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About Matthew Rimmer

Dr Matthew Rimmer is a Professor in Intellectual Property and Innovation Law at the Faculty of Business and Law, at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT). He has published widely on copyright law and information technology, patent law and biotechnology, access to medicines, plain packaging of tobacco products, intellectual property and climate change, Indigenous Intellectual Property, and intellectual property and trade. He is undertaking research on intellectual property and 3D printing; the regulation of robotics and artificial intelligence; and intellectual property and public health (particularly looking at the coronavirus COVID-19). His work is archived at QUT ePrintsSSRN AbstractsBepress Selected Works, and Open Science Framework.

Over the past two decades, Rimmer has investigated intellectual property and access to medicines in a range of contexts. He has considered conflicts in relation to HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, tropical diseases, non-communicable diseases such as cancer, the SARS virus, avian influenza, ebola, and the coronavirus COVID-19. Rimmer is a co-editor of a collection on access to medicines entitled Incentives for Global Public Health: Patent Law and Access to Essential Medicines (Cambridge University Press, 2010). The work considers the intersection between international law, public law, and intellectual property law, and highlights a number of new policy alternatives – such as medical innovation prizes, the Health Impact Fund, patent pools, open source drug discovery, and the philanthropic work of the (Red) Campaign, the Gates Foundation, and the Clinton Foundation. Rimmer is also a co-editor of Intellectual Property and Emerging Technologies: The New Biology (Edward Elgar, 2012). Rimmer has undertaken extensive research on intellectual property and access to essential medicines. He has written about the Race to Patent the SARS Virus (Melbourne Journal of International Law, 2004). Rimmer has analysed Canada’s pioneering regime for the export of pharmaceutical drugs (Public Health Ethics, 2008). He has also evaluated the system for priority review vouchers (WIPO Journal, 2012). Rimmer has also considered the impact of the Trans-Pacific Partnership on access to essential medicines (IP Journal, 2017). Rimmer has been providing expert commentary on intellectual property, access to essential medicines, and the coronavirus COVID-19.

Rimmer has undertaken a range of research work and public policy engagement on the relationship between intellectual property, international trade, and globalisation. He has investigated the TRIPS Agreement 1994, and considered its implications for various global issues – such as technology transfer, food security, public health, and climate change. Rimmer has undertaken extensive analysis of the Australia-United States Free Trade Agreement 2004 – particularly focusing upon its impact upon the duration of the copyright term, and the evergreening of pharmaceutical drugs. He has also considered other bilateral trade agreements – such as the Chile-Australia Free Trade Agreement, the Korea-Australia Free Trade Agreement, the Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement, and the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement. Rimmer was a critic of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement 2011. Rimmer has written extensively about the various iterations of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. He has been particularly interested in the relationship between intellectual property and investor-state dispute settlement. He has published a research monograph on  The Trans-Pacific Partnership: Intellectual Property and Trade in the Pacific Rim (Edward Elgar, 2020-1). Rimmer has also been exploring other mega-regional trade agreements – such as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement 2020, and the Trade in Services Agreement.

Rimmer is a chief investigator of the NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence on Achieving the Tobacco Endgame (CREATE) (2020-2025). He is a co-director of the legal project of the research network. Rimmer is a researcher and commentator on the topic of intellectual property, public health, and tobacco control. He is the co-author of the influential article ‘The Case for the Plain Packaging of Tobacco Products‘ (2008), which has been a high impact piece of research and public policy in Australia and the world. Rimmer has undertaken research on intellectual property and the plain packaging of tobacco products, and given evidence to an Australian parliamentary inquiry on the topic. He has edited a special issue of the QUT Law Review on the topic, The Plain Packaging of Tobacco Products (2017). Rimmer has considered the development and implementation of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control 2003. He has been an advocate of tobacco control measures – such as tobacco advertising bans, graphic health warnings, plain packaging of tobacco products, tobacco divestment, and tobacco endgame strategies.

Rimmer was a Chief Investigator on an ARC Discovery Project on ‘Inventing The Future: Intellectual Property and 3D Printing’ (2017-2021). This project aimed to provide guidance for industry and policy-makers about intellectual property, three-dimensional (3D) printing, and innovation policy. It will considered the evolution of 3D printing, and examined its implications for the creative industries, branding and marketing, manufacturing and robotics, clean technologies, health-care and the digital economy. The project examined how 3D printing disrupts copyright law, designs law, trade mark law, patent law and confidential information. The project provided practical advice about intellectual property management and commercialisation, and boost Australia’s capacity in advanced manufacturing and materials science. Along with Dinusha Mendis and Mark Lemley, Rimmer is the editor of the collection, 3D Printing and Beyond: Intellectual Property and Regulation (Edward Elgar, 2019). He has been engaged in fieldwork on makerspaces, fab labs, tech shops, Maker Faires, hackerspaces, innovation centres, hubs and accelerators; and has been conducting interviews with members of the Maker Movement.

Rimmer has also a research interest in Indigenous intellectual property and traditional knowledge. He has written about the misappropriation of Indigenous art, the right of resale, Indigenous performers’ rights, authenticity marks, biopiracy, and population genetics. Rimmer is the editor of the collection, Indigenous Intellectual Property: A Handbook of Contemporary Research (Edward Elgar, 2015). He has focused upon the adoption and the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples 2007. Rimmer has participated in inquiries into the right of resale, inauthentic art, and the design of the Aboriginal Flag.

Rimmer was an Australian Research Council Future Fellow, working on Intellectual Property and Climate Change from 2011 to 2015. He is the author of a monograph, Intellectual Property and Climate Change: Inventing Clean Technologies (Edward Elgar, September 2011). This book charts the patent landscapes and legal conflicts emerging in a range of fields of innovation – including renewable forms of energy, such as solar power, wind power, and geothermal energy; as well as biofuels, green chemistry, green vehicles, energy efficiency, and smart grids. As well as reviewing key international treaties, this book provides a detailed analysis of current trends in patent policy and administration in key nation states, and offers clear recommendations for law reform. It considers such options as technology transfer, compulsory licensing, public sector licensing, and patent pools; and analyses the development of Climate Innovation Centres, the Eco-Patent Commons, and environmental prizes, such as the L-Prize, the H-Prize, and the X-Prizes. Rimmer is the editor of the collection, Intellectual Property and Clean Energy: The Paris Agreement and Climate Justice (Springer, 2018). He is currently working on a manuscript, looking at green branding, trade mark law, and environmental activism. Rimmer is interested in the implementation of the Paris Agreement 2015 and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 2015.

Rimmer is the author of Intellectual Property and Biotechnology: Biological Inventions (Edward Elgar, 2008). This book documents and evaluates the dramatic expansion of intellectual property law to accommodate various forms of biotechnology from micro-organisms, plants, and animals to human genes and stem cells. It makes a unique theoretical contribution to the controversial public debate over the commercialisation of biological inventions. Rimmer also edited the thematic issue of Law in Context, entitled Patent Law and Biological Inventions (Federation Press, 2006).  Rimmer was also a chief investigator in an Australian Research Council Discovery Project, ‘Gene Patents In Australia: Options For Reform’ (2003-2005), an Australian Research Council Linkage Grant, ‘The Protection of Botanical Inventions (2003), and an Australian Research Council Discovery Project, ‘Promoting Plant Innovation in Australia’ (2009-2011). Rimmer has participated in inquiries into plant breeders’ rights, gene patents, and access to genetic resources.

Rimmer is the author of Digital Copyright and the Consumer Revolution: Hands off my iPod (Edward Elgar, 2007). With a focus on recent US copyright law, the book charts the consumer rebellion against the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act 1998 (US) and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act 1998 (US). Rimmer explores the significance of key judicial rulings and considers legal controversies over new technologies, such as the iPod, TiVo, Sony Playstation II, Google Book Search, and peer-to-peer networks. The book also highlights cultural developments, such as the emergence of digital sampling and mash-ups, the construction of the BBC Creative Archive, and the evolution of the Creative Commons. Rimmer has also participated in a number of policy debates over Film Directors’ copyright, the Australia-United States Free Trade Agreement 2004, the Copyright Amendment Act 2006 (Cth), the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement 2011, and the Trans-Pacific Partnership. He has been an advocate for Fair IT Pricing in Australia.

Rimmer is a chief investigator in the QUT Australian Centre for Health Law Research (QUT ACHLR); and the QUT Centre for Behavioural Economics, Society, and Technology (QUT BEST). Rimmer is a member of the QUT Centre for Justice; the QUT Digital Media Research Centre (QUT DMRC); and the QUT Centre for Clean Energy Technologies and Processes. Rimmer is a chief investigator, and co-director of the legal program in the NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence on Achieving the Tobacco Endgame (2020-2025) – a transnational research network. Rimmer was previously the leader of the QUT Intellectual Property and Innovation Law Research Program from 2015-2020 (QUT IPIL).

Dr Matthew Rimmer holds a BA (Hons) and a University Medal in literature (1995), and a LLB (Hons) (1997) from the Australian National University. He received a PhD in law from the University of New South Wales for his dissertation on The Pirate Bazaar: The Social Life of Copyright Law (1998-2001). Dr Matthew Rimmer was a lecturer, senior lecturer, and an associate professor at the ANU College of Law, and a research fellow and an associate director of the Australian Centre for Intellectual Property in Agriculture (ACIPA) (2001 to 2015). He was an Australian Research Council Future Fellow, working on Intellectual Property and Climate Change from 2011 to 2015. He was a member of the ANU Climate Change Institute.

Rimmer has supervised nine students who have completed Higher Degree Research projects on the topics, Secret Business and Business Secrets: The Hindmarsh Island Affair, Information Law, and the Public Sphere (2007); Intellectual Property and Applied Philosophy (2010); The Pharmacy of the Developing World: Indian Patent Law and Access to Essential Medicines (2012); Marine Bioprospecting: International Law, Indonesia and Sustainable Development (2014); Social Media Policies and Work: Reconciling Personal Autonomy Interests and Employer Risk (2017), copyright law and musical sampling (2017), True Tracks: Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property Principles for putting Self-Determination into Practice (2019), Community-Based Patent Opposition Model in India (2020), and The Theft of Culture and Inauthentic Art and Craft Products: Australian Consumer Law, and Indigenous Intellectual Property (2020). He is currently supervising a post-doctoral researcher working on intellectual property and 3D printing in the context of the coronavirus public health crisis.


2015 - Present Professor in Intellectual Property and Innovation Law, QUT Faculty of Law, Queensland University of Technology ‐ QUT

Curriculum Vitae

Research Interests

Intellectual Property, Information Technology Law, Biotechnology Law, Access to Essential Medicines, Tobacco Control and Plain Packaging of Tobacco Products, Climate Law and Justice, Indigenous Intellectual Property, 3D Printing, Remix Culture, and the Maker Movement, RCEP, TPP, ACTA, AUSFTA, TRIPS, TTIP, TISA, Intellectual Property and Trade, Copyright Law, Trademark Law, Patent Law, Trade Secrets, Innovation Law and Policy, and Media and Communications Law


2021 - Present Centre of Research Excellence on Achieving the Tobacco Endgame 2021-2025 (CREATE)
NHMRC - APP1198301
Role: Chief Investigator
2017 - 2020 Intellectual property and 3D Printing
ARC - DP170100758
Role: Chief Investigator
2011 - 2015 Intellectual Property and Climate Change: Inventing Clean Technologies
ARC - FT100100418
Role: Chief Investigator
2009 - 2010 Promoting Plant Innovation in Australia: Maximising the Benefits of Intellectual Property for Australian Agriculture
ARC - DP0987639
Role: Chief Investigator
2005 - 2008 Unlocking IP - Expanding Public Rights and the Public Domain in Australian Copyright
ARC - LP0562485
Role: Chief Investigator
2003 - 2005 Gene Patents in Australia: Options for Reform
ARC - DP0345648
Role: Chief Investigator
2001 - 2001 Protection of Botanical Innovation: A Legal Analysis of the Scope and Operation of National and International Plant Breeder's Rights
ARC - LP0348051
Role: Chief Investigator
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Honors and Awards

  • Dr Matthew Rimmer received the ANU Vice-Chancellor's Award for Public Policy and Outreach at the annual Awards Ceremony on the 26 November 2013:
  • Dr Matthew Rimmer was one of Managing IP's 50 most influential intellectual property people in 2014
  • Dr Matthew Rimmer received an ANU Strategic Communications and Public Affairs Award in 2014.
  • Dr Matthew Rimmer was named one of the Top 100 Eco-Influencers by Corporate Knights in 2015: /

Contact Information

Dr Matthew Rimmer
Professor of Intellectual Property and Innovation Law,
Faculty of Law, Queensland University of Technology,
Brisbane, Queensland.
Postal Address
GPO Box 2434
Brisbane, QLD 4001
Gardens Point Campus
2 George St
Queensland 4000
BePress Selected Works:


Books (5)

Edited Collections (8)

Contributions to Books (50)