April 25, 2013
The theme of this year’s World Intellectual Property Day – Creativity – the next generation –honors the talented and ingenious creators and innovators who are imagining how the world will look tomorrow. Intellectual property offices, associations, businesses and technology institutions and students are organizing numerous activities to mark the day, including competitions, exhibitions and public discussions.
In his World IP Day message, WIPO Director General Francis Gurry recalled that “creativity is common to all humanity. 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.” On the next generation of creators, Mr. Gurry noted that “young people have the capacity to dream. They are the future.”
The Director General said IP aims to promote conditions that help creativity and innovation flourish across the world. He urged young people to reflect on this: “My message to the next generation on World IP Day is to keep creating, keep innovating. And keep thinking about how IP should fulfill its role in the future social management of creativity and innovation.”
To mark World IP Day, WIPO has organized an exhibition* featuring 3-D printing, as well as a panel discussion on April 25 with leading experts. 3-D printing is one of the most exciting innovations to emerge in recent years. It offers totally new ways of creating products; the possibility of easily customized, local manufacture; and the potential to reduce the environmental impact of industrial production. 3-D printing is both a manufacturing and a digital technology, and as such it makes the unauthorized copying of objects easier. It therefore raises a number of challenges, including in relation to intellectual property protection.
The panelists discussed the technology itself, its potential and limitations, as well as the regulatory implications. Mr. Gurry, who chaired the panel discussion, recalled that while the buzz around 3-D printing is relatively recent, the first patent relating to 3-D technology was filed in 1971, and a patent granted in 1977. This means that some of the technology associated with 3-D printing has already fallen in the public domain.
WIPO’s member states initiated World IP Day in 2000 to raise public awareness about the role of IP in daily life, and to celebrate the contribution made by innovators and creators to the development of societies across the globe. World IP Day is celebrated annually on April 26, the date on which the Convention establishing WIPO entered into force in 1970.
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