387. Australia is pleased to have co-sponsored discussion in this TRIPS Council on regional innovation models. Australia is keen to actively contribute to a diverse range of regional innovation models and share in the outcomes they bring. We recognize that innovation is critical to our region's economic prosperity. We acknowledge the role that regional engagement and regional systems play in underpinning this important outcome.
388. Connections made and maintained through regional innovation models between governments, education, science and research institutions and our private sectors will help to create new and lasting connections, further economic diversification and share ambitious trade and sustainable development outcomes.
389. The Australian Government has placed regional models at the centre of its domestic innovation strategy, the National Innovation and Science Agenda. As part of this Agenda, Australia is establishing Landing Pads in San Francisco, Tel Aviv, Shanghai, Berlin and Singapore. Landing Pads will provide Australian market-ready start-ups, many with IP rich ideas, with an operational base in these regional innovation hot sports. Emerging Australian companies will gain access international expertise, international supply chains and the global market. All Landing Pads will be operational by the end of this year.
390. Australia also places a high importance on innovative programmes within the region. For example, on 4 November 2016, the Australian Government announced $3.2 million of funding for a new programme: the Regional Collaborations Programme.
391. The Regional Collaborations Programme is designed to enable Australian researchers and businesses to strengthen links with their counterparts across the Asia-Pacific region and to develop innovative products and solutions to shared challenges.
392. Funding multi-partner activities that facilitate greater strategic engagement and collaboration between industry and researchers in science, research and innovation will help to reduce barriers and promote open collaboration throughout the Asia-Pacific in developing innovative solutions to issues of regional and national significance.
393. This investment will also build research capability across the region and establish enduring and significant networks between Australia and other key economies. In turn, this will increase Australia's science and research credentials, create jobs and tap into international expertise.
394. The Australian Government has developed Source IP, a tool which aims to promote Australian research internationally by identifying collaborations and licensing opportunities. Source IP is a digital marketplace for sharing information, indicating licensing preferences and facilitating contact for IP generated by the public research sector in Australia.
395. One local example of Source IP’s success is the collaboration between the Australian tech start-up company "Forcite Helmet Systems" with the Australian based University of New South Wales, based on technology that was discovered through Source IP.
396. IP Australia is also working to connect Australian public sector innovators to other regions by promoting patents listed on Source IP with a number of sites overseas, including the major UK patent marketplace, and the Danish Patent and Trademark Office.
397. IP Australia has engaged all 40 Australian universities, the full panel of Australian Medical Research Institutes and Cooperative Research Centres, and the business community to participate in the project.
398. As a final example, I would like to showcase the good work of the regional based Intellectual Property Committee for the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand free trade agreement, the ANNZFTA.
399. The membership of the AANZFTA constitutes one of the most dynamic regions in the world. The IP Committee formed by this agreement provides an opportunity for Members to identify and address areas of common interest. For example, it is the launch pad for IP Australia’s Regional Patent Examination Training Program. The RPET, as it is commonly known, helps to enhance the consistency and quality of patent examination in participating offices, enabling them to improve their examination methods to meet international standards. For businesses, this improvement in examination standards creates greater confidence in file patent applications in the region and to transfer technology across borders.
400. The RPET Program has been internationally recognized by receiving a Gold and Silver Award at the 2016 Brandon Hall Group Excellence Awards held in the United States.
401. To conclude, the Australian Government actively engages in regional innovation models in a number of ways. Examples presented today have included regional innovation models that are integral part of Australia's domestic innovation programme, collaborative programmes to firstly connect innovators within the Asia-Pacific region and secondly to connect Australians with other regions and finally the positive work of the IP Committee facilitated through our regional free trade agreement.
402. We have welcomed this discussion today and encourage others to join us in sharing national experiences and practices.