Geneva: Small and medium-sized enterprises take centre stage at this year’s celebration of World Intellectual Property Day, with Daren Tang, Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), describing them as the "unsung heroes" of the global economy and an engine for growth in a post-pandemic world.
In a video message celebrating World IP Day, which occurs each April 26, Tang said that SMEs account for 90 per cent of all companies worldwide and 70 per cent of global employment. That's why World IP Day 2021 is carrying the theme "IP and SMEs: Taking your ideas to market."
"SMEs are the engines, the unsung heroes of our economy. And yet for many of them, there is still a lack of knowledge about how IP can help them translate their ideas into products, and how IP can be a powerful tool for them to not just survive, but to also compete and grow," he said.
"SMEs face different challenges in different parts of the world, and how we help them will need to be customised to the needs of your part of the world. But it will be a powerful message for us to send the signal that together we will be supporting them," said Tang.
Tang, who took office as WIPO's Director-General in October 2020, has made supporting smaller enterprises a priority. In one of his first actions as Director-General, he established the "IP and Innovation Ecosystems Sector" as one of the Organisation's eight sectors, with a remit to support SMEs, entrepreneurs and researchers in commercialising IP and using it for business growth.
"Whatever help we can render to our SMEs, will help that we render to the bedrock of your economy, and the backbone of the global economy. Ultimately, it will help our world to build back better," after the COVID-19 pandemic, he said.
WIPO is coordinating a global campaign to highlight the importance of intangible assets to SMEs and the value of IP in supporting SMEs to grow. The Organization has published a series of case studies from around the world telling stories of SMEs that are using IP rights to turn ideas into business opportunities and generate value. WIPO has also provided a wealth of practical information on the best ways for SMEs to protect their intangible assets.
The international IP community is joining celebrations to mark World IP Day through a series of virtual activities and an active social media campaign.
In 2000, WIPO's member states designated April 26 – the day on which the WIPO Convention came into force in 1970 – as World Intellectual Property Day intending to increase general understanding of intellectual property (IP). Since then, World IP Day has offered a unique opportunity each year to join with others around the globe to consider how IP contributes to the flourishing of music and the arts and to driving the technological innovation that helps shape our world.