The fallout from the Gershon review has won ISVs the ability to commercialise intellectual property (IP) developed for Government departments.
The Federal Government has decided to establish a default position in favour of ICT suppliers owning the IP for software developed under contract with any Financial Management and Accountability (FMA) Act Agency.
The amendment to IP principles was a recommendation arising from the Gershon Review.
The Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) CEO, Ian Birks, said the industry body welcomed the change, which it had actively lobbied for.
In 2009, the AIIA was involved in detailed negotiations with Attorney-Generals in which the experience of members was analysed and shared. It also compiled a comprehensive report on global best practice for IP ownership that formed the basis of arguments made during the Gershon Review into Government use of ICT and subsequent negotiations on IP across other departments.
"The Government isn’t in the business of commercialising the IP of software products," Birks said.
"It's hard to estimate the value of the change, but it can be worth many millions of dollars, especially for SMEs. Applications developed for Government departments tend to be applicable for other departments or Governments overseas."
Despite the shift in policy, not all IPs will remain with the provider. There are a number of exceptions where the Government will retain the IPs such as defence applications, and the policy shift isn’t retroactive, meaning Government departments will retain the IPs of those applications already implemented.
The changes will take effect for all contracts negotiated from October 1. The Australian Government Statement of IP Principles will be shortly be amended to include the new principle, along with the Australian Government Intellectual Property Manual.