Chapter 1

IP Report 2018


The year 2017 was a positive one overall for IP filings in Australia, with growth in applications for patents, trade marks and design rights. Indeed, trade mark applications reached a record peak. Demand grew by two per cent for patents and by seven per cent for both trade marks and designs, but decreased by 11 per cent for plant breeder’s rights. There was strong demand by non-resident applicants for patents in Australia and they represent a significant source of demand for the other IP rights. In contrast to filings from Australian residents, filings from non-residents tend to be more prone to large swings from one year to the next, often producing sizeable changes in the total number of applications. In 2017, growth in trade mark applications was entirely driven by a 25 per cent increase in filings by non-residents, while, for designs, non-resident applications grew by nine per cent.

Each year, this report focuses on the data related to IP rights administration and showcases the research and analysis being undertaken by IP Australia’s Office of the Chief Economist (OCE). In Chapter 6, we present the findings of two related studies examining the impact that collaborative grants have on patenting activity of funded entities. The analysis finds that an increase in funding by collaborative research grants produces a significantly higher level of patent applications than is achieved by an equal increase in non‑collaborative grants, and this impact on patent outcomes occurs both in research institutions and in collaborative businesses. Chapter 7 showcases a new database of trade marks with geographical location names. Initiated by the OCE, this newly created database will be useful for research on the geography–IP interface. The data show that the use of geographical location names in trade marks is concentrated in food and beverage industries.

The Productivity Commission’s 2016 inquiry into the IP system drove much of the research into IP policy in 2017 and the Government’s responses to the Commission’s report will be reflected in legislative changes in 2018. IP is now a key part of free trade agreements and each agreement raises issues that call for supporting research evidence. The impact of IP policy on international trade is also likely to figure in policy considerations in 2018.  IP Australia will continue to support international IP negotiations and engagement with our research, analysis and advice.

As the Australian Government agency responsible for administering registrable IP rights, IP Australia plays a key role in identifying IP trends and changes in the international and domestic IP landscape. We also provide advice to the Australian Government on the development of IP policy, contribute to international negotiations and cooperation to support the global IP system, and promote awareness of IP. In Australia, copyright is administered separately by the Department of Communications and the Arts, and is therefore not covered in this report.

With this, our sixth Australian IP Report, we are also releasing the latest version of IP Government Open Data (IPGOD) 2018, which contains all of IP Australia’s administrative data, linked to Australian business numbers on, along with a live version, updated weekly, called IPGOLD.

The data, graphs and statistics used in this report can be found online at:

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View the IP Report in PDF format (2MB).