Last Saturday, on 18th June, the Australia-China Association of Scientists and Entrepreneurs (ACASE) hosted its first forum on Intellectual property (IP) and commercialisation. As a leading non-profit organisation in bridging science and business, ACASE offers entrepreneurial events all year round. The IP Forum was organised to provide a good discussion surrounding IP, which are often viewed as key results of innovation and creative processes. The event was held at RMIT City Campus and attracted over 50 attendees consisted of young entrepreneurs and scholars, representing a dynamic "university-based" entrepreneurial community in Melbourne.
The Founder and President of ACASE, Dr Celina Yu, opened the forum by welcoming the guests and introducing ACASE and the IP forum. The other Founder and CEO of ACASE, Dr Erjiang Fu, followed with an interesting story about how ACASE was formed and an introduction of Chunhui Cup which is ACASE’s flagship event this year.
Prof. On Kit Tam, Vice President of Australia China Business Council, commenced the panel discussion as the Panel Chair. The panel discussion featured a 15-minute speech from each panel guest. Mr. Jason Sun, Manager of Strategic International Partnerships, Department of Health and Human Services, Dr. Louis Tsai, Patent and Trademarks Attorney, Phillips Ormonde Fitzpatrick, Mr. Tom Williams, successful Entrepreneur, Professor Gu Min, Associate Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Innovation and Entrepreneurship), RMIT, and Prof. Kefei Zhang, Director of SPACE Research Center, RMIT, joined the great discussion on IP policy, practice and commercialisation.
The panel talks covered various topics including: the key role of public fund bodies for transformative innovation, the Australian context for innovation and commercialisation, opportunities in international collaboration between Australia and China, intellectual property considerations in commercialisation, industry perspectives to look at patent, changing landscape in commercialisation and research eco-system, provisional patent and panellists’ personal experience, set to empower attendees with a holistic understanding of IP and perspectives of different parties.
At the heart of the discussion were the importance of considering intellectual property early in business and commercialisation. Mr Tom Williams, the representative of entrepreneurs, commented on the right time to consider patent application using an old Chinese saying: “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is Now.”
In the following Q & A session, attendees actively raised hands for questions, such as how IP ownerships are allocated, how to decide whether to patent your work and etc. The panellists took turns to address each query and concluded that the issue of the patent was complex and it was recommended to consult experts from professionals or relevant university departments. ACASE, with support of universities, governments and associations, aims to provide researchers with easy access to a range of quality professional services such as patent consulting.
The forum ended with a Closing Vote of thanks by Professor Weide Lin, the Founder and Medical Director of First Health Medical Centre, who sponsored the forum. The forum was followed by the afternoon tea and networking session.
The forum is part of the efforts in making ACASE a platform for young scientists and professionals to meet and discuss collaboration for starting entrepreneurial projects. With the launch of the Chunhui Cup Melbourne Regional Competiton this year, ACASE is excited about motivating more scientists entering the world of entrepreneurship through this pathway, which continues to address the vision of ACASE - to encourage and inspire members to combine creativity with entrepreneurship with a view of harmonising business, innovation and technology.