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World Intellectual Property Day

World Intellectual Property Day is celebrated on the 26th April every year, and each year the theme changes to highlight different sectors, how they are protecting their IP and how this, in turn, encourages innovation and creativity. 

In 2019 the focus was the Reach for Gold campaign, taking a closer look inside the world of sports. The campaign investigated how Intellectual Property rights have enhanced and encouraged sports, a multi-billion-dollar global industry, in many ways.

Recent advancements in technology, such as smart sports equipment enable athletes to avoid injury and monitor and improve their performance. Revolutionary technologies also enable athletes with disabilities to achieve record-breaking performances. These are just some examples of innovations that have been empowered by IP rights.

Trademarks and branding can protect revenue streams for brand owners and sports personalities from sponsorship, merchandising and licensing agreements.

2020 saw the World Intellectual Property Organization turning its attention to the markets for sustainable technologies, with Innovation for a Green Future.

Reducing carbon emissions is increasingly and urgently important. Improving the fuel efficiency of current technology and developing new systems to reduce or remove carbon is just one part of the wider solution. IP rights have been shown to increase innovation and creativity, and innovators need robust national intellectual property (IP) systems that support the development and rollout of more sustainable new and improved technology and services to aid the transition to a green future.

SMEs took the stage in 2021, being described as “unsung heroes” for their role in growth in a post-pandemic world. Small and medium sized businesses provide 70% of the world’s employment, so protecting their intangible assets along with their tangible ones is crucially important to them and to the world economy. Launching a free guide to Intellectual Property for Business for SMEs, WIPO discussed how design rights, branding, trademarks and patents can all help to protect a company’s revenue and also their customers.  

Interesting IP facts and figures

IP in sport

  • The All England Lawn Tennis Club (Wimbledon) has a trademark registration for THE CHAMPIONSHIP dating from 1884, predating other major sports by over 80 years.
  • The UK has been named the world leader for rugby-related patents, according to statistics released by the UK Intellectual Property Office.
  • The UK ranks second globally and first in Europe in relation to adaptive wheelchair technology patents.

Why is World Intellectual Property Day significant?

World Intellectual Property Day highlights the importance of Intellectual Property (IP) and and is the perfect opportunity to learn more about the role of IP rights.

Intellectual Property covers creations of the mind, such as inventions; literary and artistic works; designs; and symbols, names and images used in commerce. These are protected by rights, including copyright and broadcasting, trademarks and branding, and patents.


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