World Intellectual Property Day 2011

World Intellectual Property Day 2011

Mark Kohras is a JD candidate at Osgoode Hall Law School.

This Tuesday, April 26th marks the 11th annual World Intellectual Property Day. The observance day was established by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in 2000 to “highlight the role and contribution of intellectual property in the economic, cultural and social development of all countries as well as to raise public awareness and understanding in this field of human endeavor.” The date was chosen in honour of the date the convention establishing WIPO entered into force (April 26, 1970).

Intellectual property is becoming increasingly important to the global economy. With fortune 500 companies reporting that Intellectual Property Rights make up anywhere from 45%-75% of their wealth, it is easy to see why this is so. World IP Day seeks to raise awareness of the value of Intellectual Property, and its importance in our daily lives.

This year’s theme is “Designing the Future” and seeks to promote the importance of Industrial Design. In a message posted on the WIPO website from the Director General of WIPO Francis Gurry, he referred to industrial design as “art in motion”. An industrial design is the “features of shape, configuration, pattern or ornament and any combination of those features that, in a finished article, appeal to and are judged solely by the eye”. Industrial designs can cover anything from the shape of a television to the carvings on a table and original designs are protected against copying and imitation in most countries around the world, including Canada. For more on industrial design rights in Canada, visit the WIPO website here.

In Canada, the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) will be raising awareness of the importance of Intellectual Property this month, in honour of World Intellectual Property Day. CIPO’s Outreach team will be offering presentations about intellectual property to post-secondary institutions and business communities throughout Canada. To learn more about CIPO’s World IP Day activities you can visit

For a summary of World IP Day Activities throughout the world, see the WIPO website here or join the official Facebook group here for a map of events around the globe.