341. The representative of Australia said that the subject of the agenda item helped Members remember one of the key reasons why TRIPS, and domestic IP regimes, had been introduced. IP was an integral part of international trade and its importance was increasing as the effective use of knowledge contributed ever more to national economic prosperity. In Australia the value of IP in 2011 was AU$182.5 billion. Trade in royalties for IP for Australia was AU$1.1 billion for exports and AU$5.2 billion for imports. These figures showed that Australia was a trading nation with a strong innovative research tradition but that it also had a need for access to new technologies and content. She said that innovation was critical to the growth of the economy and made it more competitive and created investment. The innovation necessary to keep growing the economy could not occur in isolation. Investment in innovation required a strong and balanced IP system that provided investors with an opportunity to recoup the investments necessary to bring ideas to the market place. It ensured that innovators could obtain the rewards from their R&D and fund further research. It promoted further innovation to access information, new technologies and content.
342. Australia's creative and innovative research tradition was well established. For example, in 1996 the Australian Government's science and research organization, which was called the CSIRO, invented and patented wireless LAN technology, a technology that gave the freedom to work wirelessly in homes and offices, using devices such as laptops and smart phones. CSIRO's wireless invention laid at the heart of what was now the most popular way to connect to the Internet without wires. The technology was likely to be in over 5 billion devices worldwide by the time the patent expired at the end of 2013. But of course this innovation had built on and added to many other ideas and in turn it had inspired further innovative thinking. Thus, strong and balanced IP ideas helped to create an environment for this idea to be developed, just as they supported the development of many other new ideas, including breakthrough pharmaceutical technologies and environmental technologies.
343. A net IP importer, Australia needed access to the creative works and inventions of her trading partners and its IP laws supported this need. In this increasingly linked and competitive world, innovative firms and foreign investors generally opted for locations with relatively strong IP laws, which could have a long-term beneficial impact. The converse was also true. Countries with weak IP protection were less likely to attract foreign investment and technology transfer. The Australian Government was committed to high-quality and balanced IP laws, both domestically and internationally, to support innovation in Australia to ensure that Australians had access to the innovations of others and to enable Australians to contribute to the global pool of innovative and creative ideas. Her delegation believed that the same should be true for other countries, recognizing that effective systems in other countries were mutually supportive and helped create conditions for improving lives in all countries.