'Nothing Can Be Created Out of Nothing': Workers, Their Know-How and the Employment Relationships that Support Them

Centre Member: Colin Fenwick, John Howe
Associates: Chris Arup, Chris Dent, W van Caenegem

Innovation is central to the Australian and global economy. Innovation policy, to date, has focused on high-technology industries and the commercialisation of new products – areas encouraged by current intellectual property laws. This neglects the key contribution of "know-how" to innovation, leaving it to regulation by contractual clauses and industry practice, which may not set appropriate incentives. This empirical project, through the collection of qualitative data, will establish how Australian employers and workers bargain over the fruits of know-how, and whether this promotes innovation. It will suggest, if necessary, reforms to the intellectual property and labour law systems to enhance legal incentives for this form of innovation.