IP Report 2019

Research program

IP Australia set up the Office of the Chief Economist (OCE) in November 2012. Since then, it has grown from its focus on economics research to include (1) the open data program and (2) the Patent Analytics Hub, which provides analytical services to government agencies and research organisations.

In 2018, we continued to explore new avenues for our research and data services and extended the outreach activities of the Patent Analytics Hub.

Our focus as an office is to provide empirical evidence to support IP Australia’s policy advice and operational decision making. An important part of our mission is to actively engage with the IP community, including internationally, and this involves continuing consultation on the OCE research program and data priorities.


In 2018, we adopted machine-learning algorithms for our Intellectual Property Government Open Data (IPGOD), to better identify the same applicants across all their IP right applications over time. We also made significant data quality improvements in regard to Australian Business Number (ABN), firm size and geographic variables. This year, we are looking to automate the delivery of IPGOD from source systems to data.gov.au. This will effectively make IPGOD the same product as our Intellectual Property Government Open Live Data (IPGOLD) and it will allow analysts to access the best possible up-to-date applicant information. We envision the delivery process to run annually on the full data and weekly on new records.

This year, we will also release an update of our Intellectual Property Longitudinal Research Data (IPLORD) for the research community. IPLORD is the annual snapshot on stocks and flows of IP rights by applicants over time. We will work with the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) to integrate IPLORD, in its updated form, with the Business Longitudinal Analysis Data Environment (BLADE). The BLADE dataset contains, among other things, financial data on all actively trading Australian businesses. The integration of these datasets should support policy relevant research.

Following a successful beta release in 2017, IP Australia is pleased to be launching TM-Link, a world-first international trade mark database linking trade mark applications across jurisdictions. TM-Link, together with our new IP Data Platform (a fully functional cloud-based analytics lab), will help to generate new insights into global trade mark use (see the TM-Link feature in Chapter 6).


Our research remains focused on policy priorities such as the impact of IP rights on competition and innovation. We also produce research to inform and support the corporate priorities of IP Australia.

In 2018, the OCE completed a cost-benefit analysis of Australia’s potential accession to The Hague Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs, now published on IP Australia’s website. In addition, we completed a research paper on trade mark cluttering (see Chapter 6). The OCE’s research collaboration with the Intellectual Property Research Institute of Australia (IPRIA) produced a report on designs law and practice (see Chapter 7 for a summary).

The OCE continued to gain influence through its membership of the Economic Data Analysis Network (EDAN) and the Australian Government Economists’ Network. The OCE also sponsored and participated in economic seminars and conferences.

In 2018, the OCE commenced work on a project analysing the impact of IP rights on business performance, using the ABS BLADE dataset. A second EDAN project will examine the links between IP rights and competition. Both projects are expected to yield research papers in the second half of 2019 and the OCE will aim to conduct further IP research using linked data assets over the coming years.

Patent Analytics

In 2018, IP Australia’s Patent Analytics Hub (the Hub) published two reports, released its first interactive report, and began trialling preparation of free Patent Landscape Reports with every international type search.1

The Brainwaves Patent Analytics Report,2 prepared for The National Foundation for Medical Research and Innovation (NFMRI),3 explores patents relating to electrode positioning for detecting or recording brainwaves. Recording and analysis of brainwaves is used for medical diagnosis and for therapeutic treatment of neurodegenerative disease. This analysis demonstrates ongoing commercial interest in this area of innovation, with strong growth and potential for further research and commercialisation opportunities. We have also provided the content of this report as an interactive visualisation 4—a first for the Hub—which allows the field of research to be more widely understood.

The Hub also published a Patent Analytics Report on Blockchain Innovation.5 This report, prepared for the Australian Computer Society (ACS), analyses blockchain innovation and the potential for Australia to benefit from this technology. The report found that blockchain is a small but rapidly growing technology, with between a 140 and 230 per cent increase in patent filings every year since 2013. Many of the most active companies are young, recently established start-ups, and provide some great Australian success stories.

In late 2018, the Hub began a trial of preparing free Patent Landscape Reports to be provided with every international type search.6 By providing key insights into technology trends and activities, these reports are designed to support inventors considering international patent protection. The reports, paired with an international type search,7 can help potential applicants strengthen their IP strategy.

The aim of IP Australia’s program of economic analysis and research is ultimately to evaluate the economic impact of various components of the IP system, in order to assist evidence-based operational and policy decisions within IP Australia and other Commonwealth agencies. IP Australia’s research procurement plan is published annually, with any new projects announced through our reporting structures. Academics and service providers who would like to be updated on research tenders should email us via chiefeconomist@ipaustralia.gov.au. Data requests may be sent to the same email address. To keep updated, follow us on Twitter (@IPAustralia_OCE) and visit us online at www.ipaustralia.gov.au.



View the IP Report 2019 in PDF Format

End notes

  1. https://www.ipaustralia.gov.au/tools-resources/patent-analytics-hub
  2. https://www.ipaustralia.gov.au/tools-resources/publications-reports/brainwaves-patent-analytics-report-october-2018
  3. https://nfmri.org.au/
  4. https://public.tableau.com/profile/patent.analytics.hub#!/
  5. https://www.ipaustralia.gov.au/tools-resources/publications-reports/patent-analytics-report-blockchain-innovation
  6. https://www.ipaustralia.gov.au/about-us/news-and-community/news/trial-provide-key-insights-support-your-international-patent
  7. https://www.ipaustralia.gov.au/patents/applying-patent/provisional-application-what-include/international-type-search