Unleash the IP portfolio of Australia's research bodies
"Very smart engineers, business people and entrepreneurs are desperate to commercialise the incredible opportunities the CSIRO creates." That's from Adir Shiffman, CEO of Catapult Sports, one of Australia's most-successful and least-talked-about technology startups in the AFR in July 2014 - http://www.afr.com/leadership/entrepreneur/how-to-get-the-science-out-of-csiroand-intostartups-20140707-je1e3
Yet it's quite difficult first to locate and then to licence any of the IP created by CSIRO, or any of the other state- or federally-funded bodies. IP owned by the Australian people, meant to be put to work for Australians.
To accelerate commercialisation of IP - with the jobs and other economic benefits that flow from it, we need to make two simple but significant changes to policy:
1) You can't use IP you don't know about. We need a policy directing CSIRO, and all other state- or federally-funded bodies to make their IP portfolios searchable through a single interface accessible to Australian entrepreneurs and businesses.
2) Quoting Shiffman again: "The community must come together to create a standard, semi-exclusive licence agreement for all IP held within CSIRO and universities."
Many Australian startups have floundered within endless negotiations with federal and state-funded IP rights holders. A standard license agreement will lower costs both for licensees and licensors, and will likely return more revenue to the rights-holders than the current one-off system that can turn IP negotiations into a lawyers' picnic.
Policy leadership from the Commonwealth government can see CSIRO and our world-class universities grow a range of innovative startups keen on making the most of the IP all Australians have paid to create.