Francis Gurry led WIPO as Director General from October 1, 2008 to September 30, 2020.

World Intellectual Property Day 2009 – Promoting Green Innovation

Geneva, April 21, 2009

This year’s World Intellectual Property Day on April 26 focuses on promoting green innovation as a key element in meeting the challenges of climate change In his message to mark the day, WIPO Director General Francis Gurry highlights the contribution that a balanced intellectual property (IP) system can make in enabling the development of technology-based solutions to mitigate the impact of climate change.

Mr. Gurry’s message follows:

Human activity, including decades of technological development, has damaged our planet. Wide-spread pollution and spiraling consumption of the world’s mineral and biological reserves have put unprecedented stress on the environment. Climate change is one of the greatest threats ever faced by society: glaciers are disappearing; desertification is increasing; in Africa alone, between 75 and 250 million people will face increased water shortages by 2020.

As human activity caused the problem, so too can human activity find the solutions. Green innovation – the development and diffusion of technological means to tackle climate change – is key to halting the depletion of the earth’s resources. The race is on to develop accessible alternative sources of energy, as we work to harness the wind and tides, capture the power of the sun, and tap the geothermal energy underground. New plant varieties are being developed to withstand drought and flooding. New environmentally friendly materials will help us construct a more sustainable world.

On World IP Day 2009, the World Intellectual Property Organization highlights the contribution of a balanced intellectual property system to stimulating the creation, diffusion and application of clean technologies; to promoting green design, aimed at creating products that are eco-friendly from conception to disposal; to green branding, helping consumers make informed choices and giving companies a competitive edge.

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.

Background:  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.

Activities: A summary of World IP Day activities organized this year in WIPO member states is available at

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