On April 26 every year, we celebrate World Intellectual Property Day in order to promote discussion of the role of intellectual property (IP) in encouraging innovation and creativity.
In 2000, WIPO's member states designated April 26 – the day on which the WIPO Convention came into force in 1970 – as World IP Day with the aim of increasing general understanding of IP. Since then, World IP Day has offered a unique opportunity each year to join with others around the globe to consider how IP contributes to the flourishing of music and the arts and to driving the technological innovation that helps shape our world.
World IP Day 2013: Creativity – the next generation
What is the shape of things to come? From the weather to the markets to the next big thing in technology or the arts, we all want to know how the world will look tomorrow.
Predicting the future is an uncertain endeavor at best, but that doesn’t keep us from trying. And with ever greater access to information, instant communication, new forms of collaboration and crowd-sourcing, our predictions are becoming more frequent, more outrageous, and more accurate.
We know, for example, that cars will soon drive themselves. That our sight and speech – eventually our brains – will interact more directly with, and effectively control, our computers. Which will in turn become much smaller and be worn on – or inside – our bodies. This will all have a profound effect on how we live – how we think, how we work, how we learn, heal, enjoy.
What used to be science fiction is now fact. But what’s next? What is the future beyond the future? What disruptive technology is now just an idea bouncing around a young engineer’s mind? Who will create the next online sensation that again changes how we talk to each other? What new music will emerge from a garage somewhere to rock the world’s dance floors or unnerve the academy? Who are tomorrow’s great artists and innovators? How are they working; how do they create? And how will they get their creations to market in a world where the game changes, almost daily?
The future? Ask the next generation.
2013 Message from Director General Francis Gurry
April 26 is World Intellectual Property Day. This year our theme is Creativity – The Next Generation.
Creativity is common to the whole of humanity.
Whoever we are, wherever we live, whatever our circumstances, we all have the capacity to create. And it is this human creativity and inventiveness that is responsible for improving our quality of life in every sphere: our medical care, our transport, our communication, our entertainment. The aim of intellectual property is to promote conditions that help this creativity and innovative capacity flourish across the world.
The way in which humanity expresses itself creatively has changed profoundly in the last 30 years. People are creating in ever more exciting ways. We have seen an explosion of user-generated content, and vast numbers of people coming together - through crowd-sourcing and open innovation platforms for example - to take part in collective creation. This creative collaboration is opening up rich new possibilities for humanity.
What will the next generation bring?
While predicting the future is difficult, we do know that the speed of change has accelerated through recent generations. And now we see before us a whole range of new technologies with the potential to fundamentally change the way we live. That change is coming more and more quickly. The next generation will be here tomorrow.
The next developments in the life sciences, for instance, could transform our lives. Information technology, molecular biology, regenerative medicine, and even technologies such as 3D printing are coming together in and around the life sciences to generate extraordinary potential.
On World IP Day we encourage people to reflect about the role of intellectual property in our changing world. I believe there is a certain genius in intellectual property. What it does is create a unique incentive for investment in research and development, in innovation, and in cultural creation and production.
How does it do that? By creating a mechanism for buying, selling and sharing access to the benefits of innovation and cultural creation. Our challenge is to ensure that the conditions for access are fair and balanced, so that the benefits are widespread, and so that it fosters a truly dynamic, creative global society in which the next generation will thrive.
Young people have the capacity to dream in a way that far surpasses the capacity of older people. They are the future. So my message to the next generation on World IP Day is keep creating, keep innovating. And keep thinking about how IP should fulfill its role in the future social management of creativity and innovation.