Innovation and intellectual property are so integral to the modern world that we take a day every year to acknowledge, and even celebrate, the impact that they have on our daily lives.
April 26th is the day that the WIPO Convention came into force in 1970 and this years’ theme is ‘Taking your ideas to market’ as well as the impact that SMEs have on the global economy. This includes how they can use IP to develop stronger market positions why investing in innovation and encouraging creativity is often the best investment that an SME can make. But why is protecting innovation so important?
Zacco has been at the forefront of protecting, securing and monitoring innovation for over 150 years now, and times have certainly changed since we were originally founded, but innovation is still generally understood to be the guiding force behind progress. Whether it is a slight improvement or a revolutionary new idea, the results of innovation continue to be felt across the globe. Having said that, the actual process around the protection of such ideas is relatively new (at least in the span of recorded history) although it is now considered to be an essential part of how we innovate. Of course, there are examples of protected ideas in Ancient Greece and Rome, as well as a few mentions in the historical record since then, but legislation and laws guiding such protection have really only been codified since the 15th century. But from there they have proliferated.
It is often repeated that Ideas can change the world, and they regularly do. They can help to mitigate risks, they can identify new means of solving complex problems and they can simplify the intricate. The creation of ideas needs to be encouraged, but this also means that the development process must sometimes be protected as well. An idea, in the right format, can provide an individual or an organisation with a significant competitive advantage and securing your intellectual property discourages others from copying your ideas, as well as helping to prevent them from profiting from your hard work.
Recent EUIPO/EPO studies (found here: https://euipo.europa.eu/ohimportal/en/web/observatory/ip-contribution) have suggested that IP intensive industries account for up to 45% of the total EU GDP (an estimated 6.6 trillion Euros) and there is expectation that this figure will only continue to grow. The studies also found that SMEs who own IP rights earn an average of 68% higher revenue per employee than those who do not. With only 9% of SMEs owning such rights, there is a sound financial argument for continued investment in developing an IP Portfolio, as well as effectively securing it.
Registered IP rights can increase visibility of your organisation, adding both value and brand recognition. They can help consumers and customers distinguish your product from a competitors as well as guaranteeing a level of quality that they have come to expect from your brand. They protect your innovations and strategic information by ensuring that your organisation has recognised ownership of an idea, technology, brand or design. They can even help you to raise funding or encourage further investment and can offer a headstart when entering a new territory or market. Above all, they give you the right to claim your ideas as your own, and that is perhaps most important.
Working within Intellectual Property, we consider ourselves lucky to be at the forefront of innovation. Some of the innovations that we secure, continually monitor and protect, are among the most interesting concepts that humanity has to offer. The level of commitment, thought and dedication that we see from our clients is testament to what we can accomplish when we follow our ideas.
So, today we celebrate World IP Day, and everything that it stands for. Innovation, progress and, at its heart, the desire to improve things and to make them better for all of us.
Once again, Happy World IP Day! Don’t forget to innovate…
You can find out more about World IP Day here: http://www.wipo.int/ipday