For IP Australia, 2020–21 was a year of continued transformation amid global uncertainty. We remained focused on delivering improvements to our operations and our services while navigating the challenges of the pandemic for our customers, stakeholders and workforce.
Our core responsibility is to administer the intellectual property (IP) system to deliver high quality and efficient IP rights in a way that meets the expectations of our customers. Investment in critical activities ensured the continued transformation of our services. We rolled out digital technologies such as the Transactional Digital Services (TDS) Program, making our systems more accessible to our customers and making it easier to apply for and manage IP rights. Our focus on customer service was key to our success in managing an unexpected growth in IP rights applications during the global economic downturn over 2020–21.
We also continued to improve our education and awareness products to highlight the value of IP rights. IP rights play a fundamental part in driving economic recovery and, ultimately, in creating jobs and growth. To help ensure that IP is considered early as part of business strategy, we focused our education and awareness efforts on key players in the innovation ecosystems, such as small businesses, universities and startups.
In Australia and globally, the COVID-19 pandemic impacted every aspect of life in 2020–21. We continued to engage with our customers to understand how the pandemic was affecting them and what we could do to support them. We also continued our efforts to enhance the IP system by working with our partners in government to progress policy initiatives in key areas such as designs and Indigenous knowledge. Beyond matters related directly to IP, we engaged across government, supplying our knowledge and data to support a range of activities critical to economic recovery – including economic responses to the pandemic.
The COVID-19 pandemic also changed the way our staff members work. They responded with self-leadership, flexibility and resilience, which allowed IP Australia to continue to deliver on our service commitments in our Customer Service Charter.