ABIE Germany becomes the ‘GERMAN AUSTRALIAN BUSINESS COUNCIL’

Today the new name was recognized and Australian Business in Europe  Germany officially became the German Australian Business Council.
As organizations grow and change they often need a new look and feel that reflects these developments. Late last year the board of ABIE Germany agreed it was time the name of the group reflected the activities it undertakes. So after much discussion and voting ABIE Germany became the German Australian Business Council (GABC), a title which clearly highlights the two way nature of the organization to help German business in Australia and Australian business in Germany. GABC continues as a member of the extended European Australian Business in Europe network and feel this name change will strengthen their identity in the network as well as locally.

ABIE’s 2014 Ambassador’s Dinner in Berlin

The event will take place on Thursday, 12 June 2013, starting at 6:00 pm.
The theme of the night will be „Australia’s G20 presidency: what are the implications for business relations between Australia and Germany?”
This once-in-a-year networking event will give us an opportunity to mark the introduction of H.E. Mr David Ritchie AO, Ambassador to Germany, as our new patron.
We are further looking forward to vibrant speeches by H.E. the Ambassador and Mr. Greg Ellis, CEO of the Scout24 Group.
More information about the event and the registration please contact Susanne Schnack at office@abie-germany.de until Thursday, 29th May, the latest.
We are looking forward to seeing you there!

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 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.

JOINT AUSTRALIAN-GERMAN INNOVATION IN THE SECTORS ADVANCED MATERIALS & FUTURE CITIES

Australia has world class capabilities in materials sciences that are attracting the attention of the world’s leading manufacturers. Investors already include Boeing, GE, Lockheed Martin, Bombardier, Concept Laser, Microturbo, the European Space Agency, Baosteel and Chalco.
Boeing’s research partnership in the field of advanced materials with CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation) has lasted for more than 20 years. Many Australian companies with innovative technologies such as Ceramic Fuel Cells Limited, Quickstep Technologies and Plantic Technologies have entered into joint research and development projects with German companies before establishing in the German market, the homeland of engineering.
Home to four of the world’s 10 most livable cities Australia has much to offer the world in sustainable urban planning, energy efficiency, and climate change adaptation and mitigation. Collaboration in the field of Future Cities currently includes the Fraunhofer Morgenstadt Initiative, involving Brisbane as a role model for a tropical metropolis of the future. Joint research between Audi and the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) GEELab is undertaking critical research on mobility solutions and future driving experiences to create smarter cities.
“Leading Australian and German researchers and corporates have joined forces to develop innovative, technology applications for the future, and to face the global challenges of our time. The projects presented at the Australia – Germany Innovation Forum are great examples of how scientific collaborations and strategic partnerships between our countries are delivering a future of innovation,” Nicola Watkinson, Australian Senior Trade and Investment Commissioner to Western Europe, Austrade, draws the conclusion of the Australia – Germany Innovation Forum.
The Australia – Germany Innovation Forum 2013 is the culmination of the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Australia and Germany. Commemorated from 28 January 2012 to 28 January 2013 collaboration in science and innovation has been a focal point throughout the year.
This event highlighted the enduring research and investment linkages between the two leading economies and looked at how innovation and research collaboration can shape the next 60 years.

Further examples / business cases for Australian – German collaboration:
• Boeing’s partnership with the CSIRO of more than 20 years focused on research projects in space sciences, biofuels, advanced materials and other aircraft technology innovations.
• Carl Zeiss Vision’s Australian R&D centre is its first centre outside Germany
• Fuchs Lubricants continues to grow after 10 years in Australia, with the German company claiming a 10 per cent market share and its Australian operation is the fourth largest in the Fuchs group
• BASF, Germany’s leading chemical company, opened a R&D centre in Australia to lead technological innovation and increase productivity in the global mining and resources sector. It is also jointly involved in developing polymers to assist the agricultural industry.
• IBM has opened its first life sciences R&D laboratory in the world co-located at the University of Melbourne.
• GE has established a strategic R&D alliance with CSIRO to research innovation in health, water, aviation and clean energy carbon reduction technologies.
– Ricoh, leading Japanese photographic company, has established their Ricoh Innovation Centre in print technology in Australia
– British steel maker Corus is working with Australian company Dyesol on solar energy technology.
– Citrix Labs has two-thirds of its researchers based in Australia.
• Biotech giant Amgen rates Australia as one of the top medical study locations outside of the US.