What is the role of the independent inventor today? Historically, he has played an important role but circumstances have now changed. The objectives of this thesis have been: (1) to assess the value of inventions made by independent inventors; (2) to determine whether the government should provide support; and (3) if so, how? It is not appropriate to make a judgement about the value of independent inventors on qualitative data alone. Therefore, attempts must be made to obtain quantitative data on the value, in economic and social terms, of inventions of independent inventors. The unique feature of this thesis is the survey of members of the Inventors’ Association of Australia to assess the personal characteristics of their members, the value of inventions made by members and the types of assistance required by their members. Some of the research results on the personal characteristics of independent inventors are interesting . 95% are males. (This is supported by other research data). their educational qualifications are much higher than the general population. on average, each inventor spends 8-10 hours per week on inventions. The survey showed that the economic value (in terms of value of output) of inventions made by members of the Inventors’ Association of Australia is about $50m per annum and creates about 4000 man years of employment. It is not possible to assess what percentage of independent inventors are members of the Inventors’ Association of Australia. Estimates place this between 20% and 50%. If this is the case, then it can be estimated that the value of output of inventions of independent inventors in Australia is between $100m-$260m which, in turn, creates 7,700 - 19,000 man years of employment. Additionally, the qualitative evidence suggests that Australian inventors are , at the least, equal to their overseas counterparts. There are grounds why governments should intervene to assist independent inventors indivisibility: this relates to access to information and to the large scale nature of some inventions. inappropriability: this refers to the externalities or social benefits of inventions which are not recouped by inventors through the normal market mechanisms. uncertainty: independent inventors usually have a small number of inventions; therefore it is not possible for them to spread their risks. Large companies and some areas of the agriculture and mining industries have developed special mechanisms for spreading risk. Based on an assessment of overseas policies, an examination of existing Australian policies and the results of the Inventors’ Association of Australia survey, the following steps should be taken in Australia to support independent inventors. (1) create an environment within the community which supports/encourages invention and innovation. (2) develop a national innovation policy.
|Date of Award