Key facts

Efficiency and Performance of Australia’s IP system

  • Australia’s resourcing for commercialisation (in terms of FTE per institution) is roughly on par with that of countries such as the US, Canada and the UK, however our comparative output is poor, with fewer invention disclosures and US patents issued per $US100m in research expenditure.
  • According to a recent report by UNESCO, Australia has recorded the greatest decline within the G20 in share of triadic patents between 2002 and 2012.
  • Australia’s 20 largest corporations have just 3,400 patents between them, compared to US companies such as Google and BM who own around 50,000 alone.
  • The IP Australia Report shows that although 19,304 patents were granted in 2014, an overwhelming 94% were granted to non-residents in Australia, with the remainder filed by Australian resident companies and Australia’s publicly funded research organisation (including universities).
  • In 2013, Australia’s investment in generating IP as a share of GDP was 2.6%, compared to the US who invested 4.7% in generating IP – almost double the Australian investment.
  • Patent and Trademarks Attorneys Kaggwa and Caporn noted that,

“Australian entities paid nearly $4 billion to foreign companies or entities [in 2013] and received $748 million from foreign entities in charges for the use of IP. Australia is therefore operating in an environment where the value of IP imports exceeds IP exports and is therefore running what can be considered a consistent IP trade deficit. As such, there is further room to improve for Australian businesses when it comes to generating innovative outputs that can provide a source of revenue, not only for business but also for the national economy.”

Collaboration vital for future growth and prosperity

  • Businesses that collaborate on innovation with research organisations are three times more likely to experience productivity growth, improved sales and exporting activity.
  • However, Australia’s rate of collaboration between industry and researchers (at 2-3%) is currently the lowest in the OECD, at 2-3%.
  • While Australia ranks ninth in research output per capita amongst OECD nations, we rank just 29th out of 30 in the OECD in terms of proportion of businesses collaborating with universities on innovation (ATN/AiG Innovate and Prosper report 2015).
  • Australian businesses do not have as much internal research expertise as key comparator countries. 43% of Australia’s researchers are employed in business, which is significantly lower than countries such as Germany (56%), South Korea (79%) and Israel (84%). (Source

ATN’s national approach to IP

  • ATN have launched a national IP approach to enable greater university-industry collaboration between industry partners and researchers from our five member universities.
  • Core to the ATN approach is creating new opportunities and partnerships to generate new innovations and jobs that will increase social and societal wellbeing, and secure Australia’s future prosperity and economic growth.
  • We’re making it easier for industry to work with our researchers and staff by reducing the barriers to commercialise research. Our approach is pragmatic, flexible and agile, respecting tight timeframes and unique requirements of individual businesses.
  • The ATN’s seven IP principles have been informed by the needs of our industry partner and will help build, and strengthen relationships between key players in industry and universities.