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Australian universities ahead of Israel and Switzerland on collaborative international patents

26 April 2017

A new report from IP Australia shows Australian universities are ranked 11 in the OECD, ahead of countries like Israel and Switzerland, ranked 12 and 14 respectively, for university-industry collaboration resulting in international patent applications.

The Assistant Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, Craig Laundy, highlighted this in launching the 2017 edition of the Australian Intellectual Property Report.

“Australia has been ranked at the bottom of the OECD for collaboration between business and the research sector, however this new report shows that Australia performs strongly when we look at patent applications jointly filed by business and universities,” said Mr Laundy.

“These latest figures paint a different picture from OECD rankings in 2012 and 2015 that placed Australia last out of the OECD countries on collaboration between business and researchers,” Mr Laundy said.

The research found that collaboration between Australian businesses and universities accounts for a significant proportion of our international patent applications.

"This collaboration is vital for the competitiveness of our economy.  It ensures that businesses can tap into our world-class research capacity to develop new ideas and solve industry problems.”

Mr Laundy said economists at IP Australia used 15 years of records to map Australian collaboration networks, finding substantial evidence of universities successfully collaborating with each other, industry and government entities.

“Looking at the data, IP Australia found that every university in Australia undertook at least one collaborative IP application,” Mr Laundy said.

“In addition to extensive collaboration with other institutions, Australian universities collaborated with more than 400 non-university organisations, connecting more than 2,000 times, and many featured more than one collaboration partner.”

The figures in this year’s report also suggest more entrepreneurs and businesses are protecting their IP in Australia, with Australians filing 15 per cent more patents in 2016 compared with 2015. 

Applications for plant breeder’s rights rose by 8 per cent, design applications were up 3 per cent, while trade mark applications remained steady after record growth the previous year.

“These trends indicate growing levels of innovation and entrepreneurship by Australian businesses and researchers. They flag the early success of the Australian Government’s efforts to foster innovation, collaboration and entrepreneurship through the National Innovation and Science Agenda,” Mr Laundy said.

This year’s issue marks the fifth edition of IP Australia’s flagship publication setting out the latest data, initiatives and information about the Australian IP system.

The 2017 Australian IP Report is available at www.ipaustralia.gov.au/ip-report-2017

Media contact: Mr Laundy's office 02 6277 4345