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IP Australia annual report (24 April 2020)

IP Australia has released its annual intellectual property report about intellectual property activity during 2019.  

The report is something of an indicator of the type of economic activity in the country.  As well as statistics about the number of patents, trade marks and designs filed during the year, this year’s theme is “Digital Economy”, and throughout the report are comments on IP trends in this sector.  The report concludes that Australia’s recent performance for information and communication technologies (ICT) is “middle of the road” for ICT-intensity (based on the ICT percentage of total patents / trade marks) compared to other countries, and the digital economy does not appear to be a focus of Australian-resident industrial IP rights.  If Australia wants to be a leader in this sector, according to the report there is room for improvement. 

Quickly looking at some of the raw patent statistics:  91% of the 27,121 applications for Australian standard patents in 2019 were made by non-residents, consistent with the previous year.  The total number of applications was slightly lower than 2018, the busiest year on record.  Of these, 17,010 applications were examined and granted. Looking at where new technology comes from, the top five countries of origin for patent applications were the USA (13,125 – 48%), Australia (2,637 –  nearly 10%), China (1,832 – 6.7%), Japan (1,573 – 5.7%) and Germany (1,311 – 4.8%), for a combined total of 20,478 or 75%.  For classes of technology, medical technology had the highest number of applications with 3,665, then pharmaceuticals with 2695 and biotechnology with 1,822, then civil engineering with 1,690.  

And some of the raw trade mark statistics:  There were 75,622 applications in 2019, 5% down on record levels of 2018. 44,176 of these (58%) were filed by Australian residents.  The largest overseas filing country was the USA (9,153 – 12%), then China (4,998 – 6.6%), UK (2,332 – 3%) and Germany (1,904 – 2.5%). The top classes for trade mark applications were technological and electrical apparatus (13,844), advertising (13,515), education, training and education (10,801), scientific and technological services (9,214) and clothing and footwear (6,558).  

There are also sections of the report looking at deigns and plant breeder rights.  The report does not discuss copyright, as it is not a registered right administered by IP Australia. 

What impact from this year’s coronavirus crisis will next year’s report show? 

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