Director general of IP Australia - Michael Schwager

I am pleased to introduce the 2021 Australian Intellectual Property Report.

Innovation is a key driver of economic growth and sustains the competitive edge of an economy. An efficient intellectual property (IP) system is crucial to incentivising innovation investment. The analysis in this report, undertaken by IP Australia’s Office of the Chief Economist, and underlying data provide vital insight into the way that businesses and individuals engage with Australia’s IP system, from within Australia and around the world.

2020 was an unprecedented year, as businesses had to overcome significant challenges occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic. Through this uncertainty, our IP system has played an important role in providing Australians the confidence to innovate, by ensuring that they can protect their innovations and brands both in Australia and abroad. The new evidence presented here, which shows how manufacturing firms that file trade marks overseas earn more export revenue and are more robust to shocks, underscores the economic importance of IP rights.

The latest IP statistics are an indicator of how social distancing and business lockdowns impacted different sectors and forms of economic activity unevenly. In 2020, Australia saw a record number of trade mark applications filed, driven by a growing number of Australian applications, illustrating the importance that business places on brand protection. Filings of other IP rights fell in 2020 which indicates the impact of global uncertainty on innovation investments.

The Australian IP Report is in its 9th year and this year we include a chapter on the value of copyright to the Australian economy and the industries it underpins, as content consumption habits have changed during COVID-19. The IP report continues to provide a platform for discussion of how best to encourage all kinds of creative activity to Australia’s benefit.

Michael Schwager

Director General, IP Australia