A Day to Celebrate Intellectual Propery Rights

April 26th is the date when intellectual property (IP) practitioners around the world gather to recognize the global intellectual property system and the role it plays in stimulating creativity and innovation. The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) decided back in 2000 to designate a date to help global citizens learn more about the impact patents, trademarks and copyrights have on their lives and their nation’s economy.

Any organization can set up its own IP Day. Typically it is government agencies, like patent and trademark offices, or universities, which host their country’s activities. WIPO encourages organizations in nations as varied as Saudi Arabia, Vietnam and Estonia to host events. The organization provides promotional tools and suggests activities, but leaves the actual management of the events up to each host. WIPO also provides a list of activities it recognizes. Click here to find out what events may be taking place in your hometown: http://www.wipo.int/ip-outreach/en/ipday/2009/activities.html. But this list is not complete. You may want to Google “World IP Day 2009” along with your city or country to find out what’s going on locally.

I plan to attend an event here in Washington hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Association of European Chambers of Commerce on April 27 & 28. http://www.ipr-policy.eu/web/conference. This year they are focusing on two themes: “US and EU approaches to protecting IP” and “Communicating the Value of IP.” John Tarpey of WIPO and Richard Maulsby of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office will be participating. Too bad I can’t be in Jamaica on April 24th for its Creativity Expo featuring prominent local musicians.

Officially, green is the theme of this year’s IP Day. WIPO is promoting the role IP plays in advancing clean technologies, green design, and green branding. But a review of global IP Day activities reveals that most countries have developed their own agendas off the official theme. Regardless, WIPO and other organizations have put out quality articles on green IP, the topic of my next entry.