May 9, 2023 3 min read


Gambling and Alcohol Patents Dominate Australia’s IP Filings

The Intellectual Property Office of Australia (IP Australia) released its annual report, discussing the changing trends in patent applications

Judging solely by the number of submitted patents, gaming, and alcohol companies were the most significant innovators in the country, dominating other private businesses and research institutions. IP Australia noted that the results likely reflected companies protecting their intellectual properties and reflected the importance of these industries in the domestic market.

Domestic Listings Feature Gaming and Alcohol Heavyweights

The IP Australia report also revealed that while the country remained a net importer of technology, its domestic innovations remained concentrated in the alcohol and gambling sector. Endeavour Group Limited, a leading alcoholic drinks retailer, hotel, and poker machine operator, led the pack with 116 trademark filings, followed by slot machine and casino game manufacturer Aristocrat’s 112. 

Australian pharmaceutical company Pharmacor was the only non-alcohol or gambling entry in the top 4, submitting 63 filings, while Sportsbet had 44 new trademarks. Aristocrat notably led the pack in the most submitted patents, beating out the national scientific research agency CSIRO and other companies in the energy and software industries.

A Competitive Industry Necessitates IP Protection

The growth in patent filings for the gambling industry is likely due to the increasing popularity of sports betting and other forms of online gambling in Australia. Many of these submissions are related to new machines and gambling technologies, such as online gaming platforms and mobile betting apps. Meanwhile, alcohol companies primarily develop new alcoholic beverages and brewing processes.

Professor Andrew Christie, Chair of Intellectual Property at Melbourne Law School, University of Melbourne, noted that the prominence of these industries signalled their importance to the domestic marketplace and their ongoing drive to remain innovative and competitive. He added that such patent and trademark filings did not necessarily indicate innovation and could only be a means to protect the company’s brands.

They (could be) an innovative company, or… they could be ‘evergreening,’ extending the scope of protection on their existing IP.

Professor Andrew Christie

In his analysis for technology-oriented media outlet InnovationAus, Christie stated that gambling companies could just be churning out gaming machines with minimal differences in gameplay and presentation. However, the competitive industry environment meant each product had to be insured against potential copyright breaches, resulting in an impressive number of trademark filings.

With Australia’s gambling industry at an all-time high, increased competition means that the sector will continue to drive the growth in patent filings. While many Australians would probably prefer to see health and education organizations take charge, large gaming companies with the resources to patent their innovations continue to hold an edge.

Deyan is an experienced writer, analyst, and seeker of forbidden lore. He has approximate knowledge about many things, which he is always willing to apply when researching and preparing his articles. With a degree in Copy-editing and Proofreading, Deyan is able to ensure that his work writing for GamblingNews is always up to scratch.

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