This year’s World Intellectual Property Day on April 26, 2010, which also marks WIPO’s 40th anniversary, focuses on how innovation technologies have created an interlinked and global society.
World Intellectual Property Day is an annual event around which WIPO’s member states organize a range of activities to raise public awareness about the role of intellectual property (IP) in daily life, and to celebrate the invaluable contributions made by innovators and creators across the globe.
In his message to mark the day, WIPO Director General Francis Gurry highlights the role of the IP system in the development and diffusion of these technologies. For example, thanks to the incentives inherent in the IP system, increasing numbers of people across the globe, including those in previously isolated communities, have access to advanced information and communication technologies. These facilitate access to wide-ranging sources of information and services that are transforming and enhancing the lives of millions.
The intellectual property system is a key part of the process by which innovation is linking the world. It facilitates the sharing of technological information, ensuring that vital know-how and ingenuity can be shared with other solution seekers and provides a framework for trading and disseminating technologies. The IP system also helps to structure the collaboration needed to meet the daunting global challenges confronting the world, such as climate change, food security, and access to health care.
As the Organization marks the 10th World Intellectual Property Day, WIPO is also celebrating the 40th anniversary of the entry into force of the Convention establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization. This Convention was crafted during a five-week-long conference of BIRPI member states (BIRPI is WIPO’s predecessor organization – the acronym stands for Bureaux internationaux réunis pour la protection de la propriété intellectuelle) in Stockholm in 1967.
The agreement reached at that time, and distilled into the text of the Convention, not only established WIPO but also revised the Organization’s two key treaties – the 1883 Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property (then with 77 members, now 173); and the 1886 Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works (then with 58 members, now 164). It also modified five special agreements established under the Paris Convention, mainly dealing with the registration and classification of marks, registration of industrial designs, and the protection of appellations of origin.
In the last 40 years, the 6 original treaties managed by BIRPI have grown in number, in tandem with a changing technological landscape, and now count 24, including the WIPO Convention. The Organization’s member states currently stand at 184.