Office of the Chief Economist (OCE)
IP Australia’s OCE produces evidence and advice to inform intellectual property policy relating to registered rights, support IP Australia’s operational effectiveness, and develop insights into the IP system’s role in addressing economic challenges.
A key challenge for Australia is the significant slowdown in productivity growth experienced in recent decades. Across many advanced economies and industries, businesses are falling behind global leaders. Large businesses have the capacity to finance intangible investments – like investments in new designs, software, data and brands – and benefit from their inherent ‘scalability’. Many people can simultaneously use these assets and they can be replicated at low marginal cost. The average business is often less able to carry out these types of investments.
Appropriating value from intangibles can be challenging. Once they are created, it can be difficult to exclude others from copying and exploiting them. In 2021, the OCE published a report, IP Rights and Enterprise Growth, showing that, for Australian SMEs, the use of IP rights is a strong indicator of their future growth potential. The findings of that study are summarised in Chapter 7 of this report.
For small and large businesses, AI is removing historical constraints on the ability of companies to learn and scale. The OCE is investigating the drivers of AI innovation, investment and adoption by Australian businesses, focusing on the role of the IP registration system.
Aggregate productivity growth depends on talented people realising their potential, for example, by moving away from less productive employers to more productive employers. In 2022–23, the OCE continues our research program looking at how IP activity relates to employee outcomes. The OCE has worked with the ABS to link data on the IP activity of Australian businesses to anonymised demographic, income and tax data for their employees. Analysed at an aggregate level, the linkage will provide a valuable picture of how IP activity impacts employee mobility and earnings.
For Australia to realise its innovation potential, it's vital to increase the supply of innovations from disadvantaged backgrounds and ensure Australia is not losing potential innovators. An increasingly central question in IP research and policy is how demographic factors influence people’s likelihood to innovate. The OCE is researching the barriers to participation in IP, such as education, age and gender, to inform IP Australia’s ongoing efforts to expand education and access to the IP system.
Centre of Data Excellence
IP Australia’s The Centre of Data Excellence (CODE) was formed in late 2020. CODE includes the establishment of a new data ‘front door’ service to broker data requests for Australian IP rights data, available to the public via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. The service supports the growing demand to use information from multiple business 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 2021 the methods for producing the IPGOD dataset have been improved, with a particular focus on integrating the data across all IP 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.
Patent Analytics Hub
IP Australia’s Patent Analytics Hub uses global and Australian patent data to derive insights and business intelligence in specific technology areas. This information is used by policy- and decision-makers across government, universities and publicly-funded research organisations.
In 2021, the Patent Analytics Hub supported the development of the Australian Government’s Action Plan for Critical Technologies (the ‘Action Plan’), which protects and promotes critical technologies in Australia’s national interest. In particular, the Patent Analytics Hub provided patent searches and analytics on each of the 65 listed Critical Technologies in the National Interest, from advanced materials and manufacturing to biotechnology. For an initial 23 priority areas, this data is shown, together with bibliometric and investment data, on ‘Tech’ Cards accompanying the Action Plan. To accompany this work, the Patent Analytics Hub assisted the Australian Strategic Policy Institute with patent data and analytics for their associated paper on Benchmarking critical technologies.
Using information on countries of origin and filing jurisdictions in the global patent data, the Patent Analytics Hub published reports on The power of innovation: A patent analytics report on the Australian Battery Industry and A growing south: Patent analytics on plant biotechnology in Latin America. The report on batteries highlights strong international collaboration shown by Australian innovators in co-filed patents in battery technologies, while the report on agricultural biotechnology showed that Australia is a significant destination market for Latin American agriculture. These insights demonstrate Australian capability and market demand that can be leveraged for the benefit of the broader Australian economy.