The main objective of the World Intellectual Property Organisation is to establish an effective intellectual property ecosystem worldwide to promote innovation and creativity.

The theme for this year’s World Intellectual Property Day is “Women and IP: Accelerating Innovation and Creativity”. But do you know what Intellectual Property is, when and why World Intellectual Property Day is celebrated, and what IP rights involve? Come, let’s find out.

Intangible assets

IP is intellectual property, which can be defined as any intangible asset (not physical in nature) that is an outcome of creativity, and is protected by law through patents, trademarks, and copyrights. (While a patent is a right granted by the government to inventors in order to exclude others from copying or sharing their creations without their permission, a trademark is a word, name, or symbol that a company exclusively puts on its products and that cannot be used by others. Copyright is the exclusive right enjoyed by owners of IP to duplicate their work and also authorise duplication.) IP refers to “creations of the mind”. Authors, musicians, and inventors are keen to procure patents so as to protect their creations from theft and commercial exploitation.

Intellectual property rights provide legal protection for original works such as inventions, literary and artistic creations, industrial designs, and symbols used in trade. This encourages people/organisations to invest in research and development, innovate, and come up with inventions that will be beneficial to both the creators and the world, thereby serving as a catalyst for global growth. Intellectual property law enables individuals/ organisations to claim exclusive rights over and commercialise (make money from) what they have invented or created. In other words, such legally protected assets cannot be used by the public or organisations without the consent of the creator.

Encouraging innovation

World Intellectual Property Day is celebrated on April 26. The aim is to create awareness about intellectual property and its role in encouraging innovation and creativity. Besides, this day is also about celebrating creators across the world and their creations. It was officially established by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) in August 1999.

The WIPO is a specialised agency of the United Nations, established by a convention in 1967 mainly to promote the protection of intellectual property throughout the world. Headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, the intergovernmental organisation serves as a global forum for IP services, policy, information, and cooperation.

Daren Tang of Singapore is the current Director General of the WIPO. The WIPO releases the World Intellectual Property Indicators report every year. This report reveals information about filings for patents, trademarks, industrial designs, geographical indications, etc. worldwide and their growth.

Every year, the WIPO announces a new theme for World Intellectual Property Day. This year’s theme is “Women and IP: Accelerating Innovation and Creativity”, which aims to encourage women inventors, creators, and entrepreneurs around the world.

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