Support programs

17.65 A variety of programs and dedicated organisations have been established to support technology transfer and commercialisation. Some of these focus specifically on the biotechnology industry and provide specialised expertise to aid transfer and commercial development of innovation in biotechnology research. These include the provision of educational materials by the Australian Government; industry organisations and groups providing specialised expertise and advice; state government support agencies and programs; and funding support.

17.66 Biotechnology Australia and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, among others, have released educational materials to promote understanding of intellectual property issues in biotechnology.[68] For example, the Biotechnology Intellectual Property Manual released by Biotechnology Australia gives an overview of the types of intellectual property, patent procedure in Australia and overseas and issues in patenting biotechnological inventions. It includes information on identifying inventive subject matter, strategic management of intellectual property resources and commercial exploitation.[69]

17.67 There are also a number of industry organisations providing support for technology transfer in Australia, including the following:

  • Knowledge Commercialisation Australasia (KCA) is the peak body representing organisations and individuals associated with knowledge transfer from the public sector. KCA’s stated purpose is to advance knowledge commercialisation and achieve greater returns from public sector research investment. KCA also contributes to government and industry discussions on technology transfer policies.[70]

  • The AIC is a not-for-profit company that ‘delivers programs to improve commercialisation of Australia’s research investment’. The AIC has implemented a number of programs to address the key barriers to commercialisation. These include ‘AIC Connect’, which fosters engagement between the research and business communities and ‘AIC Know How’, which coordinates educational programs on technology transfer for researchers, managers and directors.[71]

  • The Licensing Executives Society (LES) is a not-for-profit professional society concerned with technology transfer and intellectual property right protection. One of its objectives is to educate its members on licensing issues and skills.[72]

  • AusBiotech Ltd is ‘the peak body for the Australian Biotechnology industry’, which provides a ‘platform’ to bring together all the relevant players involved in the Australian biosciences community. Its mission is to facilitate the commercialisation of Australian bioscience in the international marketplace.[73]

  • The Australian Industry Group (AIG) is a ‘not-for-profit association … created to assist Australian industry to become more competitive on a domestic and international level’.[74] AIG assists companies across many industry sectors by providing seminars and training workshops. It has also introduced the InnovationXchange, a ‘virtual network’ of collaborative linkages in the innovation cycle between innovators, such as universities, and industry.[75]

17.68 One example of a state government organisation developed to provide particular expertise on the development and exploitation of biotechnology innovations is Bio Innovation SA. Bio Innovation SA is a South Australian public corporation established in 2001 with the task of creating 50 new bioscience companies over ten years—it has established 18 to date. Bio Innovation SA has developed strategies to identify research being produced by South Australian research organisations. It provides free advice on intellectual property protection and commercial development to researchers, and may guide them through the patent application process, including helping them to meet the requirements for experimental support of the invention.[76] It does not hold patents itself.[77] It also works with technology transfer offices within research organisations where they lack the necessary expertise to develop an invention.

[68] Biotechnology Australia, Biotechnology Intellectual Property Manual (2001); Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and AusAID, Intellectual Property and Biotechnology: A Training Handbook (2001). IP Australia provides more general information on intellectual property issues at its website: IP Australia, What is Intellectual Property?, <> at 16 June 2004.

[69] Biotechnology Australia, Biotechnology Intellectual Property Manual (2001).

[70] Knowledge Commercialisation Australasia, Home Page, <> at 16 June 2004. KCA was previously known as the Australasian Tertiary Institutions Commercial Companies Association (ATICCA) and was involved in the development of the National Principles of Intellectual Property Management for Publicly Funded Research.

[71] Australian Institute for Commercialisation Ltd, Annual Report 2002–03 (2003), 10.

[72] Licensing Executives Society Australia and New Zealand, LES ANZ Inc, <> at 16 June 2004.

[73] AusBiotech Ltd, What is AusBiotech?, <> at 16 June 2004.

[74] Australian Industry Group, About Australian Industry Group, <> at 16 June 2004.

[75] Australian Industry InnovationXchange Network, About: the InnovationXchange Network, <> at 16 June 2004.

[76] Bio Innovation SA, Consultation, Adelaide, 16 September 2003.

[77] Ibid.