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Establishing And Maintaining An IP Management Program In A Publicly Funded Research Institution

Adam Liberman

CSIRO, General Counsel & General Manager, IP, CSIRO, North Ryde, NSW, Australia


It is not often that one gets the opportunity to fulfil a professional ambition. Being involved in the establishment and ongoing operation of an intellectual property management program within CSIRO provided me with that opportunity. I would like to share some aspects of that experience with you, and in particular those that I think readily translate into lessons that might apply to other publicly funded or partially publicly funded research institutions. Some of the lessons also apply more generally to organisations where the proper management of intellectual property is or should be an important feature. However, publicly funded research institutions do have special considerations which need to be recognised. What I hope you will also see is that the sort of program that I will be speaking about is an important foundation element in improving licensing and technology transfer.


By way of background, let me explain what CSIRO is and my role in that organisation. CSIRO is an acronym for the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation. It is Australia’s national science agency and is one of the largest and most diverse research agencies in the world. It was established in 1926 and its activities are governed by an Act of Parliament known as the Science and Industry Research Act. Section 9 of that Act sets out the functions of CSIRO which for relevant purposes include:
“(a) to carry out scientific research for any of the following purposes:
(i) assisting Australian industry;
(ii) furthering the interests of the Australian community;
(iii) contributing to the achievement of Australian national objectives or the performance of the national and international responsibilities of the Commonwealth;
(iv) any other purpose determined by the Minister;”

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