8158.0 - Innovation in Australian Business, 2006-07 Quality Declaration 
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 22/08/2008   
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Contents >> Business practices related to innovation >> INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY PROTECTION METHODS

INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY PROTECTION METHODS

If the innovative goods, services and practices are readily available to competitors, then the market advantage can be lost. Formal and informal methods are used to protect the intellectual property of businesses. The registration of patents has been used by analysts to compare innovation at the international level. Businesses with any innovative activity were asked to report the methods they had used to protect their intellectual property. Businesses were not asked to report the number of times each of the methods was used.

Intellectual property protection methods(a)(b), by employment size - 2006-07

0-4 persons
5-19 persons
20-199 persons
200 or more persons
Total
%
%
%
%
%

Patents
3.1
3.2
7.8
21.6
3.8
Registration of design
3.1
3.4
6.8
15.4
3.7
Copyright or trademark
11.4
14.0
17.0
35.8
13.2
Secrecy/confidentiality agreements(c)
14.0
17.1
22.0
32.5
16.1
Complexity of product design
2.7
4.0
3.0
7.0
3.2
Any of the above methods
22.5
27.1
38.8
61.3
26.3
No intellectual property protection methods
77.5
73.1
61.2
38.8
73.8

(a) Proportions are of innovation-active businesses in each employment size category.
(b) Businesses could identify more than one type of intellectual property protection method.
(c) Secrecy includes electronic protection methods.


Perhaps of most interest is that almost three quarters of innovation-active businesses did not utilise any methods to protect their intellectual property. For those innovation-active businesses that did use at least one method, Secrecy/confidentiality agreements (16%) were the most common.

Businesses with 200 or more persons employed were more likely to use intellectual property protection methods (61%) than smaller businesses. For example, 22% of businesses employing 200 or more persons reported using Patents to protect intellectual property; this was almost three times higher than for any of the other employment size ranges.

By industry, the use of any method to protect their intellectual property ranged from under 10% for Transport, Postal and Warehousing to 50% for innovation-active businesses in Professional, Scientific and Technical Services.





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