World Intellectual Property Day – April 26
“The power of human ingenuity is our best hope for restoring the delicate balance between ourselves and our environment. It is our greatest asset in finding solutions to this global challenge, enabling us to move forward from the carbon-based, grey technologies of the past to the carbon-neutral, green innovation of the future.” – WIPO Director General Francis Gurry, message for World Intellectual Property Day
“Green Innovation,” the theme of this year’s World Intellectual Property (IP) Day hit a mark with IP stakeholders and engaged a broader public. The message from WIPO Director General Francis Gurry, “human ingenuity is our best hope” struck a positive note in audiences downhearted by gloomy economic forecasts and worried about environmental problems.
Following the announcement of the “Green Innovation” theme for IP Day, Mr. Gurry also announced, in February, the establishment of the WIPO Carbon Neutrality Project (see box). April marked the beginning of concrete work on the project.
The WIPO Magazine Green Innovation Special Issue reinforced the IP Day message with articles that highlighted the links between innovation and with the IP system. The Special Issue proved very popular, going into reprint weeks after its first release, and bringing in more letters and feedback than any other issue. The idea of making the IP Day materials available for download, in the spirit of the Day’s green theme, was also well-received.
Never has there been such an outflow of creativity in the posters from Member States and observers for the World IP Day web gallery. WIPO had received activity reports from some 60 countries and organizations when this issue went to print. This year several countries held multiple events, organized jointly or separately by ministries, industrial property offices, universities, private sector enterprises and other stakeholders. In addition, 12 WIPO awards were presented to inventors, creators and enterprises in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Lithuania, Mongolia, the Russian Federation and the Slovak Republic.
Universidad de Guadalajara, Mexico; MAWHIBA, Saudi Arabia; U.K. Intellectual Property Office; Asociación Argentina de Intérpretes; State Patent Office, Uzbekistan; Universidad Ricardo Palma, Peru
Both the Algerian and Moroccan copyright offices organized national seminars. The Algerian seminar dealt with the IP protection of computer programs, and the theme of Morocco’s event was “Copyright and related rights: practices, measures and procedures of protection.”
The "Institut de la Francophonie pour l'Entrepreneuriat" (Francophone Entrepreneurship Institute), based in Mauritius, organized an IP information and green innovation campaign in Benin. The Rand Institute for Policy and Education aligned IP Day celebrations in Kenya with the World Book and Copyright Day to hold a National Innovation Week.
Zambia’s Patents and Companies Registration Office and the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services organized a march through Lusaka’s city center with IP stakeholders, accompanied by a live band, to the venue of the World IP Day celebrations where local artists performed.
Asia had the broadest participation with activities in China, Iran (Islamic Republic of), India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, the Maldives, Myanmar, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Thailand, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Vietnam and Yemen.
The King Abdulaziz and His Companions Foundation for Giftedness and Creativity (MAWHIBA) and the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) in Saudi Arabia organized a number of activities, including IP seminars, the design of a webpage, posters and charts to display in schools and shopping malls, a mass dispatch of e-mails and SMSs to promote the event and the publication of various newspaper articles.
Thailand organized the preview of the short film “Challenges in Film Making,” the screening of the animation movie “Kan-Klauy” and a forum on IP and the creative industries.
Turkey focused on the current trends in green innovation, and the competitive advantage and economic benefits it brings to companies. Representatives from prominent universities, businesses and NGOs shared views and experiences in a seminar on green innovation and IP. Yemen’s Trust Intellectual Property Company, under the auspices of the Ministry of Industry and Trade, invited international and national experts and practitioners to an IP Forum.
The event was also very popular in Europe where not only IP offices but private enterprises joined in organizing World IP Day outreach events for staff as well as for their stakeholders. For example, Electricité de France (EDF), a major electrical utility in Europe that uses green technologies to produce clean energy, sensitized its engineers to the need for IP protection and had them participate in a quiz on the theme of IP and renewable energies, such as wind, marine, photovoltaic, geothermal and biomass.
Machiavelli Music International, Italy, a firm involved in the licensing and clearances of musical works, dispatched an electronic musical newsletter containing a selection of works by young creators who represented by the firm.
National Center of Intellectual Property, Belarus, organized meetings for authors, a seminar on collective management and another on patents; held press conferences; launched an IP competition for young people; held a sustainable development exhibition – the list goes on.
The U.K. Intellectual Property Office also included young people in its activities. The Cracking Ideas Competition winners, Eveswell Primary School, were given a VIP trip to the Wallace and Gromit’s World of Cracking Ideas exhibition at the Science Museum in London.
Support for World IP Day was strong in Latin America, with reports coming in from Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua and Uruguay. Brazil organized an anti-piracy campaign. El Salvador was very active with a full month of activities, throughout April. Radio, press and web announcements were made, promotional materials were widely displayed, seminars organized and an award ceremony held. The Nicaraguan IP Office held an exhibition on its premises, displaying university projects and local products and culture.
Mexico’s UNIVER Zacatecas (University of Vera-Cruz) held a workshop to promote culture and awareness of IP themes amongst young people and the entrepreneurial and scientific communities. A lecture on the “IP Challenges arising from Climate Change” was given at a conference held for small businesses. Guatamala’s Intellectual Property Registry linked up with various partners, including Universidad del Valle, on projects to inform students, researchers and professors on the IP issues that concern them.
The World IP Day circular suggested that the theme could be adjusted where necessary, and Jamaica did just so. The theme of its week-long celebrations under the theme “Creativity: Protect! Collect! Respect!” While Ethiopia celebrated with the theme “IP Asset Development and Exploitation,” holding a two-day workshop on the “Extension of the Ethiopian Fine Coffees Initiative.”
Finland, where World IP Day was declared Finnish Inventors’ Day, chose “Recovery through Innovation,” a topical theme for the current economic situation. Uzbekistan focused on trademarks, with a conference on “Trademarks and their Importance for a Developing Economy” and a competition for organizations to develop their own trademarks.
Get the picture
WIPO Magazine encourages its readers to get a more complete picture by visiting the World IP Day activities. Despite the economic downturn, WIPO Member States and observers have shown great creativity and initiative in the events they organized to reach out to a vast and diverse audience. WIPO welcomes their participation and appreciates their efforts. We look forward to a further broadening of celebrations next year.
By Sylvie Castonguay, WIPO Magazine Editorial Team, Communications Division