Balancing the Gene Patenting Debate in Australia, 2009

Institute of Patent and Trade Mark Attorneys of Australia

CASE
STUDY

The Australian Senate Inquiry into Gene Patents is currently investigating whether patent laws covering genes should be revised.

Originally scheduled to report in November 2009, CallidusPR was approached by the Institute of Patent and Trade Mark Attorneys of Australia (IPTA) in September 2009 to advise on increasing dialogue with the Committee, and moving the public debate from one of general disagreement to a more neutral and better informed position.

IPTA was concerned that all the potential consequences of a proposed amendment were not fully understood amid the sensationalist noise and ‘untruths’ that were being disseminated. CallidusPR developed a plan that gave IPTA a voice representing the views of its members by:

  • Setting out its position on the proposed amendment
  • Developing strong and clear messages
  • Concisely rebutting mis-informing messages
  • Opening up a two-way dialogue with the Committee

RESULT

The Committee has delayed reporting from November 2009 to September 2010 due to "the complex nature of many issues associated with this inquiry.” IPTA succeeded in achieving its goal, as it aimed to create an environment for all potential consequences to be carefully considered before making any changes to the Act and this is currently happening.

AWARDS

This PR campaign won the 2010 Public Relations Institute of Australia (PRIA) NSW State Awards for Excellence in Public Affairs and was commended in the PRIA National Golden Target Awards in Public Affairs the same year.