World Intellectual Property Day 2010: Countries Talk Policy

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On World Intellectual Property Day this year, the World Intellectual Property Organization’s 2010 theme is “Innovation – Linking the World“:

Most people are aware of intellectual property (IP) – of copyright, patents, industrial designs and trademarks.  But many still view these as business or legal concepts with little relevance to their own lives.  To address this gap, WIPO’s Member States decided in 2000 to designate an annual World Intellectual Property Day.  They chose April 26, the date on which the Convention establishing WIPO originally entered into force in 1970.

Each year, WIPO and its Member States celebrate World Intellectual Property Day with activities, events and campaigns.  These 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 the products and technological innovations that help to shape our world.

WIPO issues a message from the Director General each year, broadcasts a short publicity spot on international television channels, and dispatches posters and other promotional materials to IP offices and organizations.  Reports of activities organized by Member States are published on this site.

The aims of World IP Day are:

  • to raise awareness of how patents, copyright, trademarks and designs impact on daily life;
  • to increase understanding of how protecting IP rights helps promote creativity and innovation;
  • to celebrate creativity, and the contribution made by creators and innovators to the development of societies across the globe

What did the Victoria Espinel,  U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator, say on the White House Blog?

During the past month, I have also met with dozens of companies throughout the country to whom intellectual property is very important.  I have heard concerns from the semi-conductor industry, tractor manufacturers, all facets of the music industry —from the recording studios to publishers, composers, and performers — the apparel industry, cement manufacturers, product safety certifiers, pharmaceutical companies, aerospace industry, labor unions, movie industry, cell phone manufacturers, software companies,  car part suppliers, internet auction sites,  biotech companies and many more. The number of industry sectors hurt by rampant counterfeiting and piracy is unacceptable. As a result of these meetings, I came away with a greater appreciation of the myriad of concerns out there.  And I intend to continue to meet with groups that have a stake in all that we are doing here in Washington as we move forward with developing and implementing the White House enforcement strategy.

What did Secretary of State Clinton say?

April 26 marks the tenth annual World Intellectual Property Day. The United States has celebrated and protected innovation and creativity since George Washington signed the first American patent in 1790. The ideas and inspirations of our citizens fuel our economy, enrich our culture and help us meet global challenges from climate change to poverty, hunger and disease.

Today, because of advances in technology and falling trade barriers, information and ideas circle the globe faster and more freely than ever. But these same trends have also increased intellectual piracy, from illegal file downloads to bootleg recordings to counterfeit products. Theft of intellectual property is a crime that erodes the incentive to create and poses a serious barrier to making legitimate products and services available to the public.

The Obama Administration is committed to fostering innovation at home and protecting intellectual property rights around the world. The President has named an Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator and at the State Department we have made intellectual property a diplomatic priority. We are working with our trading partners, businesses, and international organizations to protect intellectual property interests while opening markets for new technologies and products.

On the tenth anniversary of World Intellectual Property Day, we salute the scientists, inventors, writers, composers and other creative individuals who contribute so much to our common humanity. Let us work together to protect their innovation, and that of future generations.

  • to encourage respect for the IP rights of others.
  • In addition to the State agenda, the U.S. Department of Justice announced today:

    As part of the Department of Justice’s ongoing initiative to confront intellectual property (IP) crimes, Acting Deputy Attorney General Gary G. Grindler announced today the appointment of 15 new Assistant U.S. Attorney (AUSA) positions and 20 FBI Special Agents to be dedicated to combating domestic and international IP crimes.

    Simultaneously with U.S. activities, today “Developing Countries Form Intellectual Property Group” (AP):

    The new group aims to transform the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) from a body servicing mainly holders of intellectual property rights to a U.N. agency helping members achieve development goals through “a balanced and calibrated use of intellectual property”, a statement said.

    The creation of the new group marks another step in the confrontation between rich and developing countries over intellectual property rights.

    Below are links to other World IP Day news, by Country:

    • New Zealand (“Calls to reinstate tax incentives”)
    • Cameroon (“Intellectual Property – Development Catalyst”)
    • Iran (“World Intellectual Property Day marked”)
    • Tunisia (“Tunisia observes World Intellectual Property Day”)
    • Grenada (“World Intellectual Property Rights Day”)

    Note: Last week, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce published a report defending strong Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) (The Hill article: “Strict IP enforcement would boost economy“). CongressDaily’s Tech Daily Dose notes that tomorrow, Tuesday April 27, ” the Computer and Communications Industry Association plans to release its own study Tuesday that the group says will show that fair use of IP also produces economic benefits. The study found that ‘industries relying on fair use and other exceptions to copyright make up one-sixth of the U.S. economy and employ one of every eight workers,’ according to a CCIA statement Monday” (Link to CongressDaily article: “Dueling Studies On World IP Day”).

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