia is the entity responsible for administering Australia’s IP rights system, specifically patents, trade marks, designs and plant breeder’s rights. Our vision is to create a world leading IP system building prosperity for Australia.

Ensuring Australians benefit from great ideas, our agency purpose as outlined in our 2018-19 Portfolio Budget Statement (PBS), is central to all of the work we do. We are responsible for delivering improved IP rights administration and professional registration, increasing awareness of the IP system, and shaping the IP system domestically and internationally to serve Australian innovation and business. We are committed to building the capability of our people and our organisation to support the work we do.

Delivery of these elements enables us to provide an effective framework for protection of innovative products and brands. This creates a secure environment for investment in innovation, enables firms to build brand value and business reputation, and encourages the disclosure of inventions and the transfer of knowledge and technology.


Strategic Objectives

We deliver on our responsibilities by focussing on three strategic objectives:

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  • Operational Excellence – high performing core business and internal operations
  • Service Excellence – high performing customer services that support our core business
  • Value Add – our expertise is leveraged to deliver value to the IP system, stakeholders and the broader economy.
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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 and jobs. 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.

In 2016-17, IP Australia engaged CSIRO’s Data61 to assist us in considering possible future operating environments. Future forecasting and environmental scanning revealed a number of emerging risks, trends and opportunities for our agency and for the IP system. This work has contributed to our future planning and development of our Strategic Roadmap to 2030. Divided across three four-forward year horizons, the Roadmap is pivotal in helping our agency make strategic choices towards achieving our vision and objectives.

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Demand for IP rights continues to grow

Global demand for IP rights continues to rise, with the majority of growth driven by China. In Australia, 2017 saw growth in applications for patents, trade marks and designs, driven primarily by applications 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. Applications by Australians for trade marks in overseas jurisdictions have been on a strong growth trajectory over recent years, with more modest growth in Australians filing for overseas patents.

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.

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Economic value leads to an increased focus on IP

Like many governments across the world, the Australian Government sees the IP system as an economic tool that supports innovation and growth by encouraging trade, investment, research and development, and technology diffusion.

In early 2018 Innovation and Science Australia, the Australian Government body tasked with providing advice on all science, research and innovation matters, released its Australia 2030: Prosperity Through Innovation report. The aim of this document is to advise government on how to generate and capture more of the benefits of innovation out to 2030 and it included recognition of the importance of IP in this process.

The Government has accepted the majority of the report’s recommendations and IP Australia will continue to focus on opportunities to support the objectives of the Government’s National Innovation and Science Agenda through providing information and services to Australian entrepreneurs and innovative businesses.

IP Australia will focus on strengthening the education and information products available to our customers and potential customers, especially start-ups and small and medium enterprises.

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Technology drives fast-paced change and opens opportunities

Hand in hand with economic globalisation we are witnessing 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 fueling 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. 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.

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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 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.

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Strategic objectives

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Operational Excellence – high performing core business and internal operations

In line with our Cost Recovery Implementation Statement (CRIS), IP Australia has two significant areas of focus.

In patents and trade marks, our focus will remain on seeking to meet demand in line with our Customer Service Charter commitments. A continued increase in demand for trade mark examination, has put pressure on our ability to meet demand in a timely way and our recruitment of Trade Mark Examiners has been increased to reflect this work pressure.

Our second area of focus across the IP rights will be to look at better defining what quality is, including benchmarking with other IP Offices, and ensuring that our in-house quality system supports quality products. We will continue to look for efficiencies in the way we work, better utilise the technical expertise of our workforce where it adds most value, and actively invest in smart tools to support high quality examination.

Given the above, we need to ensure our planning and modelling for demand and recruitment, both in examination staff and corresponding corporate support staff, is reliable and fit for purpose. Specifically in 2018-19 we will seek to better utilise predictive analytics in our operational resource and strategic workforce planning to inform group and whole of agency approaches to recruitment, retention and staff development. This work is complemented by the implementation of pilot trials to test new ways of managing and measuring examination work and motivating staff in production areas.

More broadly, 2018-19 will see the delivery a modern cloud based data platform which will enable full use of our data, and the ability for analytics, reporting and data-focused people across our agency, to work faster and do things they cannot do now.

To create a better workplace for our staff we will be progressively moving to a contemporary office environment which supports our people to undertake their work in its varied forms. We’re improving our technology and updating policies and practices allowing our people to be more flexible in when and where they work.

This contributes to our continued focus on running a cost-effective organisation, operating within the guidelines of our CRIS.

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Service Excellence – high performing customer services that support our core business

As part of the Government’s vision for customer-centric services, we will continue to explore the use of technology solutions to enhance customer experiences, including through improved immediacy, reliability and connectedness of our external-facing services.

We will focus on modernising our ICT platforms and environments to better support customers. Specifically in 2018-19 we will begin work to redevelop our transactional and digital channels (eServices, B2B, virtual assistant, search systems etc.) using newer technology and approaches to facilitate improved customer interactions with IP Australia. We will work towards recognition of our leading-edge expertise in technology that supports IP business processes and excellence in customer-centric service delivery.

We will continue to seek feedback to ensure our services and education and awareness campaigns are effective, efficient and accessible. This feedback will be used in 2018-19 to develop and design a clear strategy for our public education and awareness programs to maximise the impact of our investment and to drive and improve the customer experience across all of our interactions.

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Value Add – our expertise is leveraged to deliver value to the IP system, stakeholders and the broader economy

IP Australia seeks to use its unique access to IP data and knowledge and expertise to add value in a range of ways.

As part of our ongoing commitment to collaboration and transparency, we will continue to utilise our publicly available policy register as a basis for consultation with stakeholders. This is an important step in ensuring our policies and advice to Government continues to reflect the needs of the broader community.

Our policy team will focus on effective ongoing implementation of IP Australia’s legislative reform agenda. The primary focus of the agenda is legislative amendments to implement relevant aspects of the Government’s response to the Productivity Commission’s 2016 report into Australia’s IP arrangements. The first part (IP Laws Amendment (PC Response Part 1 and Other Measures) Bill 2018) was introduced to Parliament on 28 March 2018. The second part (IP Laws Amendment (PC Response Part 2 and Other Measures) Bill 2018) is expected to be introduced to Parliament by early 2019. In 2018-19, a third bill is proposed to implement accepted recommendations from the former Advisory Council on Intellectual Property’s 2015 review of the designs system.

IP Australia will also host a Design Summit in 2018-19 to better understand our stakeholder needs and inform the creation of a strategy to ensure the designs system is fit for purpose into the future.

IP protection is vital to the success of Australian brands and innovation in overseas markets. 2018-19 will see ongoing efforts by our IP counsellor to China, who plays a critical role in helping Australian businesses operating in China protect and utilise their IP. Following an initial evaluation, the IP Counsellor role has been extended to 2020.

We will continue to explore effective mechanisms for rights enforcement, and export promotion opportunities, including through partnering with stakeholders, to provide IP information to Australian businesses seeking to operate in global markets.

IP Australia will provide advice and support in the development of bilateral and plurilateral trade agreements that encompass IP (e.g. EU FTA). We will continue to deliver and expand services to promote collaboration between researchers and business, and to support alternative dispute resolution especially for small and medium enterprises. We will also pursue new opportunities to expand our service offerings in line with our International Engagement Strategy, launched in 2018-19. Part of this work involves initial steps to develop a trade marks regional strategy for South East Asia, based on an assessment of benefits for Australia and the region.

We will progress our Data Matters Strategy, ensuring that the right data is available to those who need it – anywhere and anytime. We will look for opportunities to better utilise our data, and position IP Australia as a global leader in data provision, tools, platforms and analysis among IP Offices.

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The lens we operate through

In delivering our forward agenda we will consider the impact of our activities in three key areas:

  • Stakeholders
  • Core business
  • Workforce

Our strategies and approach over the life of the 2018-19 Corporate Plan are outlined in the following performance monitoring section.


Performance monitoring

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OPERATIONAL EXCELLENCE

High performing core business and internal operations

STAKEHOLDERS

  • Maintain high customer satisfaction with the quality and timeliness of IP rights
  • Provide effective and efficient trans-Tasman attorney registration

CORE BUSINESS

  • Improve our business capabilities, through better use of technology and innovative products and business processes
  • Improve IP Australia’s approach to the management and governance of data
  • Deliver reliable, integrated systems in alignment with our Innovation and Technology Strategies
  • Develop and utilise robust financial models to support sustainable business operation

WORKFORCE

  • Embrace more diverse modes of working
  • Modernise our accommodation and digital working environment to support and improve flexible, agile and innovative ways of working
  • Improve the data literacy and analysis capability of our staff
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SERVICE EXCELLENCE

High performing customer services that support our core business

STAKEHOLDERS

  • Improve public awareness of the IP system through tailored education products
  • Improve user accessibility and satisfaction with IP Australia products and services
  • Use customer data to drive and inform business direction

CORE BUSINESS

  • Fix, modernise and transform our ICT systems to maximise business effectiveness

WORKFORCE

  • Build the customer service capability and knowledge of our staff
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VALUE ADD

Our expertise is leveraged to deliver value to the IP system, stakeholders and the broader economy

STAKEHOLDERS

  • Improve support for customers seeking to engage in international markets
  • Deliver value-added services which support our customers in the areas of enforcement, commercialisation and analytics
  • Collaborate internationally with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and other IP offices to support a harmonised and streamlined global IP system

CORE BUSINESS

  • Implement the Government’s policy agenda flowing from the Productivity Commission’s (PC) Review into the IP system
  • Increase value and quality of our data holdings

WORKFORCE

  • Encourage and facilitate innovation by our staff

Operational Excellence

Outcome: The delivery of improved IP rights administration and professional registration is our core function. IP Australia must operate as an effective and efficient body to issue IP rights and professional registration for our customers and stakeholders. Progress can be seen in:

  • Continuous improvement in quality across our IP Rights administration and professional registration services and adherence to service commitments
  • A sustainable and cost-effective business model
  • Staff satisfaction with supporting and enabling services, and the way we work together across the agency.
Strategy Performance Criteria Annual Target
    2018-19 2019-20 2020-21 2021-22
STAKEHOLDERS
Maintain high customer satisfaction with the quality and timeliness of IP rights Customer Service Charter (CSC) and legislative commitments Meet or exceed all CSC and legislative commitments
  Identified Acceptable Quality Levels (AQL) for IP rights search and examination Meet or exceed all AQL commitments
  Overall customer satisfaction with IP Australia as an agency 90%+ overall customer satisfaction with IP Australia as an agency maintained in the customer satisfaction survey
Provide effective and efficient trans-Tasman attorney registration Process applications for attorney registration within acceptable time frame Process applications within 15 working days from the date that the application complies with all of the registration requirements
CORE BUSINESS
Improve our business capabilities, though better use of technology and innovative products and services ISO 9001 quality certification in relevant business areas Maintain ISO certification in relevant business areas
Improve IP Australia’s approach to the management and governance of data Compliance with Digital Continuity 2020 IP Australia is compliant with Digital Continuity 2020
Deliver reliable, integrated systems in alignment with our Innovation and Technology Strategies Internal systems availability Internal systems availability during business hours meets business needs
Develop and utilise robust financial models to support sustainable business operation Financial and production targets in Portfolio Budget Statements (PBS) are met PBS estimates met
WORKFORCE
Embrace more diverse modes of working Staff satisfaction with flexible working opportunities available Maintain and improve on 2017-18 results for flexible working opportunities, towards 85%+
Modernise our accommodation and digital working environment to support and improve flexible, agile and innovative ways of working Accommodation refit improves staff amenity, satisfies government requirements and enhances business outcomes 75%+ of staff are satisfied that the technology provided enables them to work flexibly

60%+ of staff are satisfied that the working environment supports them to be agile and innovative
Improve the data literacy and analysis capability of our staff IP Australia data literacy results IP Australia’s results for data literacy improve on 2017-18 benchmark

Service Excellence

Outcome: IP Australia must engage effectively with customers and stakeholders, domestically and internationally. We must provide appropriate advice and systems to support effective engagement. Progress can be seen in:

  • Improved public education and awareness of the IP rights system and the support our organisation provides
  • Better tools to support user-engagement
  • High customer satisfaction with our externally facing services (e-services, website, payment pathways etc)
  • Adherence to service commitments relating to external support services.
Strategy Performance Criteria Annual Target
    2018-19 2019-20 2020-21 2021-22
STAKEHOLDERS
Improve public awareness of the IP system through tailored education products Satisfaction with public education, awareness and information products 90%+ of people accessing our public education, awareness and information products are satisfied
Improve user accessibility and satisfaction with IP Australia products and services Customer satisfaction with the quality of tools to support user accessibility 85%+ of customers are satisfied with the quality of tools to support self-service is maintained in the customer satisfaction survey
  Customer Service Charter (CSC) commitments for external support services Meet or exceed all CSC commitments for external support services
Use customer intelligence to drive and inform future business direction Use of customer intelligence to improve processes, products and services Customer intelligence contributes to positive business reform
CORE BUSINESS
Fix, modernise and transform our ICT systems to maximise the effectiveness of our external facing systems New customer facing systems meet Digital Service Standards (DTA) IP Australia is compliant with DTA Digital Service Standards
  Customer satisfaction with the reliability and effectiveness of externally facing ICT systems 85%+ of customers are satisfied with the reliability and effectiveness of externally facing ICT systems is maintained in the customer satisfaction survey
WORKFORCE
Build the customer service capability and knowledge of our staff Customer satisfaction with our staff 85%+ of customers are satisfied with our staff is maintained in the customer satisfaction survey

Value Add

Outcome: IP Australia must make effective use of its skills and knowledge to deliver value to the Australian community, at home and abroad. Our role is to shape the IP system domestically and internationally to serve Australian innovation and business. Progress can be seen in:

  • Provision of high quality advice to government
  • Strong domestic and international partnerships
  • High customer satisfaction with services designed to facilitate the use of IP
  • Maximising access and use of our data
Strategy Performance Criteria Annual Target
    2018-19 2019-20 2020-21 2021-22
STAKEHOLDERS
Improve support for customers seeking to engage in international markets Utility of value-added services to customers as measured by evaluation of key initiatives related to each strategy Evaluation results of key initiatives shows we have maintained or improved on results from the previous year, benchmarked new initiatives, and used feedback to improve future service
Deliver value-added services offerings which support our customers in the areas of enforcement, commercialisation and analytics    
Collaborate internationally with the World Intellectual Property Organisation and other IP offices to support a harmonised and streamlined global IP system Constructive engagement regionally, bilaterally and with WIPO IP Australia’s International Engagement Strategy is progressed in line with agreed schedule
  Contribution to development of trade agreements  
CORE BUSINESS
Implement the Government’s policy agenda flowing from the Productivity Commission’s (PC) Review into the IP System Effective stakeholder consultation and development of legislative amendments Progress legislative amendments
  Advice is sound, timely and evidence based Advice provided by IP Australia is in line with the Government requirements
Increase the value and quality of our data holdings Compliance with PM&C Open Data Policy IP Australia is compliant with the PM&C Open Data Policy
WORKFORCE
Encourage and facilitate innovation by our staff IP Australia innovation results from the State of the Service IP Australia’s results for innovation are in line with comparable APS agencies

Performance framework

Our key performance setting and reporting documentation are the Portfolio Budget Statement (PBS), Annual Report encompassing the Annual Performance Statements, and our Corporate Plan. Other key documents that contribute to our performance framework are set out below.

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Regulator

The regulator performance framework aims to reduce unnecessary or inefficient regulation imposed on individuals, business and community organisations. This is done through an annual public-service wide assessment against a common set of performance indicators, and requirement for regulators to action opportunities for improvement arising from this process. This self-assessment is a measure of IP Australia’s regulatory performance.

Measuring a common set of performance indicators allows organisations to benchmark their performance against other regulators, share lessons learnt and work together to reduce the overall regulatory burden on Australian individuals and businesses.

IP Australia’s measures of success against these indicators have been selected to ensure:

  • high-quality services are provided in a timely way
  • communication is clear, meaningful and timely
  • compliance standards are transparent
  • ongoing stakeholder engagement to improve the way we work.

The full suite of key performance indicators is available under our regulator performance framework. Our measures will be reviewed in 2018-19 to ensure they continue to drive improvements in reducing regulatory burden and transparency in our performance reporting.

IP Australia’s annual self-assessment is conducted in consultation with our IP Stakeholder Forum in the first quarter after the end of the previous financial year, with results published externally at the end of the second quarter as part of the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science portfolio. The IP Stakeholder Forum provides external oversight of our regulatory performance and provides advice to our Minister.

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Environment

IP Australia has made a commitment to sustainable operations and the protection of our environment. We do this through compliance with Government policies and the maintenance of an Environmental Management System (EMS), designed and certified to ISO 14001:2015.

IP Australia’s Environmental Policy establishes objectives for environmentally sustainable operations including protecting the environment, preventing pollution and implementing a modern digital workplace with a smaller, more efficient footprint. We aim to ensure our operations meet or exceed our environmental compliance obligations and objectives.

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Quality

Implementing an internationally recognised best practice approach to our business is an important part of our relationship with our customers. IP Australia is committed to building on our strong reputation for delivering quality products and services.

In 2017-18 IP Australia successfully transitioned our Quality Management System (QMS) from ISO 9001:2008 to ISO 9001:2015, receiving recertification of our core activities including, for the first time, our technology areas. Through our QMS we identify and address process and practice improvements to our business in a systematic way to continue building the overall capability and efficiency of our people and organisation.

As part of our commitment to ensure that we continue to improve the way we deliver quality products and service to our customers that are of the highest standard, a holistic review of our Quality Review System (QRS) as it applies to examination will begin in 2018-19. We are committed to ensuring that our QRS supports quality products and drives optimal behaviours, while also maintaining our productivity. This work falls under our broader commitment to achieving “Examination Excellence” for our IP Rights products, a multi-year body of work that will leverage the expertise of our staff, other IP Offices, and technology to drive improvements and innovation in examination practice over the coming years.

Production forecast

Each year IP Australia forecasts the demand for our services across a four year period (production forecast) based on historical application trends. The production forecast is used to determine the required workforce profile and capacity needed to meet our Customer Service Charter commitments. This process supports planning and management in our workforce modelling, efficiencies in our cost recovery framework, and transparency in our internal and external reporting.

IP Australia has experienced ongoing increases in demand for IP Rights over the past two financial years and it is expected that this trend will continue through to 2019-20 (and beyond in relation to Trade marks). The level of demand will put pressure on our ability to meet service charter commitments (in particular regarding timeliness in Trade marks). In response IP Australia is focused on finalising important ICT initiatives which will improve our efficiency, while at the same time hiring additional examiners to keep up with demand. There is a timing difference inherent in the IP Rights application/grant/renewals cycle in which additional costs are incurred early-on (for new ICT systems and additional examiners) in response to shifts in application volumes, and this is reflected below in the cost recovery section of the report.

The table below outlines the expected application demand and supply of examination and registration services over the next four years.

  2017-18 2018-19 2019-20 2020-21 2021-22
Estimated Actual Budget Forward year 1 Forward year 2 Forward year 3
Applications received
Patents 31,661 32,760 33,536 31,451 31,389
Plant Breeder's Rights (PBR) 350 350 350 350 350
Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) 3,124 3,129 3,133 3,133 3,134
Trade Marks (TM)1 80,240 81,477 85,154 89,156 93,342
Designs 7,559 7,775 8,017 8,273 8,535
Trans-Tasman IP Attorneys Board 128 129 129 129 129
 
Examination services
Patents 25,698 27,205 26,078 28,006 28,554
Plant Breeder's Rights (PBR) 350 350 350 350 350
Trade Marks (TM) 66,818 78,185 83,917 94,237 99,349
Designs 1,352 1,429 1,616 1,503 1,554
 
Registration service
Trans-Tasman IP Attorneys Board 1,400 1,376 1,376 1,376 1,376
  1. Production forecast for Trade Mark applications is based on filings (previously measured in classes)

Cost recovery

IP Australia is a cost recovered agency with fees set under IP rights legislation in accordance with the Australian Government Charging Framework and Cost Recovery Guidelines. With the exception of an annual appropriation of $0.4 million to cover ministerial services, all IP Australia’s costs are covered by revenue generated through customer fees.

Further information on the breakdown of expenditure associated with each IP right can be found in IP Australia’s Cost Recovery Implementation Statement (CRIS).

In the table below all IP Australia expenditure is allocated against our five key activity areas to illustrate a proxy cost per unit for each of IP Australia’s five IP rights products for the 2018-19 budget year and three forward years. All overheads costs plus the cost of non-examination/ registration programs delivered by IP Australia are added to the direct costs of examination/ registration and then attributed to the five cost recovered groups listed below for the purpose of fully attributing costs to the services delivered under legislation.

All IP Australia expenditure allocated against five key activity areas

IP Right Average cost per unit
  2018-19 2019-20 2020-21 2021-22
 
  per examination
Patents $4,959 $5,305 $4,993 $5,002
 
  per examination
Trade Marks $871 $833 $749 $726
 
  per examination
Designs $3,636 $3,297 $3,583 $3,540
 
  per examination
Plant Breeder’s Rights $6,269 $6,429 $6,499 $6,637
 
  per registration
Trans-Tasman IP Attorneys Board $667 $684 $691 $706

The projected proxy costs for future IP rights examination/registration effort above reflect the estimated increase in direct and indirect costs over the four years (employees, depreciation reflecting ICT investments etc.) against the expected volumes for patents, trade marks, designs and plant breeder’s rights examination.

While the table provides an approximation of average costs it is limited in respect of the relative timings inherent in the IP Rights cycle. For example shifts in patents applications will drive increases in examination service requirements more than 12 months later, while increases in staffing will happen sooner in order to train staff up to the quality standards required for examination. Likewise capital costs reflected above in annual depreciation expense are spread across many years of useful life for the asset, while efficiency improvements are reflected as one-off impacts in any given year. It is best to analyse the trend in average costs over the four years compared to trends in applications.


Capability

IP Australia is classified as a large operational agency with around 1150 staff and 170 contractors. The capability of our workforce is enhanced through diversity, gender equity, and encouraging flexible working opportunities for a modern workforce. We actively promote ongoing development in order to build the capability of our workforce and keep our employees’ skills and knowledge current. Our commitment to building the capability of our people and our organisation is evident from our stakeholder feedback, as part of our customer satisfaction survey which also helps us identify areas for improvement.

What some of our customers have said are “the best aspects of dealing with IP Australia” over the past year

info graphic dialog boxes

What some of our customers have identified as areas for future improvement

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ip australia strategic roadmap info graphic

Planning and reporting framework

Our Corporate Plan is the entity’s primary planning document, and outlines the high profile strategic initiatives we will progress over the next four years to build a world leading IP system building prosperity for Australia. Our Strategic Roadmap, which provides a high level overview of the agency’s strategic direction towards 2030, is part of our Corporate Plan. Together, these documents inform our long term investment and decision making to validate that everything we do is designed to ensure Australians benefit from great ideas. Internally, our business is reflected in Division Operational Plans, with regular monitoring and reporting on the Plans undertaken as part of our internal governance structure, with a clear line of sight to our external reporting and Annual Performance Statement.

Our Customer Service Charter, refreshed in 2016-17, outlines the minimum acceptable quality levels and service timeframes we strive to meet for the IP rights we administer. Internal monthly monitoring against the charter is provided to business groups and external reporting made available each quarter on our website.

Our business and resource planning cycles operate on a financial year basis.

Planning Framework

planning framework info graphic

People Plan

In 2017-18, IP Australia developed and launched the People Plan, articulating the five key areas IP Australia will continue to focus on to develop and leverage the capability of our people, and achieve a contemporary and adaptable organisation:

people plan info graphic

The People Plan provides a high level direction for building the capability of our people, and will work in conjunction with the agency’s Strategic Workforce Plan scheduled to be finalised in 2018-19. These combined plans will define and clarify our future workforce needs and composition. They will provide evidence to inform our approach to meeting our workforce needs and how we can best leverage the capability, motivation and engagement of the workforce. The Strategic Workforce Plan will be informed by a review of the approach IP Australia is taking to existing and emerging workforce challenges, including:

  • Managing and leading staff through a change agenda
  • Managing loss of corporate knowledge through market forces
  • Recruiting and retaining skills needed for the future

Specifically in 2018-19, IP Australia will focus on:

  • Enhancing organisational capacity for people management during the transition to an agile workplace
  • Developing and embedding IP Australia’s employee value proposition so that we are positioned to attract and retain the best to meet current and future organisational demands
  • Attracting, sourcing and retaining qualified candidates including STEM, IT, and economists taking into consideration the need to compete with an increasing demand across the APS and private sector for these key resources/skill sets
  • Developing and implementing a structured approach to succession planning to identify, understand and feed our pipeline of talent.

International Engagement Strategy

The International Engagement Strategy provides a long-term vision for IP Australia’s international policy and engagement through to 2030. The strategy focuses our forward investment and is aimed at positioning IP Australia to be able to respond dynamically to opportunities as they arise in the international environment.

Through international policy and engagement IP Australia seeks to promote a global IP system with balanced protection, efficient enforcement and that allows Australians easy access to markets. The strategy identifies three key areas:

  • increasing the accessibility and understanding of IP systems
  • streamlining the international IP system, and
  • reducing the risk and costs for Australian businesses.

Our international policy and engagement will build upon a solid reputation for capability and performance in our core business and our appetite for innovation.

The Strategy complements Australian Government policies, and is aligned with IP Australia’s strategic direction. The first implementing year under the strategy, 2018-19, will be dedicated to scoping areas of policy development and engagement which build a strong foundation for achieving IP Australia’s vision. We will explore opportunities to bolster policy development, provide information and support, and initiate training and pioneer data offerings where they have the potential to provide the greater benefit to Australian business entering global markets.

people plan info graphic

Innovation and Technology Strategies

IP Australia’s ICT 2020 Strategy will guide prioritisation of technology initiatives, and promote innovation and utilisation of new digital capabilities to increase the speed of delivery and to achieve the commitments outlined in our Corporate and Operational Plans.

The ICT Strategy has been developed to around three guiding principles to better serve both internal and external customers. “Fix and Modernise”, which will ensure efficient and reliable systems and “Transform” which will enable IP Australia to respond proactively to digital disruption.

Our Cognitive Futures Strategy aims to build the capability that enables IP Australia to research, develop and embed smart systems that are capable of solving problems, making decisions, learning and improving the way we do business. The cognitive computing capabilities developed today in collaboration with the organisation will improve processes and existing products, create new services and products for our customers, provide better access to data, enable better insights over time, enhance quality and reduce costs.

Together, our Innovation and Technology Strategies incorporate actions that, over the life of our Plan, seek to:

  • Modernise IP Australia’s infrastructure by moving to cloud based solutions
  • Maintain IP Australia as an APS leader in digital customer services and technology enabled innovation
  • Be an employer of choice through the provision of contemporary, digital technology leveraged careers.
  • Influence and shape the global ICT agenda through engagement with WIPO and other international offices.
Innovation and Technology Strategies Info Graphic

Our Innovation and Technology Strategies are reviewed annually in the light of evolving business needs and technological advancements. Each review will include an environmental scan of emerging business needs, architectural directions, relevant industry innovations and Whole of Australian Government (WoAG) policy directions. In 2018 19, IP Australia will:

  • Continue with the Rights in One (RIO) Program to develop a new case management system to replace our aging trade marks administrative systems, with further plans to extend RIO to support the management of patents IP Rights.
  • Deliver innovative business transformation initiatives using emerging technologies such as cognitive computing, data analytics, automation and process re-engineering aimed at supporting IP Australia’s staff, streamlining the administration of IP rights and ensuring Australian’s benefit from their great ideas.
  • Enhance digital customer experience and enablement through redevelopment of our transactional and digital channels (eService & B2B) utilising newer technology and approaches to facilitate improved customer interactions with IP Australia.

Capital Investment Strategy

IP Australia applies a strategic approach to the investment, development and delivery of new and improved technology to modernise and transform service delivery for the benefit of customers.

This approach guides IP Australia’s capital management planning and investment to support the achievement of the organisation’s outcome for Government.

IP Australia is approaching a peak in our decadal investment cycle, with upcoming investments in property fit-outs around new lease arrangements and the continuation of ICT projects to upgrade and modernise our systems. This will see us decrease our current cash reserves over the next two financial years, from levels at approximately 50% of annual turnover down to approximately 30%, which remains a healthy position for our balance sheet, leaving us with an ongoing buffer against any unforeseen dips in revenue projections. Over the coming decade as these assets depreciate we are likely to again build our cash reserves towards the next peak in the investment cycle (approaching 2030). It is possible that changes in investment trends (towards software as a service for example and/or more flexible work/ attendance models) could disrupt this cycle and we will adjust the capital and operating cost plans to reflect this over time.

There are four key areas of capital investment over the forward years

  • Refurbishment of Discovery House and our Melbourne office
  • Completion of the Rights in One (RIO) system for trade mark administration with further expansion planned to support the management of patents IP Rights
  • Continued development and enhancement of Business Intelligence and Analytics (BI&A) capabilities
  • Supporting the ICT Strategy to fix, modernise and transform our systems.

IP Australia will commence refurbishment in 2018 of its main accommodation hub in Woden and our accommodation in Melbourne. This project will be delivered over 2018 and 2019.

We will complete the development of a new administrative system (RIO) to replace our aging Trade marks administrative systems, with further plans to extend RIO to support the management of Patents IP Rights.

The Business Intelligence and Analytics (BI&A) project will deliver a modern, scalable, cloud based platform with analytical tools to enable access to our internal data for the efficiency of our operations and continued enhancement to access our rich sources of IP Rights data for use by stakeholders across the community.

IP Australia will continue to invest in enhancing ICT capabilities that improve our business processes and system arrangements while improving the user experience of our customers.

Specific areas of focus over the life of our Plan include:

  • Improvements to our mobility and teleworking solutions;
  • Modernisation of our applications with continuous delivery;
  • Migrating IT Infrastructure to the cloud;
  • Moderniusing our integration services; and
  • Rationalisation of our application portfolio.

Risk management and oversight systems

Overview

IP Australia has in place a sound system of risk oversight to identify, assess, monitor and manage risks related to the achievement of our strategic objectives. IP Australia aims to continually improve the oversight and management of risk by embedding risk management into the business areas and instilling awareness in all workers ensuring that we maintain a strong and integrated risk culture. IP Australia’s Risk Management framework is based on the PGPA Act, Commonwealth risk management policy, AS/NZS ISO 31000:2009 and relevant better practice guides. This requires the development, implementation and continual improvement of a framework to ensure risk management is integrated into critical decisionmaking processes.

IP Australia manages risk through detailed processes that emphasise the importance of public accountability, quality IP rights, reputation and staff well-being. IP Australia has developed a framework that enables the analysis and evaluation of risks based on a set of criteria that reflect the organisation’s risk appetite and tolerance. The organisation maintains relevant risk registers that track, monitor and report on existing and emerging risks.

Risk management framework

The Executive Board is responsible for determining and reviewing risks that impact on the achievement of IP Australia’s goals. The Board sets the risk appetite for the organisation which is communicated through our corporate policy and risk assessment criteria.

The Audit Committee considers the appropriateness of the risk management framework and provides independent advice to the Director General on the adequacy of procedures to support risk management and effectiveness of the overall risk management framework.

This framework aims to ensure that:

  • risk management is embedded into governance and management processes in the organisation;
  • appropriate training, tools and support for staff undertaking risk management is available and current;
  • appropriate structures, resources and accountabilities are in place; and
  • risk is monitored, measured, and reported, and improvements to risk management adopted as identified.

Key accountabilities

The Director General is the Accountable Authority for IP Australia, has overall responsibility for ensuring an appropriate risk management framework is in place, and is ultimately responsible for our performance in managing risk. Implementation of the framework is delegated to the respective General Managers, with all staff responsible for the day-to-day management of risk. IP Australia’s Executive Board and the Audit Committee are responsible for Risk Management oversight.

Governance structure

The overall legal accountability for IP Australia’s performance and compliance with regulatory requirements rests with the Director General under the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 and through delegated authority under the Public Service Act 1999. IP Australia’s governance structure outlines the key decision-making and advisory committees established to advise and support the Director General in discharging responsibilities. These committees promote transparency, accountability and integrity and are supported by a centralised governance secretariat.

IP Australia - Governance Structure

ip australia governance structure info graphic

IP Australia - Executive Management Board and Responsibilities

ip australia governance structure info graphic