In 2018, Australia retained its standout position among advanced economies of experiencing 26 years of continuous economic growth. The IP system plays a part in this, as innovation is a crucial driver of productivity and economic growth. IP rights, being a tool for incentivising the creation of new ideas, are part of the framework conditions that support innovation and entrepreneurship.
Investment in IP and applications for IP rights can be viewed as indicators of innovative and entrepreneurial activity in general. IP Australia administers four IP rights, each of which plays a distinct role. Patents (Chapter 2) trace the rate and direction of technological progress. Trade marks (Chapters 3 and 6) make visible our investment in intangible assets, these being ever more important to trade among advanced economies. The use of design rights (Chapters 4 and 7) underscores the role of aesthetic innovation across diverse industries. Innovation in agriculture, including the plant varieties protected by plant breeder’s rights (Chapter 5), underlies Australia’s leading position in global agricultural production.
In 2018, patent and trade mark applications grew by more than three per cent. Applications for design rights increased by just over one per cent from a record high level in 2017. The demand for plant breeder’s rights (PBRs) grew by 12 per cent to return to its 2016 level.