156. Australia would first like to thank the UK for drafting communication IP/C/W/679 and is pleased to co-sponsor the paper. As an innovation economy, Australia recognizes the crucial role of financing in helping to commercialise new business ideas. As countries respond to the ongoing challenges posed by COVID-19, the role of private and public financing is going to play a fundamental role in enabling economic recovery and supporting the business community to return to health.
157. Australia recognizes that SMEs have been particularly impacted by the global pandemic, domestically and globally, and initiatives designed to target and support MSMEs in the current climate are particularly important. MSMEs have worked hard to continue and in many cases transform their operations, whether through online deliveries, virtual events or the adoption of new digital platforms. This readiness to innovate continues to be a key factor in Australia's response to the immediate challenges resulting from the COVID-19 crisis and will be central to helping all businesses and the global economy bounce back.
158. As communication IP/C/W/679 explains, innovative businesses can find it difficult to use their IP assets to unlock funding, particularly when compared to businesses that hold more conventional, tangible assets. To address this challenge, Australia is focused on ensuring that the IP system is accessible, well-understood and fit for purpose to support SMEs to commercialise their ideas and raise finance. For example, the Government commissioned a review of Australia's patent system for SMEs. The Patent Accessibility Review was tabled in Parliament on 27 May 2021. The review involved a number of recommendations to support SMEs to raise finance and use the IP system to commercialise their ideas and we look forward to engaging further with Members on its findings once the Government's response has been prepared.
159. Communication IP/C/W/679 recognizes that beyond grant financing, there are ways IP offices can provide further tools to help SMEs access financing and commercialise their ideas. IP Australia, our specialised Government IP agency also offers a range of tools for SMEs to understand how the IP system can support them commercialise their ideas and raise finance. For example, the online SME Portal provides a single landing page for SMEs allowing access to a range of products and services designed to help SMEs navigate the patent process SMEs are able to fast track their standard patent applications by requesting expedited examination. Expedited examination is also available if an invention is in the field of green technology. We look forward to further exchanges with Members on how to use IP-related tools to support MSMEs in the green tech industry.