Chapter 8: Research Program
Office of the Chief Economist
The focus of the Office of the Chief Economist (OCE) is providing empirical evidence to support IP Australia’s information, advice and operational decision-making. The OCE also provides analytical services to government agencies and research organisations.
In 2020, the OCE published its research paper, Intellectual property rights, business profitability and competition in the Australian economy, which reported the findings of the OCE’s first project using firm-level ‘microdata’ in the Business Longitudinal Analysis Data Environment (BLADE) that is hosted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
IP Australia’s TM-Link dataset was integrated into BLADE to enable analysis of trade marks’ role in facilitating access to export markets. The findings of this study are summarised in Chapter 7 of this report and an OCE research paper reporting the full details of the study will be published later in 2021.
In 2021, the OCE will also publish a research paper on the effects of IP rights on the performance of Australian Small and Medium Enterprises. In addition, research will be undertaken on the economic effects of topics such as plant breeder’s rights.
Centre of Data Excellence
IP Australia’s Centre of Data Excellence (CODE) was formed in late 2020 to further develop IP Australia’s data capabilities. CODE includes the establishment of a new data ‘front door’ service to broker access to data, available to the public via email to email@example.com. This supports the growing demand to use information from multiple sources to provide insights and support decisions.
CODE supports end-to-end data processes for analytics and reporting, bringing together capabilities in data engineering, data development, analytics, visualisation and data governance. New data capabilities and services will be developed iteratively to meet the changing needs of our stakeholders.
Throughout 2020 the methods for producing the IPGOD dataset have been improved, with a particular focus on integrating the data across all of our rights. New machine learning techniques have been applied to match the organisations and entities that play a role in the right’s life cycle. This will allow us to provide integrated data more regularly. In 2021 we will continue the improvements, with a focus on automating the data transformation pipeline and new representations of the data.
Patent Analytics Hub
In 2020, IP Australia’s Patent Analytics Hub supported the Government’s COVID-19 pandemic response with a series of analyses of technology areas important to the COVID-19 response. Data on global patent filings and domestic trade mark and design rights was analysed to identify the major global and Australian innovators in respiratory support devices, personal protective equipment (masks, gowns, goggles), vaccines, repurposed drugs, and medical diagnostics. Interactive data visualisations for patents in each technology area have been publicly available on our website since May 2020 to assist others in identifying know-how, supply and manufacturing resources required during the COVID-19 pandemic.1
The Hub also published a separate patent analytics report on virus vaccines, prepared in partnership with the National Foundation for Medical Research and Innovation.2 The report investigates vaccine strategies used to prevent and control infectious disease outbreaks, with a focus on viruses with positive-sense single-stranded RNA genomes such as Chikungunya virus. Steady global patent filing activity over time indicates vaccine development remains an active area for innovation, with spikes in filings being readily correlated to specific disease outbreaks.
A patent analytics report on innovation trends for substitute meat, prepared for the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources and due for publication in 2021, examined innovations in imitation and lab-grown meat substitutes.3 Patent filings for imitation meat technologies have been steadily increasing since 2013 with patent filings for lab grown meat technologies remaining low and indicating this technology is at an earlier stage of development.
The Hub is currently trialling the provision of tailored patent analytics reports to selected businesses currently enrolled in the Australian Government’s Entrepreneurs’ Programme, specifically from the medical technology and pharmaceutical sectors. This involves working closely with the programme’s business facilitators and their client businesses to produce interactive patent analytics reports on specific technology areas, and so support strategic decision-making and business investment.