25 April 2010

WIPO World Intellectual Property Day on 26 April 2010

On April 26, 2010, WIPO celebrates both the 10th anniversary of World Intellectual Property Day and the 40th anniversary of the entry into force of the WIPO Convention. The theme of this year's World IP Day is “Innovation – Linking the World”.

While Mr Gene Quinn of IPWatchdog wonders why his desk calender tells him that February 6 is Waitangi Day in New Zealand, that March 13 is Eight Hours Day in Australia, and that July 12 is Battle of the Boyne Day in Northern Ireland, but not a single word about the annual World IP Day on April 26, the ipeg blog notes that many countries organise special events for this day, among which are e.g. Moldova or Saudi Arabia, whereas others, such as United States, are strikingly absent, which might tell something about the commitment to WIPO of the latter. By the way, the only mentioning of World IP Day on the EPO website is a press release announcing a joint project to examine the role of patents for environmentally sound technologies, whereas nothing particular can be found under "EPO events", which I am sure does not tell anything about EPO's commitment. 

Besides all this, Mr Francis Gurry, Director General of WIPO, emphasises the cultural issues he likes to be associated with his organisation:
Rapid innovation and its global adoption has transformed our [world]. We are now linked – physically, intellectually, socially and culturally – in ways that were impossible to imagine. [...] From almost anywhere on the planet, we can access information, see and speak to each other, select music, and take and send photographs, using a device small enough to fit in the palm of a hand. This universal connectivity, sustained by the Web and wireless technology, has huge implications for the future [, since ] we are no longer limited by physical location – and the benefits are legion.

Web-based learning frees intellectual potential in previously isolated communities, helping to reduce the knowledge gap between nations.[...] Rapid data management and exchange speed the innovation cycle, facilitating collective innovation and promoting mutually beneficial collaboration between companies, research institutions and individuals. At the same time, digital technologies are enabling like-minded people to create virtual platforms from which to work on common projects and goals – such as WIPO’s web-based stakeholders’ platform, aimed at facilitating access to copyrighted content for the estimated 314 million persons with visual and print disabilities world wide.

Innovative technologies are creating a truly global society. The intellectual property system is part of this linking process. It facilitates the sharing of information – such as the wealth of technological know-how contained in WIPO’s free data banks. It provides a framework for trading and disseminating technologies. It offers incentives to innovate and compete. It helps structure the collaboration needed to meet the daunting global challenges, such as climate change and spiraling energy needs, confronting us all.
While Mr Gurry concluded in a rather declamatory way that "WIPO is dedicated to ensuring that the intellectual property system continues to serve its most fundamental purpose of encouraging innovation and creativity", thus helping to bring the world closer, Gene Quinn expresses in his post the more pragmatical feelings of a patent attorney for this day:
After all, we have work to do to protect those tangible manifestations of ideas and turn them into assets capable of providing employment for workers and funding for further breakthroughs and advancements. But if you are so inclined to say a nice word to your patent attorney [...] or at least not complain about your bill on Monday, April 26, 2010, that would be greatly appreciated!
There is nothing more to add, except: Happy World Intellectual Property Day!