Celebrate All That Is Possible: World IP Day 2013
The important role intellectual property plays in innovation and creativity is marked each year on April 26, when organizations and individuals observe World Intellectual Property (IP) Day. Established in 2001, World IP Day is a creation of the member states of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), which now includes 185 countries around the world. World IP Day encourages engagement among governments, private industry, and the public on IP promotion and protection.
WIPO has designated this year’s theme to be “Creativity: The Next Generation.” It is meant to emphasize the critical role that the next generation of innovators and creators will play in shaping and improving the world.
Patents, trademarks, copyrights, and other forms of IP spur new technologies and creative content in several interconnected ways. In the case of patented technology, exclusive rights are granted to the inventor in exchange for the full disclosure of the technology’s inner workings. Those details, published in the patent, create new knowledge for innovators to study, learn, and begin developing the next iterative innovation. By protecting innovations and creative works, IP encourages others to innovate beyond existing technology.
WIPO launched World IP Day on the afternoon of April 25 with a panel discussion and demonstration of 3D printing technology. Panelists described new applications of this technology – also referred to as additive layer manufacturing – ranging from medical devices to the fashion industry. For example, highly customized implants for hip surgeries can now be designed through 3D printing software, ensuring a near-perfect match, thereby extending the life of the implant. This exciting, next generation tool will bring certain regulatory and ethical challenges, but nevertheless will help “democratize design” and allow products to be manufactured closer to where they are needed. A demonstration of a 3D printer followed the panel discussion.
*April 26 marks the day on which the WIPO Convention came into force in 1970. WIPO is dedicated to fostering innovation and technological development through the use of intellectual property.