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Case study – Dedicated support for small businesses

Throughout 2020–21, IP Australia provided targeted support for Australian SMEs to help build confidence in engaging with the IP rights system.

Customers told us they had trouble navigating the patent application process and the opposition process. In response, we set up a Patent Case Manager service – with dedicated case managers who work with patent applicants, augmenting existing online resources and helping customers to resolve issues with their applications. Customers have made good use of this service, with more than 115 calls to the service and continued strong engagement. The case manager service is now part of our standard service offering.

We also designed an SME portal to highlight the range of resources available, providing direct links and enabling faster accessibility to trustworthy and current information. For example, the portal showcases the SME Fast Track service – an expedited examination available upon request at no extra cost. Web traffic to the SME portal generated 3,834 unique users and a total of 4,992 total page views, with the most popular content being the Patent Case Manager service.

We also ran a dedicated outreach program to deliver content to SMEs in regional Australia. This included engaging with more than 30 external parties to share content and promote our webinar program (live and on demand). More than 840 website visitors were attributed to the shared content and 534 of these visitors were new to the IP Australia website, demonstrating the success of the program.

The recent tabling of the Patents Accessibility Review, conducted by Professor Raoul Mortley, and its recommendations supports an ongoing focus on Australian SMEs, which are critical to IP Australia’s important contribution to the innovation ecosystem. We will continue to proactively seek feedback across all customer channels and continue to provide targeted support. Future activities will build on the foundations established by this program.