Since 2002 there has been an almost continual increase in the percentage of patents applications in Australia, with a 6.9% increase between 2005 and 2006. Trade marks continue to be the most common form of Intellectual Property protection. Three of the top five trade marks classes relate to services rather than goods. Since their inception in 1979, service marks have in general enjoyed higher annual growth rates compared with growth in goods marks. In 2006, Australia ranked 10th for patents granted to foreign-based applicants by the USPTO. The percentage of patent grants to Australians by the USPTO has been rising over the past five years. As in Australia, Australians acquired US patents mostly in areas such as Handling and Printing, Information technology, medical engineeringand consumer goods and equipment. There has been a trend increase in the number of patents granted to Australians by the EPO, but at a much lower level than grants by the USPTO.
Areas in which Australia has a Revealed Technological Advantage (RTA) for patents granted by IP Australia include civil engineering, building and mining, handling and printing, transport, mechanical tools and space technology and weapons. Australia has recorded an RTA for patents granted by the USPTO and the EPO in areas such as agriculture and food machinery, civil engineering, building and mining space technology and weapons and biotechnology.