According to the number of patents submitted, the gaming and alcohol industries were the leading innovators in Australia, outpacing other private companies and research institutions. IP Australia stated that the results were likely due to companies protecting their intellectual property and reflect the importance of these sectors in the domestic market.
Gaming and alcohol heavyweights dominate the domestic listings
IP Australia’s report revealed that, while Australia remained a net technology importer, domestic innovation remained concentrated within the gambling and alcohol sectors. Endeavour Group Limited is a major alcoholic drinks retailer and hotel operator. It also operates poker machines.
Sportsbet, a company in Australia that specializes in sports betting, had 44 trademarks. Pharmacor is the only other non-alcohol gambling or alcohol company to make the top 4. Aristocrat was the company with the most patents submitted, surpassing the CSIRO national scientific research agency and other companies from the software and energy industries.
Intellectual Property Protection is Important for a Competitive Industry
It is possible that the increase in the number of patents filed for gambling industries in Australia is due to the popularity of online sports betting, and other forms of gambling. These submissions often relate to new gambling technology and machines, including mobile betting apps and online gaming platforms. Alcohol companies are mainly focused on developing new alcoholic drinks and brewing methods.
Professor Andrew Christie, Chair of Intellectual property at Melbourne Law School of the University of Melbourne, stated that the importance of these industries in the Australian marketplace, and their continued drive to be innovative and competitive, was reflected by their prominence. He said that trademark and patent filings do not always indicate innovation, but can be used to protect a company’s brand.
It could be an innovative company or… it could be “evergreening,” extending the scope protection of their existing IP.
Professor Andrew Christie
Christie, in his analysis of the technology-oriented publication InnovationAus, stated that gambling companies might be producing gaming machines with little difference in terms of gameplay or presentation. The competitive environment in the industry meant that each product needed to be protected against possible copyright violations, which led to an impressive number trademark filings.
The gambling industry in Australia is at its highest point ever. Increased competition will drive this sector to continue filing patents. Many Australians prefer that health and education organisations take the lead, but large gaming companies who have the resources to patent innovations still hold an advantage.