Unbeknownst to most people, Monday, April 26, marked the annual celebration of World IP Day. The event was established by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in 2000 to raise awareness of how patents, copyrights, trademarks and trade secrets impact daily life and to celebrate creativity. The theme for this year’s World IP Day was “Small Businesses Taking Big Ideas To Market.” To celebrate, President Joseph Biden, Jr. issued a proclamation calling on all Americans “to observe this day by supporting their neighborhood small businesses and celebrating the creativity, hard work, and passion that lies behind each one of them.” Did you celebrate? Thanks to the pandemic,most people are not in a celebratory mood. Nevertheless, it is well worth a moment of pause to recall how IP is making a difference in these difficult times.
Our vaccine developers have achieved a historic feat, likely saving hundreds of thousands of lives as a result. They did this by spending billions of dollars on mRNA research, and they protected their investment with hundreds of patents worldwide. Those patents directly incentivized the vaccines in our arms and quelled the cry that patents create legal barriers to vaccine development.
In addition to scientists, who lifted our spirits more than the singers, songwriters, moviemakers and other artists who lost their forum but not their voices? They bore the brunt of the virus, yet they found new ways to continue to inspire us. The remote compilation has become a new art form and may copyright always reward such creativity.
Finally, as President Biden recalled, this year marks the 75th anniversary of the signing of the Lanham Act into law (July 5, 1946 by President Harry S. Truman).
Worldwide IP laws are indeed encouraging the world to solve problems and create opportunities. Perhaps next year we can have a parade?
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Royal W. Craig
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