April's featured article

World IP Day is April 26

Josh Hallock : Education and Outreach

The important role intellectual property plays in innovation and creativity is marked each year on April 26, when organizations and individuals observe World Intellectual Property (IP) Day. Established in 2001, World IP Day is a creation of the member states of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), which now counts 185 countries around the world. World IP Day encourages engagement among governments, private industry, and the public on IP promotion and protection.

WIPO has designated this year's theme to be "Creativity: The Next Generation." It is meant to emphasize the critical role that the next generation of innovators and creators will play in shaping and improving the world.

Patents, trademarks, copyrights, and other forms of IP spur new technologies and creative content in several interconnected ways. Enabling innovators to protect their ideas and intellectual property provides a valuable incentive and motivation to create things that nobody else has created before.

In the case of patented technology, exclusive rights are granted to the inventor in exchange for the full disclosure of the technology's inner workings. Those details, published in the patent, create new knowledge for innovators to study, learn, and begin developing the next iterative innovation. By protecting innovations and creative works, IP encourages others to innovate beyond existing technology.

World IP Day events across the globe will include panels of experts discussing new developments in technology; art exhibits, concerts, and book readings that highlight the importance of copyrights in creative content; and demonstrations of emerging or existing cutting-edge technology. Visit WIPO's World IP Day Facebook page to find an event happening near you. You can also find a list of suggested activities for this year's observance on the WIPO website.

April 26 marks the day on which the WIPO Convention came into force in 1970. WIPO is dedicated to fostering innovation and technological development through the use of intellectual property. Visit the official World IP Day website for more information.

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The USPTO gives you useful information and non-legal advice in the areas of patents and trademarks. The patent and trademark statutes and regulations should be consulted before attempting to apply for a patent or register a trademark. These laws and the application process can be complicated. If you have intellectual property that could be patented or registered as a trademark, the use of an attorney or agent who is qualified to represent you in the USPTO is advised.