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Program 3: Advice to government and international engagement

Program objectives

IP Australia supports policy and legislative change that fosters Australian innovation. We do this by shaping the development of the IP system domestically and abroad. We engage internationally to influence the development of effective IP systems, in line with Australia’s interests.

We add value. We use our expertise to deliver value to the IP system, our stakeholders and the broader economy.

Intended results

Provision of high-quality advice to government.

Strong domestic and international partnerships.

High customer satisfaction with services designed to facilitate the use of the IP system.

Maximised access to and use of our data.

Related purpose

Ensuring Australians benefit from great ideas.


IP Australia’s key achievements under this program in 2019–20 included:

  • supporting the passage of the Intellectual Property Laws Amendment (Productivity Commission Response Part 2 and Other Measures) Act 2020, which begins the process of phasing out innovation patent applications
  • expanding the services offered by the Patent Analytics Hub, which provides unique expertise and access to IP data to deliver detailed reports on patents for our customers and stakeholders
  • conducting an exploratory review of the role of design rights in incentivising innovation in the domestic designs system.


During 2019–20, IP Australia supported key policy and legislative changes aimed at enabling better and easier participation in the Australian IP system. Anecdotal feedback from the Portfolio Ministers and the Executive indicated satisfaction with the quality and timeliness of advice in meeting the needs of the government and our customers.

In 2019–20, IP Australia undertook a number of policy initiatives, including expanding the service offering of the Patent Analytics Hub to include a patent landscape analysis with international- type searches (in line with Article 15(5) of the Patent Cooperation Treaty). This service successfully moved into production in 2019.

Case study - Patent Analytics Hub

Our Patent Analytics Hub has been working with the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources Entrepreneurs’ Programme to trial a new patent analytics service that adds value for participants. Patent analytics—based on more than 120 million global patent records— provides information on technology trends, key players and target markets. This intelligence can help businesses make commercialisation, partnership and investment decisions.

In 2019–20, in collaboration with Entrepreneurs’ Programme growth facilitators, the Patent Analytics Hub delivered 17 reports to participants in the medical technology and pharmaceutical (MTP) sector. The sector, typically highly engaged with IP, comprises about seven per cent of the Entrepreneurs’ Programme’s client base.

The Patent Analytics Hub prepared the reports after working with Entrepreneurs’ Programme participants to understand their innovation and deliver the most relevant and useful insights for their area of specialisation. Supported by IP Australia’s in-house science and technology professionals, the reports covered a broad range of technologies from ‘smart’ foods to optical imaging.

Preliminary survey results are positive. Businesses are reporting that the new information contributed to their strategic decision making. The reports also encourage businesses to think more laterally about how to use patent information to gain commercial and competitive insights; for example, whether patent activity in a particular area is waxing or waning, who is driving new patent activity (universities, or large or small companies) and where patent applications are being abandoned.

The interactive format of the report was a highlight. This provides a simple interface to allow users to drill down into the data and address specific questions. Participants also said that it was easy to use, comprehensive and provided useful listings of inventors and specific patents.

The Patent Analytics Hub is working with the Entrepreneurs’ Programme team to refine the Hub’s service offering. The Patent Analytics Hub also published a suite of products to assist global researchers and decision-makers in identifying know-how, supplies and manufacturing resources required to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. This included creating interactive visualisations about medical equipment, diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines.

Case study – Support during COVID-19

IP Australia’s COVID-19 response ensured we provided assistance to customers affected by the pandemic. We also gave timely advice to government and industry to enable decision-making based on the latest data and IP policy principles.

Customers were central to IP Australia’s initial response. For customers unable to meet deadlines due to disruptions from the pandemic, we quickly implemented measures to streamline time extensions for most customer transactions and waived fees for those extensions. We established a dedicated helpline to provide information on trade mark protection to businesses that were able, or were forced, to change their offerings during the pandemic.

IP Australia also prioritised government and industry advice. This included advising the government on Crown use in sourcing medicines, personal protective equipment and other necessary patented inventions. We also harnessed internal technical and scientific expertise to create interactive patent analytics visualisations on COVID-19 technology, and to produce

the report A Dose of Innovation: Patent Analytics of Virus Vaccines. These products helped the government and industry to identify know-how, supplies and manufacturing capability.

Our customers are accessing these targeted services, with nearly 1300 placing streamlined requests for time extensions or providing positive feedback on our trade mark helpline. Our patents analytics products have had nearly 3000 views across our suite of data visualisations and A Dose of Innovation: Patent Analytics of Virus Vaccines has been downloaded more than 160 times.

We also supported the delivery of the Intellectual Property Laws Amendment (Productivity Commission Response Part 2 and Other Measures) Act 2020. The Act received the Royal Assent on 26 February 2020 and implements aspects of the Australian Government’s response to the Productivity Commission’s 2016 inquiry into Australia’s IP arrangements. This includes phasing out Australia’s second-tier patent, the innovation patent, from 26 August 2021.

The Act also implements Productivity Commission recommendations in relation to the compulsory licensing of patents, including Crown use, and makes minor amendments to streamline the operation of the IP system.

IP Australia commenced our Designs Review Project in 2019–20. This builds on the former Advisory Council on Intellectual Property’s (ACIP’s) past review of the registered designs system. We undertook public consultation on ACIP’s recommendations. As a result, we are exploring policy and legislative reforms in and around the design rights system. These are designed to improve access to the system, increase certainty for our customers seeking a design right, and better connect the design rights system to the needs of the economy.



Provide advice to the Australian Government on policy, legislation, ministerial correspondence, briefs and speeches.


We provide high-quality, timely and strategic policy advice to the Minister.


Provided timely and high-quality advice to the Australian Government on the passage of the Intellectual Property Laws Amendment (Productivity Commission Response Part 2 and Other Measures) Act 2020.

78 Ministerial briefs were prepared during the period, with 100% delivered within agreed timeframes.


We work with regional IP partners to strengthen the patent examination competence of participating IP offices.


Within the program timeline, 90% of participating patent examiners achieve a standard of competence necessary to produce a quality patent search and examination.


Results were published in the 2018-19 Annual Report.

This activity was reported in error in IP Australia’s 2019-20 Portfolio Budget Statements.


IP Australia’s innovation results exceed those of comparable APS agencies.




No result recorded.

Performance against this criterion is measured by staff feedback provided in the APS Employee Census survey, which has been postponed until October 2020 due to COVID-19.


We provide useful value-added services to customers, as measured by an evaluation of key initiatives related to each strategy.


The evaluation results of key initiatives show we have maintained or improved on our results from the previous year, benchmarked new initiatives, and used feedback to improve future service offerings.


Four value-adding initiatives were evaluated during 2019–20 including:

  IP Counsellor to China

  IP Mediation Referral Service pilot

  Patent Analytics Hub

  trial of Trade Mark Protect (trade mark insurance).

The IP Counsellor to China initiative will inform future education and awareness service offerings for exporters who seek to protect and enforce their IP in China and major South East Asian markets.

The IP Mediation Referral Service pilot concluded in July 2019 with 3500 unique visits to IP Australia’s website for information on alternative avenues for dispute resolution for trade mark owners. The service was discontinued following the pilot however the relevant content on our website was updated to direct customers to external mediation providers.

In 2019-20, the Patent Analytics Hub analysed topics ranging from ventilators, personal protective equipment (PPE), repurposed drugs and vaccines in the COVID-19 response, to graphene and regenerative medicine, with 37 technology-specific reports for universities, publicly-funded research organisations, government agencies and Entrepreneurs’ Programme participants, and 527 simple analytics reports for Australian innovators. Our written reports and interactive visualisations enable easy interpretation of filing trends, origin of inventions, top markets and applicants, and full technology analysis. Feedback indicates that our customised reports help stakeholders make informed decisions on policy, research direction, commercialisation, intellectual property protection, business strategy, marketing, collaboration and licencing.

The pilot of Trade Mark Protect (trade mark insurance) finished in July 2019 with positive feedback from more than 2000 users. The initiative concluded following the pilot due to limited demand. General guidance on IP insurance can be found on our website.


IP Australia complies with Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet’s Public Data Policy.




IP Australia is partially compliant, making open datasets available for download through the Australian Government data portal: data.gov.au.