IP DAY 2021: Taking your ideas to the market
World IP Day 2021 highlights the key role IP rights play in helping SMEs build stronger, more competitive businesses.
Annually, on 26 April, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) celebrates “World Intellectual Property Day” discussing the role that intellectual property (IP) rights play to support innovation and creativity.
Briefly, what’s Intellectual Property law
Generally speaking, intellectual property law aims at safeguarding creators and other producers of intellectual goods and services by granting them certain time-limited rights to control the use made of those productions. Those rights do not apply to the physical object in which the creation may be embodied but instead to the intellectual creation as such.
Intellectual property is traditionally divided into two branches, “industrial property” and “copyright.”
The Convention Establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), concluded in Stockholm on July 14, 1967 (Article 2(viii)) provides that “intellectual property shall include rights relating to:
- literary, artistic and scientific works,
- performances of performing artists, phonograms and broadcasts,
- inventions in all fields of human endeavor,
- scientific discoveries,
- industrial designs,
- trademarks, service marks and commercial names and designations,
- protection against unfair competition,
- and all other rights resulting from intellectual activity in the industrial, scientific, literary or artistic fields.”
Types of Intellectual Property law
Copyright is the legal term describing the rights creators have over their literary and artistic works. Works covered by copyright range from books, music, paintings, sculpture and films, to computer programs, databases, advertisements, maps and technical drawings.
A patent is the exclusive right granted for an invention. A patent provides the owner with the right to decide how - or whether - the invention can be used by others. In exchange for this right, the patent owner makes technical information about the invention publicly available in the published patent document.
A trademark is a sign capable of differentiating the goods or services of one company from those of other companies. Trademarks date back to ancient times when artisans used to put their signature or “mark” on their products.
An industrial design constitutes the ornamental or aesthetic aspect of an article. A design may consist of three-dimensional features, such as the shape or surface of an article, or of two-dimensional features, such as patterns, lines or color.
A geographical indication (GI) and appellation of origin are signs used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities, a reputation or characteristics that are essentially attributable to that place of origin. Most commonly, a geographical indication includes the name of the place of origin of the goods. Protection for a geographical indication is usually obtained by acquiring a right over the sign that constitutes the indication.
Trade secrets are IP rights on confidential information which may be sold or licensed. Generally, to qualify as a trade secret, the information must be:
- commercially valuable because it is secret,
- be known only to a limited group of persons, and
- be subject to reasonable steps taken by the rightful holder of the information to keep it secret, including the use of confidentiality agreements for business partners and employees.
The unauthorized acquisition, use or disclosure of such secret information in a manner contrary to honest commercial practices by others is regarded as an unfair practice and a violation of the trade secret protection.
In 2021 the spotlights are on SMEs
There’s no secret that SMEs (fewer than 250 employees) are widely considered the backbone of the economy. In the EU they represent 99% of all businesses, employing around 100 million people, and account for more than half of Europe’s GDP. They are central to the EU’s twin transitions to a sustainable and digital economy.
SMEs play a key role in adding value in every sector of the economy, bringing innovative solutions to challenges like climate change, resource efficiency and social cohesion and help spread this innovation throughout Europe’s regions.
For 2021, the World Intellectual Property Day spotlights the key role that small and medium enterprises (SMEs) play in the economy and how they can use intellectual property (IP) to build stronger, more competitive, and more sustainable businesses.
Recent European studies show that SMEs that use IP rights perform better than companies that don’t focus on IP rights, and here’s the WIPO documentary featuring a selection of exciting SMEs from around the world who talk about how they are using IP to advance their business goals as well as practical tips from leading IP experts.
What free IP resources can I access?
WIPO is the world's most comprehensive source of intellectual property (IP) data, empirical studies, reports, and factual information about intellectual property. They provide all publications and data collection on the internet for free, and here are some of our recommendations:
The most comprehensive of all, and it can be used as a key reference work by creators, innovators, intellectual property lawyers, government officials, university teachers and students.
It covers issues including electronic commerce, biotechnology, traditional knowledge and management of copyright and related rights.
It explains the fundamentals underpinning copyright law and practice, and describes the different types of rights which copyright and related rights law protects, as well as the limitations on those rights. It also briefly covers the transfer of copyright and provisions for enforcement.
This booklet is ideal for newcomers to the subject of industrial property. It provides an excellent introduction, explaining the principles underpinning industrial property rights, and describing its most common forms, including patents and utility models for inventions, industrial designs, trademarks and geographical indications.
Here are a couple of tools developed by WIPO, that can help your business:
This interactive tool highlights practical IP questions to think about as you take your ideas to market.
This tool helps you to undertake a basic diagnostic of the IP situation of your business. It is in the form of a questionnaire with several sections that will ask you questions on different IP topics (e.g. innovative products, trademarks, licensing, designs, internationalisation, etc.). After you complete a section, a report that gives you recommendations and further information on IP and business competitiveness will be generated.
And if you’re curious to find more about SMEs support institutions, here’s a global map of the support services that are available to SMEs around the world.
WIPO provides IP profiles of all their member states, including statistics, legal information, case studies, photos and WIPO cooperation activities.
Romania IP profile is available here, and if you're looking for a specialised IP lawyer, here’s the list of Avoteca’s vetted IP legal specialists.
Small Medium Enterprises and Intellectual Property
IP is a powerful tool for SMEs in all parts of the world to create economic value and advance their business goals.
With IP rights, an idea can be turned into a business opportunity that generates value, creates employment, and enriches the market offering consumers a broader choice of new and better products and services.
With IP, businesses create value and can do better, communities can thrive, and national economies can prosper.
Out of ideas on how to use IP? Check these case studies that tell the stories of SMEs around the globe, and are using IP rights to turn ideas into business opportunities and generate value.
Are you looking to integrate your intellectual property rights into your business strategy? Get in touch with the right legal partner that supports you to build a stronger, more competitive, and more sustainable business. Here's the list of Avoteca’s vetted Intellectual Property lawyers specialists.