This occasional paper explores the strategies being used in the Australian biotech industry to bring innovative new products to the market in a timely, cost-efficient and safe manner. Although there are various facets to biotech innovation, we focus here on the role of patents. Aspects of legal, regulatory and business frameworks for patent management in Australia are examined and the need for reform of existing frameworks is assessed.
We also analyse the specific question of whether patent pooling is a viable option for smoothing the innovation pathway and improving access to innovative products and processes in biotech. We explain the salient features of patent pools and other collaborative strategies for utilising intellectual property (‘IP’) rights later in the occasional paper.