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Policy and international engagement

In 2020–21, IP Australia’s Patent Analytics Hub provided patent data and analytics to help inform government decisions, including in support of Australian critical technologies policy development and improved expenditure forecasting for the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

Research conducted by the Office of the Chief Economist this year found that after filing trade marks in export markets, Australian manufacturers expand their exports and become more resilient to shocks. The research results will help guide how the Australian Government supports businesses to navigate trade barriers and expand their exports.

In March 2021, IP Australia launched a project under the Association of Southeast Asian Nations–Australia–New Zealand Free Trade Area Economic Cooperation Work Programme to explore and enhance the quality of trade mark examination, with a view to building certainty and confidence for Australian businesses trading in the region.

We are continuing our work on reforming Australia’s designs system. In December 2020, the Designs Amendment (Advisory Council on Intellectual Property Response) Bill 2020 was introduced to parliament. This Bill will improve and streamline the designs system, including through the introduction of a grace period for designers who disclose their design before applying for an IP right.

We continued to work with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and other government agencies to provide advice in relation to the IP provisions of the free trade agreement Australia is currently negotiating with the European Union. We also contributed to whole-of-government efforts to reach an agreement in principle for a free trade agreement with the United Kingdom.

Consultations with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and businesses helped to shape proposals in our Indigenous Knowledge (IK) Work Plan. The consultations indicated broad support for proposed changes to improve the existing IP system to protect IK, including establishing an Indigenous-led panel to strengthen the voice of First Nations people in protecting their knowledge.