4th Australian German Science Circle

The fourth Australia-German Science Circle was held on a pleasant September evening in the meeting room at the Australian Embassy in Berlin. Attended by ABIE Board Members, Elisabeth Opie, Class de Boer and Rob Harrison, the event focussed on science collaboration around the world. Professor Debbie Terry, Senior Vice-Chancellor of the University of Queensland focussed on how important collaboration has become in the scientific world. Australia and Germany are leaders, with many of their researchers being on papers with non-local co-authors.  Growing tripartite arrangements involving Asian-based scientists were also discussed.

Professor Terry did not really dive into the commercialisation aspects of science, except to mention one interesting statistic: in Germany, the ratio of academic researchers to technologists and scientists working in industry is 2:4; in Australia the ratio is 5:2 – almost a complete reversal. This shows the potential for increase in Australian industry science-based structure while achieving high return on investment, and indeed is being encouraged by the Australian government. There is clearly a long way to go, and targeted international teaming up of scientists would certainly help meet the challenges ahead for mutual benefit – scientifically and commercially.

The evening finished off with the usual round of drinks in the Atrium.

Ambassador Tesch Farewell Message

All good things come to an end, someone once said, and for me four wonderful years in Berlin and Germany will be coming to a close in late November, when I will be returning to Australia to take up a new role in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Canberra.
But I look back with great satisfaction at the evolution of strong contacts between our two countries in recent times and recall with pleasure my involvement in a very broad range of initiatives and activities which have strengthened our relationship over the past years.  This covers both the political and trade areas, but also includes specifically joint projects in science, research and education as well as a very diverse arts program showcasing Australian creative and productive talent in Germany.
Certainly a key development has been the conclusion of the Berlin-Canberra Declaration of Intent on a Strategic Partnership in January this year.  It encapsulates the full spectrum of our mutual interests, taking our political and corporate dialogue to a new level.  The first round of high-level discussions under the Strategic Partnership agenda took place between German and Australian foreign office representatives in Canberra in early October, and thoughts are already turning to extracting the maximum value from our high-level contacts with Germany during our G20 presidency in 2014.
Also this month, the series of activities celebrating the 200th birthday of Ludwig Leichhardt will culminate with festivities both in Australia and the region of this birth, in and around Cottbus, marking the strong legacy of endeavouring explorative interest in Australia on the part of people from Germany, and illustrating the potential we share in expanding and further developing linkages in science and innovation.
I will leave Germany with incredibly warm memories from the manifold contacts I have made, and this includes the many members of the Australian expat community from a surprisingly – well, at least initially to me – variety of backgrounds.  ABIE stands out for bringing together a particular active group of this community.  It has been a pleasure and professionally rewarding to be ABIE’s patron in Germany, and I have commended the role to my successor, Mr David Ritchie AO, who looks forward to continuing our very productive collaboration.  I wish ABIE as an organisation and all its members the very best with your continuing engagement in our bilateral relationship.

Ambassador’s Dinner 2013

Senckenberg Museum, Frankfurt

On 26 September 2013 ABIE held its annual Ambassador’s Dinner withH.E.Mr PeterTesch.
As part of his keynote speech, Ambassador Tesch shared his perspective on the economic consequences of the elections in Germany and Australia, noting some significant current initiatives and upcoming opportunities for Germany and Australia.  Germany ranks eleventh among Australia’s trading partners and tenth in sources of foreign direct investment.

The event was attended by over 90 guests representing various sectors from business, politics, education and culture.  Frankfurt’s SenckenbergMuseum made a wonderful setting for the evening!

The evening also markedthe lastdinnerwith the Ambassador, as his posting will come to an end in November 2013. ABIE Germany paid tribute to Ambassador Tesch, acknowledging his energy and strategic vision, and the significant positive impact he has had on German-Australian relations throughout his tenure.

H.E. Mr David Ritchie, who is Australia’s current ambassador to Italy, will commence as the Australian Ambassador toGermany, Switzerland and Liechtenstein in January 2014.

ABIE Germany thanks the State of Victoria and Telstra for their support for the evening.

ABIE October Festival 2013

Oktoberfest, Munich

On 23 September 2013 the 3rd ABIE Oktoberfest Event took place proudly sponsored by our corporate sponsors mic AG and Telstra Global. The ABIE Patron and Australian Ambassador H.E. Peter Tesch joined the event for the first time. Together with 20 ABIE members and guests he followed interesting presentations by our sponsors concerning their special businesses.
For some guests the visit ended on the 50m high ferris wheel with an incomparable view across the Munich Oktoberfest.
Mic AG already confirmed to sponsor the 2014 ABIE Oktoberfest Event again.

Summer Networking Event

Bob’s Fine Wines, Hofheim, Frankfurt

A group of enthusiastic ABIE Germany members and friends met in Hofheim (near Frankfurt) on 3 August 2013 to venture on a gourmet trip of the Australian wine industry. Hosted by Bob’s Fine Wines in their beautifully restored half-timber house, ABIE Germany attendees were not only presented with a range of fine wines produced by Anvers Winery but also with an insight into the current status of the Australian Wine Industry. Anvers owner and creator Wayne Keoghan mesmerized the audience with lovely reports around the making of the wines and the stories behind the mysterious labels and names. Many thanks go to ABIE Germany member Bob Gogan and his wife Monika as well as Anvers owner Wayne Keoghan for a very entertaining evening which lasted well into the night and gave ABIE Germany members and friends a chance for more informal networking and a different perspective on an important Australian industry.

Brandenburger Tor at Night

Ludwig Leichardt Event

Australian Embassy, Berlin

ABIE (Germany) celebrated the Bicentenary of the birth of German-Australian explorer Ludwig Leichhardt in collaboration with the Australian Embassy, Berlin, the State of Queensland and the University of Queensland, at the Australian Embassy, Berlin.
Presentations were made by the great-great-great grandnephew of Ludwig Leichhardt (bearing the same name as the explorer), by His Excellency Peter Tesch, Ambassador to Germany (and also Patron of ABIE (Germany), by Reinhard Flessner of the University of Queensland and by Marc Voigt of Prima BioMed Ltd. While the presentations all had the subject of “Ludwig Leichhardt –  the Man and his Legacy” in common, the individual speakers put different emphasis on Ludwig Leichhardt’s explorations in the 19th century, the reception of his scientific findings until today as well as the question how his entrepreneurial spirit can be translated into today’s business world. Further, ‘The Leichhardt Symposium on Biodiversity and Conservation’, an academic conference to be hosted by the University of Queensland later this year, was introduced to the audience. Ken Smith, Agent General, Queensland Government, let the audience know about the popularity of Ludwig Leichhardt until today. To round up the event, André Parade and Werner Pfeil, experts on the life of Ludwig Leichhardt, answered questions and shared their profound knowledge with the audience.
After the presentations and the Q&A session, about 50 attendees enjoyed a reception in the atrium of the Australian Embassy and took the opportunity to network.
ABIE (Germany) thanks all persons involved for letting this event take place, organizers as well as attendees.

Ambassador’s Message – BILATERAL RELATIONS ON A STEADY COURSE

It is a pleasure for me to again highlight a few of the developments in our bilateral relations, which broadly can be seen on a steady course following the conclusion and signing of a Strategic Partnership document in January, on the occasion of a visit to Berlin by Foreign Minister Senator Bob Carr.
The visit marked the culmination of our diplomatic anniversary year (ensuing from the first exchange of ambassadors in 1952) and refreshed our Minister’s and his German counterpart Mr Westerwelle’s joint commitment to a partnership of shared values focused on making a solid contribution to furthering the interests of the international community.
It also opened the scene for a series of activities around the 200th birthday of Ludwig Leichhardt, the iconic explorer who represents German-Australian links in such a particular way, giving us an opportunity to reflect on and showcase our strong collaboration in science and research. An early highlight was a special ‘Festakt’ commemorating Leichhardt in the Bundestag in mid February, to be followed now by a range of events in the Spreewald area, Leichhardt’s original home.
On an entirely different issue, we have been successful, finally, in conducting the first repatriation of Australian Indigenous ancestral remains from a German institution. A delegation of the Office for the Arts and Indigenous representatives from Queensland and South Australia came to Berlin in late April to collect remains from collections held by the Charité Medical Hospital. In a very memorable, solemn ceremony, the Traditional Owners and the Parliamentary Secretary for the Arts, the Hon Michael Danby MP, underlined the significance of the event and gave a strong signal to other institutions around Germany to positively consider similar returns.
It is thus encouraging for me to see substantial steps being made in a number of areas, and I am looking forward to other targeted activities taking me around Germany before completing my posting later this year.

Symposium on Sustainable Water Management during Asia Pacific Week

Excellence and Collaboration Projects between Australia and Germany
Asia-Pacific Week, Berlin, 7 June 2013
In partnership with the Australian Embassy and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), Austrade Frankfurt is organising a symposium on sustainable water management at Asia Pacific Week in Berlin.
Leading researchers and industry experts will showcase examples of excellence in technology and present on collaboration projects between both countries.

Please see further details with registration link under:
http://www.austrade.gov.au/Local-Sites/Germany/Symposium-on-Sustainable-Water-Management

Revised Australian Trade Mark Law

April 15, 2013, saw the entry into force of Australia‘s revised law on trade marks. The main changes are only minor, but they should have the effect of improving brand owner‘s enforcement of their trade mark rights in Australia and are also relevant for German brands down under. The main change is to simplify the system for opposing the registration of an Australian trade mark.
Australian and European laws on the registration of trade marks are very similar. In both systems, a mark trade mark has to be distinctive and not descriptive of the goods and services for which it is registered. A trade mark can also not be similar to other trade marks registered for similar goods and/or services. How this is interpreted is a matter for local law. Just to take one well-know example: the trade mark UGG cannot be registered for boots in Australia, because it is descriptive. Outside of Australia a number of companies have disputed ownership of the brand and have also fought each other on similar brand names, such as UGH boots. Similarly, Aspirin is a registered trade mark (to Bayer) in Germany, whereas in Australia a number of companies produce (almost) identical products that are sold in every drug store and no single company can monopolise the word.
The new amendments speed up and simplify the procedure for opposing registration of new trade marks. In the future trade mark owners will need to file an opposition within two months after registration of the newer trade mark (in Germany and Europe: three months), which means that they will need to be quick off the mark. The Australian Intellectual Property Office will still review marks to see if there are similar marks already registered in Australia, unlike in Germany or other European countries which generally do not carry out a search for older marks. Experience shows, however, that not all similar marks are picked up by the Australian examiner.
Once an opposition has been filed, the trade mark holder is given a chance to defend its position and the opponent can respond. The trade mark registrar then makes a decision. The registrar will give both parties an opportunity to negotiate a settlement agreement to allow, for example, the co-existence of the marks in Australia.
This new procedure should allow a decision to be made on the validity of the mark to be made more quickly than in the past. It relies, however, very much on brand owners monitoring the registrations of their marks. Such a watch service can be set up comparatively cheaply and allows holders of the marks to keep an eye on hijackers of trade mark rights around the world to take appropriate action.

March Kangaroo Tisch

„Guten Biken“ Store, Munich