World Intellectual Property Day 2024

By Jackson Avery

On World Intellectual Property Day, we honor intellectual property’s (IP) role in fostering innovation and growth. This year’s theme, “Sustainable Development Goals,” emphasizes IP’s global impact. The 2024 event, led by WIPO, brings together global policy organizations, highlighting IP’s significance in achieving SDGs. 

You can read the full letter here or a summary below.

The focus is on how a free-market approach, strengthened by solid IP protections, can effectively advance these goals. WIPO’s theme underscores IP’s potential to contribute to SDG 9: Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure. This IP theme focuses on how a free-market approach, bolstered by robust IP protections, can serve as a potent instrument for advancing these global objectives.

The Global Innovation Index indicates that strong IP protections are crucial for progress. By protecting intellectual property, nations can incentivize inventors, creators, and entrepreneurs to invest in innovative ideas and transformative technologies. By safeguarding intellectual property, countries can create environments where inventors, creators, and entrepreneurs are incentivized to invest their time and resources into groundbreaking ideas and transformative technologies.

The 2023 International Property Rights Index (IPRI) exemplifies the correlation between IP rights and economic growth. Nations with robust IP protection consistently outperform in innovation, economic expansion, and prosperity, thanks to an environment that promotes creativity, attracts investment, and propels technological advancement. 

Countries prioritizing IP protection have excelled and set benchmarks in various economic indicators. A modest 10% boost in property rights score can lead to a significant 0.6% GDP per capita increase, highlighting the transformative power of substantial IP rights in stimulating investment, technological progress, and job creation. 

Innovation is vital for a prosperous economy, and IP rights are essential. Recent studies show a strong correlation between property rights and social well-being indicators like gender equality and social mobility. Strong IP rights pave the way for broader access to healthcare, technology, and economic opportunities. 

In the U.S., the tangible benefits of IP are clear: They support millions of jobs and contribute significantly to the nation’s GDP. Similarly, the European economy benefits from IP rights, with industries dependent on patents, trademarks, and designs employing millions and generating trillions in revenue.

The World Trade Organization’s decision to waive IP protections for COVID-19 vaccine patents in 2022 has sparked significant debate. While initially intended as an emergency measure during the pandemic, legitimate concerns exist about its potential long-term effects on innovation. Removing IP protections could disincentivize companies from investing in new technologies and hinder future medical advancements, a risk we cannot overlook.

The focus on compulsory patent licensing may also compromise responses to new health emergencies. Instead of waivers, many advocate for strengthening intellectual property rights globally to ensure a more efficient and effective response to pandemics.

As we celebrate World Intellectual Property Day 2024, we are reminded of the crucial role that IP rights play in promoting innovation, driving economic growth, and improving social well-being. By fostering a culture where intellectual property rights are respected and valued, we can all contribute to creating a brighter and more prosperous future for all. WIPO’s theme underscores IP’s potential to contribute to sustainable development and achieve the SDGs.