Today marks the 21st annual World Intellectual Property Day. The event is held each year on the 26th of April to commemorate the day the WIPO Convention, which established the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), entered into force in 1970. The theme of this year’s World IP Day is “IP & SMEs: Taking Your Ideas to Market,” and events are being held around the world to highlight the critical role of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to bringing creative innovations to the marketplace. As President Biden noted in his World IP Day proclamation, small businesses “make up 90 percent of businesses in the United States, employ nearly half of America’s private sector workers, and create two-thirds of new jobs, and bring opportunity to every corner of our Nation.”
CPIP Executive Director Sean O’Connor spoke about the importance of IP for med tech SMEs at a World IP Day event organized by the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, Japan. The event, entitled “Patents to Patients: The Role of Intellectual Property in Innovative Healthcare,” brought together leading experts to discuss how Japanese SMEs can take advantage of intellectual property rights. Traditionally, Japanese SMEs have often foregone IP protection because of the expense and uncertainty about its value. But as this sector increasingly relies on venture capital and commercialization based on licensing throughout the value chain, secure IP rights to define and convey the developing innovation are a necessity.
There are several events in the Washington, D.C., area this week that will underscore the success stories of SMEs and discuss the IP resources that are available to help them with their IP needs. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, along with several other organizations, is hosting an event today to discuss the role of IP in supporting the creativity and innovation of small businesses. The U.S. Copyright Office is likewise holding an event today to discuss the importance of SMEs in copyright, the economy, and our culture. Also today, the Licensing Executives Society (LES) has organized an event to celebrate the ingenuity and creativity embodied in SMEs, and the Intellectual Property Owners (IPO) Education Foundation is holding an event to discuss different approaches to bring ideas to the market. The Copyright Alliance is hosting two panel presentations later this week on how IP and advocacy can help creative small businesses to grow and succeed.
We are thrilled to see these and many other events celebrate the power of intellectual property to help small businesses succeed in the global economy.