Steven Peters and Alex Demetriou, R&D Tax Specialists, draw attention to two current Productivity Commission inquiries affecting technology and innovation.
Australia’s Productivity Commission (PC) is conducting separate inquiries into data availability and use and intellectual property (IP) arrangements.
In the past 2 years, more data was produced than since records began. In Australia, there are now thousands of public datasets freely available at data.gov.au. In theory, open access to data will optimise its use and value through collaboration with government, private and research sectors; an issues paper on data availability and use considers private sector data and the inquiry will investigate how effectively firms review their data holdings for opportunities to innovate.
A draft report on the arrangements for IP rights suggests Australia's patent system may grant protection too easily. As a net importer of IP, overly generous IP rights are costly to Australia. This inquiry considers increasing the degree of invention required to receive a standard patent and whether a less stringent innovation patent is still effective.
These inquiries are significant to the National Innovation and Science Agenda; identifying data availability and use will inform priorities and foster a collaborative culture to stimulate investment and generate valuable IP rights for Australia. Indeed, a Senate Committee inquiry recently recommended future review of the Agenda and other initiatives such a patent box scheme.
These inquiries are also significant for businesses claiming the R&D Tax Incentive, with eligibility criteria applied by the regulator remarkably similar to the patent requirement for an inventive step. More suitable IP rights for Australian business should complement the R&D Tax Incentive.
The deadline for submissions to the IP Arrangements inquiry is 3 June 2016. Initial submissions on the Data Availability and Use inquiry are due 29 July 2016.