Intellectual property surrounds us almost constantly. And it’s not just McDonald’s trademark Golden Arches or Apple’s patented iPod technology or Miley Cyrus’ latest copyrighted album. For instance, I would bet that you create content protected by copyright nearly every day. Have you written an email today? Have you doodled on your notebook during a meeting or class this week? Have you snapped a family photo recently? If so, then you’re an author – an author with a copyrighted work.
The fact that intellectual property rights (IPR) exist in so many facets of our daily lives just goes to show that our Founding Fathers were right – provide people with legal protection for their inventions and creative works, and technology will advance, knowledge will spread, and societies will progress. Did you know that our Constitution authorizes Congress to protect inventors’ and authors’ creative works? Or, that our current trademark law preserves a long American heritage of 120-plus years of protection for our entrepreneurs’ trade names, logos, and the like?
In fact, IPR is so essential to continued global development and trade that each year we celebrate World Intellectual Property Day on April 26th. This year, World IP Day focuses on Green Innovation and the important role of IPR in promoting the advancement and diffusion of increasingly critical technologies for the mitigation of climate change. This coincides nicely with widespread celebration of Earth Day on April 22nd, and provides us with an opportunity to proudly say that, as global environmental needs evolve, our American entrepreneurs are developing new means for addressing them. According to the House Small Business Committee, the renewable and efficiency industries, comprised of more than 90% small firms, created 8 million new jobs in 2006. The
U.S. Conference of Mayors estimates that by 2038, the American green tech industry’s development could add another 4.2 million jobs to the economy.
So, you see, the fundamental IPR principle established so many years ago still rings true today – IPR protection is essential to encouraging innovation and competitiveness. This is particularly relevant to the growing green tech industry, as both U.S. industry and our global community stand to see great benefits from new technologies and methods for addressing climate change. As Francis Gurry, Director General of the UN’s World Intellectual Property Organization, recently said, “The power of human ingenuity is our best hope for restoring the delicate balance between ourselves and our environment.” This World IP Day, the International Trade Administration welcomes the celebration of Green Innovation and our green technology industry.
For more information on IPR and ITA’s activities related to IPR, please visit StopFakes.gov.