World Intellectual Property Day
Every April 26, we mark World Intellectual Property Day to learn more about the role that intellectual property (IP) rights play in encouraging innovation and creativity. It’s the day the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) sponsors a celebration of World Intellectual Property Day on Capitol Hill.
Laws protecting creative intangible creative products give people and businesses property rights to the information and intellectual goods they create.
What is intellectual property theft?
You know what it is to steal someone’s tangible property such as a car or money. Did you know it’s against the law to take someone’s intangible property such as a song, story, image, or artwork? Imagine you write the song that you performed to a group of friends. One of them records the song and publishes it without giving you credit. They could be guilty of stealing your intellectual property.
Protecting intellectual property rights is difficult. Unlike traditional property, intellectual property is indivisible – an unlimited number of people can “consume” an intellectual good without it being depleted. While a landowner can surround their land with a robust fence and hire armed guards to protect it, a producer of information or an intellectual good can usually do very little to stop their first buyer from replicating it and selling it at a lower price.
The event was established by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in 2000 to “raise awareness of how patents, copyright, trademarks and designs impact on daily life” and “to celebrate creativity, and the contribution made by creators and innovators to the development of societies across the globe.”
The concept of intellectual property rights goes back to 1883 and 1886 when the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property and the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works provided for the establishment of an “International Bureau.”
WIPO is a specialized agency of the United Nations. It is dedicated to developing a balanced and accessible international intellectual property (IP) system, which rewards creativity, stimulates innovation and contributes to economic development while safeguarding the public interest.
WIPO decided in 2000 to designate an annual World Intellectual Property Day to address the perceived gap between IP as a business/legal concept and its relevance to people’s lives. April 26 was chosen as the date upon which the convention establishing WIPO first entered into force in 1970.
WIPO plays a key role in organizing World IP Day. The activities, events and campaigns that focus on World IP Day seek to increase public understanding of what IP really means, and to demonstrate how the IP system fosters not only music, arts and entertainments, but also all products and technological innovations that help to shape the world.