Minutes - TRIPS Council - View details of the intervention/statement

Ambassador Alfredo Suescum (Panama)
412. We welcome the opportunity to talk about cost-effective innovation. We would also like to thank New Zealand for the overview it has provided on co-operation between Australia and New Zealand in relation to patents. This is part of broader efforts by Australia and other countries to enhance international cooperation and work sharing in relation to the patent system. 413. In past Council meetings, Australia has provided examples of the positive link between IP and innovation. At this meeting, I would like to provide an example of how Australia's IP system has supported cost-effective innovation to address climate change issues. 414. This example concerns an Australian innovator who wanted to reduce the cost of measuring vehicle pollution, a common problem whether you are in Sydney, Bangkok or Dakar. Traditional methods for measuring air quality require a large storage space, filled with over a million dollars' worth of equipment operated by highly skilled staff. Was there a way to make the technology more accessible and affordable so that it could be used internationally? By conducting a survey of patent databases in Australia and overseas, the Australian innovator was able to canvas what was already available in the market, investigate the use of particular technologies and use that information to create an entirely new and innovative product. This demonstrates how registering IP can contribute to the sharing of ideas and foster innovation. The final product was an instrument that can produce air quality measurements in less than five minutes, requires only minimal operator training, is the size of a shoebox and costs only a fraction of the price of other alternative systems. This cost-effective invention is protected by a patent and has attracted interest from Australian and overseas government and private sector organizations to help reduce the costs of measuring vehicle pollution. This is a good outcome for the Australian innovator, who can recoup the cost of his investment, but also makes a valuable contribution to monitoring a significant cause of climate change.
The Council took note of the statements made.
12.1. The Chairman said that the item had been put on the agenda at the written request by the delegations of Canada, Chile, the European Union, Korea, Switzerland, Chinese Taipei, and the United States.

12.2. The representatives of the United States, Canada, Korea, Chile, Switzerland, Chinese Taipei, the European Union, New Zealand, Australia, Brazil, India and Ecuador took the floor under this agenda item. The statements will be reproduced in an addendum to the present record.

12.3. The Council took note of the statements made.

IP/C/M/73, IP/C/M/73/Add.1