21 June 2017

A leading law academic has warned Australia will need to reform its intellectual property (IP) and trade policy, in the wake of Trump pulling the United States out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

QUT’s Professor Matthew Rimmer said IP will be a critical factor in any replacement agreements such as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

“IP and trade are intimately linked in the Asia-Pacific, with China, Korea, Japan, and India all investing heavily in high-technology industries in information technology, electronic commerce, biotechnology, medicine, and agriculture,” he said.

“If Australia aspires to have an Ideas Boom, Australia needs to engage in research and development in intellectual property and fine-tune our intellectual property settings in trade agreements.”

Professor Rimmer, from QUT’s Faculty of Law, has convened a free Intellectual Property and Innovation Law Research Program symposium to discuss on the trade struggles in the Pacific Rim this Thursday, 22 June at QUT’s Gardens Point campus.

He said both state and federal politicians had indicated a regional trade agreement was an urgent political and economic priority for Australia. 

“It has been a time of great upheaval. In the past year, we have seen the fall of the TPP, the rise of the RCEP and the emergence of China’s One Belt, One Road initiative,” he said.

“With the US adopting an ‘America First’ trade policy under the leadership of President Donald Trump, superpowers such as China, Korea, Japan, and India have been vying for economic and political influence in the Asia-Pacific Region.

“Meanwhile, Australia is seeking to assert its leadership credentials in the various trade deals.

“This timely symposium will consider the critical trade struggles for ascendancy in the Pacific Rim.”

The symposium will consider IP and trade issues including:

  • copyright law and electronic commerce
  • trade mark law and geographical indications
  • patent law and plant breeders’ rights.

The symposium will also address:

  • the impact of Investor-State Dispute Settlement upon the public’s access to medicines
  • tobacco control measures such as plain packaging of tobacco products
  • agriculture and food security
  • trade in services such as in education
  • environmental regulation.

The symposium features world experts including:

  • Professor Jane Kelsey, University of Auckland
  • Dr Burcu Kilic, Washington DC-based Public Citizen
  • Dr Shiro Armstrong, Crawford School at the ANU
  • Professor Lisa Toohey, University of Newcastle
  • Professor Luke Nottage, University of Sydney
  • Professor Matthew Rimmer, QUT
  • Associate Professor Judith McNamara, QUT
  • Dr Felicity Deane, QUT.

“This event highlights QUT’s abiding research interests in law, innovation, business and the creative industries, and highlights our sustained interest in intellectual property, international trade and the Pacific Rim,” said Professor Rimmer.

Register here for the Intellectual Property and Trade in the Pacific Century symposium.

Media contacts:

Kate Haggman, QUT Media, 0400 548 013,

After hours Rose Trapnell, QUT Media team leader, 0407 585 901,


QUT is part of a national collaborative group of five major Australian universities that form the ATN (Australian Technology Network of Universities).



Professor Matthew Rimmer has convened the symposium on IP and trade in the Pacific Rim.


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