World IP Day is coming up. What does it mean for you?

April 15th, 2020

Every year on April 26th is World IP day, celebrating the role of all types of IP (Intellectual Property) in encouraging new and exciting innovation and creative ideas. This year, the World IP day universal theme is all about creating a ‘green’ future. There are usually events around the world revolving around this such as celebrations, debates, seminars and more, but this year the WIPO are encouraging events to go virtual.

WIPO is the World Intellectual Property Organisation. WIPO is the global forum for Intellectual Property services, policy, information and cooperation.  They started World IP day and organise many of the celebrations.

But what is all the fuss about? You would be forgiven for being slightly unenthused by a day dedicated to patents and trademarks. But Intellectual Property impacts (as well as protects) almost everything we see and use.

This World IP Day, we want to join in with WIPO in celebrating IP by explaining what is so important about it, and making the sometimes confusing term, Intellectual Property, a bit more relatable.

Like it or hate it, its IP!

In terms of global sports, Intellectual Property rights encourage and protect innovation and creativity to support the development of the sport and its enjoyment by many across the world. Intellectual Property is ever-present in the industry, for example: Sports businesses patenting new technologies and equipment to improve athletic performance or experience – Like VAR (Video Assistant Referee) in the Premier League.

Other examples aren’t so obvious. Think of the trademarks and branding that protect sponsors of massive events like the 2012 Olympic Games. Without the protection of their brand which would have been featured on merchandise, banners, our TV screens and more, Coca Cola wouldn’t have been able to financially support the Games and it may not have had the budget to be as spectacular as it was.

Not sold by sports? Here are a few ways Intellectual Property is playing a role in your life that you may not have realised.

  • Without protection for their work, inventors would lose incentive to create new technologies; especially start-ups without a lot of revenue to work with. If Steve Jobs couldn’t protect his first ‘personal computer’ and 1000s of other technologies and brands, we never would have started the love affair with the iPhone.
  • Artists use Intellectual Property to protect their work from theft or counterfeiting. This ensured that bands like Queen were recognized and encouraged to keep producing new music for us to enjoy. (It also ensured that Queen received compensation from Vanilla Ice after using the same bass line for ‘Ice Ice Baby’ as ‘Under Pressure’)
  • The food your eating is readily available because of Intellectual Property. Farmers have used IP-protected tools for hundreds of years. The first tractor was patented in 1886 and saved farmers 655 million hours of labour each year! We may still have to be trekking to the nearest field for the lettuce in our salads if it wasn’t for wonderful IP.
Patent application for a new tractor in 1915

There are of course many other factors that go into the success of products, businesses, systems and ways of living; But it is important to remember the significance of Intellectual Property in society and how it can benefit us. Intellectual Property makes innovation possible, ensures quality, entertains us and protects us. It is also not just for companies, it is available for everyone to ensure that your ideas and decisions are protected, and secure to be able to go out and  make an impact and maybe change the world.

So, for this years World IP Day, have a look around you (most likely your own 4 walls that you have become very accustom to), and consider how Intellectual Property has impacted your life and the things around you. You may even have a bright idea of you own! If so, we’re here to help. You can send you idea in for a free review here.

Happy World IP Day!