The following communication, dated 6 October 2014, from the delegation of Australia is being circulated pursuant to paragraph 1 of the Decision on Implementation of Article 66.2 of the TRIPS Agreement (IP/C/28).
Communications from other developed country Members will be circulated as addenda to this document.
1.1. Australia is committed to implementing Article 66.2 of the TRIPS Agreement. Australia is also committed to sharing information with other WTO Members about incentives and support it offers enterprises and institutions to promote and encourage technology transfer to least developed countries (LDCs).
1.2. The following report updates the report submitted by Australia on 8 October 2013 (IP/C/W/594/Add.7) to include the period 2013-14. It is submitted in accordance with paragraph one of the Decision of the Council for TRIPS of 19 February 2003 on Implementation of Article 66.2 of the TRIPS Agreement (IP/C/28). That decision requires developed country Members to submit annual reports on actions taken or planned in pursuance of their obligations under Article 66.2.
1.3. In this report technology transfer is taken to include training, education and the dissemination of knowledge, as well as the intellectual property embedded in transferred goods and services and the dissemination of business information and know-how on which a product, process or service is based. Mindful that this is a broad definition, the Australian Government has sought to focus on incentives and support to promote and encourage the transfer of technical or technological components.
1.4. This report focuses on technology transfer. Technical and financial cooperation in favour of least developed and developing countries to facilitate the implementation of the TRIPS Agreement is the subject of an obligation under Article 67 of the TRIPS Agreement, on which developed country Members report separately. It is recognised, however, that there is overlap between activities taken in pursuance of these commitments, as outlined by various Members and as expressed by the WTO Secretariat previously. Some technical and financial cooperation activities may help to create an environment conducive to the creation or acquisition of technologies. These activities may do so, for example, by supporting improved education, technical training and research capacity, or by promoting economic development, investments in infrastructure and effective governance.
1.5. Australia's aid programme helps promote and encourage technology transfer to LDCs. Australia's new development policy, released in June 2014, seeks to use aid as a catalyst to promote economic growth and poverty reduction, including through emphasis on aid for trade. Australian aid investments in infrastructure and trade facilitation, key growth sectors and effective governance are designed to support LDCs in the Indo-Pacific region engage with the regional and global economy.
1.6. Encouraging increased innovation and knowledge transfer to high productivity sectors is a means of helping our LDC partners be competitive in the global trading system. Additionally, Australia supports the further development of intellectual property systems in countries in the Indo-Pacific region. Strong intellectual property systems give the private sector greater confidence that intellectual property rights will be protected. This confidence may encourage their entry into LDC markets and assist with technology production, transfer and diffusion through local employment and partnerships with local companies. Strong intellectual property systems will also encourage local creativity and the protection of new innovations.
1.7. Enterprises and institutions eligible for funding to deliver projects and activities to facilitate technology transfer include government agencies and public institutions, non-government organisations, independent consultants and experts, and universities and research organisations.
1.8. Australian aid has been untied since 2006, allowing non-Australian organisations to bid for contracts to supply goods and services under bilateral and multilateral development assistance programmes. Untied aid is the best way to ensure activities represent value for money, are cost-effective and use the best globally available expertise, thereby achieving the best development results. Consistent with this, Australia's aid-funded incentives for technology transfer are not exclusive to Australian institutions and enterprises.
1.9. Australia recognises that LDC Members have an interest in learning more about the outcomes and outputs of Members' activities which may feature technology transfer. The Annex to this report includes a representative (non-exhaustive) sample of programmes and projects that have a technology transfer dimension, following the format suggested by LDCs in IP/C/W/561.