OxFirst research leads to 1st National IP Strategy of Austria

Faced with the twin challenge of being an innovation follower and lacking adequate linkages between IP and business, Austria found itself with a patent office that lacked the necessary means for a significant contribution to the country’s economy. This situation was reported as problematic by the National Controlling Office.

Against this background we were approached by the Technology Council to assess what can be done to improve the unsatisfactory situation.

Our Approach

We undertook a substantive examination of the Austrian patent office and found that the financial position of the Austrian Patent Office is in a critical condition. This stood in contrast to the excellent financial performance of the UK, Danish and German Patent Offices. We also documented a lack of outreach programmes that would help business, academia or individual inventors to grasp the economic role of IP. Finally we argued that the lack of impact of the patent office is a reflection of the country’s overarching lack of IP awareness. Without top-level support the patent office will have difficulties assuring the role of IP in the country’s innovation system is adequately reflected.

Impact

The OxFirst study made a major splash in the country. Nobody in the patent office had thought of IP as a business tool before and the multiple functions a patent office could take had not been given particular attention before. The study led the Austrian Technology Council to recommend to Parliament to launch a National IP Strategy. This was done under the new Government. The National IP strategy under the direct leadership of the Prime Minister Austria has launched an in-depth investigation into how to promote IP for economic growth. OxFirst remains involved as a strategic adviser on the topic.

This paper was the very first of its kind in Austria. Quantitative arguments are used where appropriate and her fact-based, yet refreshing piece of research was very positively received within various Austrian Government Bodies.

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