IP strategy is key to innovation | Law

IP strategy is key to innovation

OPINION: Adam Liberman, AFR Letters, 14 December 2015.

The Commonwealth government in its Innovation Statement is to be congratulated in placing innovation and science at the heart of its policy agenda and thereby trying to catch up with the 21st century economy. One important gap in the statement is the lack of recognition that the strategic use and management of intellectual property can play.

As at 2013 there were 9.45 million patents in force throughout the world – an increase of 8.4 per cent over the previous year. For the same year and the preceding three years, Australians held 0.6 per cent of all granted patents in the three major economies the United States, Europe and Japan. Australians held an even lower percentage if other world economies were considered. In 2013 however Australians published 3.6 per cent of recognised world scientific publications which represented an increasing trend going back to 1995 when the percentage was 2.45 per cent. We therefore over achieve in research publications but under achieve in patenting.

The gap between the two cannot continue if Australia is to reap the benefits of this new innovation enlightened era. Science, technology, engineering and maths learning must therefore be complemented by education in the strategic use and management of intellectual property. It is ironic that even as far back as 2008 the National Intellectual Property Strategy of China stated that "intellectual property is ... an important supporting force in building an innovative country." Does Australia have something to learn from China?