It’s World IP Day! This year, the day will not take place in the traditional fashion; there will be none of the usual panels, receptions, gatherings or educational events that are organized annually to commemorate the holiday, which was launched in 2000 by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). While some remote panels will be held in lieu of the traditional affairs, there are decidedly fewer organizations participating this year. Here are some of the virtual events, reports and statements focusing on World IP Day 2020— the official theme of which is, “Innovate for a Green Future.”
World Intellectual Property Organization Releases Green Energy Patent Application Study
On Thursday, WIPO released agency findings from a survey of international patent filings covering four areas of green energy technologies: alternative energy production, especially renewables; energy conservation; green transportation; and nuclear power generation. This report shows that patent application filings for green energy technologies has only increased slightly in recent years and filings have been down from a peak of 17,880 Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) applications in 2016. PCT patent applications in green energy technologies made up 6 percent of all such patent applications filed in 2019. While filing activity in alternative energy technologies have dropped by 18 percent since 2013, efficient use technology filings in energy conservation and transportation have grown by 9 percent over that same period of time.
WIPO Director Francis Gurry offered the following comments in recognition of this year’s World IP Day theme:
Climate change has far-reaching effects for all of us and innovation in green tech sectors will be key to successfully addressing this global challenge. Policymakers, businesses, academic institutions, inventors around the world: Let’s all work together to create a green-tech innovation surge that meets the requirements of our times.
The coronavirus pandemic has pushed events and meetings of all kinds into the online sphere and WIPO has prepared a list of webinars on intellectual property topics being organized all over the world. The list includes webinars scheduled through May 5 and covers subjects such as green innovation, brand reputation and leveraging IP for sustainability. The March issue of WIPO Magazine is dedicated to the World IP Day theme of green innovation and features stories on climate change, water quality and environmental engineering at Airbus. Other resources are available on WIPO’s World IP Day event page and includes a pledge map for those committed to supporting green innovation as well as various case studies and articles on the subject.
International Trademark Association Hosts Regional IP Events Online
In honor of this year’s edition of World IP Day, the International Trademark Association (INTA) is hosting and co-hosting a collection of virtual events featuring panel discussions on various subjects related to IP and green innovation. These events are designed to address specific regional issues in environmentally-friendly innovation through the expertise of panelists with experience working in those regions. INTA’s North America virtual event will be hosted in collaboration with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and an announcement on that event is expected later this week. INTA’s Europe event takes place on April 27 and is titled Being Part of the Solution: Brands Innovate for a Green Future. Panelists will discuss the impact that adoption of corporate social responsibility (CSR) policies has on brand value, opportunities to implement CSR policies and CLipMATE, the world’s first IP carbon footprint calculator.
Other INTA virtual events scheduled to coincide with World IP Day 2020 include:
- Africa, An Executive Look at the Role of Trademark Law in Advancing a Green Future in Nigeria, April 27, 3 PM West Africa Time. This event, co-hosted by WIPO Nigeria Office, focuses on Nigeria’s efforts to promote foreign investment and local innovation as well as ways that trademark law can advance environmentally sustainable innovation.
- Asia-Pacific, Green is the New Black, April 28, 11 AM Singapore Time. This event will focus on implementing green strategies that improve sustainability and profits.
- India, Innovate for a Green Future, April 27, 4 PM India Time. This event, co-hosted by The Cell for IPR Promotion and Management (CIPAM), will discuss marketing strategies to communicate green initiatives to the public and ways to promote integrity in green campaigns.
- Middle East, Saudi Arabia for a Green Future, April 26, 5 PM Saudi Time. This event, co-hosted by the Saudi Authority for Intellectual Property (SAIP), will discuss the Saudi government’s $30 billion investment in renewable energies by 2025 along with other green economy initiatives.
- South America, A Whole New Trademark System in Chile: How to Prove Use of Registered Marks in Order to Avoid Their Cancellation, April 29, 12 PM Chile Time. This event will explore Chile’s current transition to a trademark system requiring registration to maintain trademark rights as well as issues raised under Chile’s new trademark law such as nontraditional marks and connections between industrial designs and trade dress protection.
Clarivate Report Shows Lagging Bioplastics Innovation
On Wednesday, global innovation analytics firm Clarivate released the findings of a study into the innovation landscape surrounding bioplastics, plastics derived from renewable biomass sources which are used for packaging and other applications. Overall, the study concludes that innovation in the bioplastics sector is at an early developmental stage, only producing less than one percent of total global plastic consumption. The reports key findings include:
- 40 percent of bioplastic inventors hold rights to a single invention
- Less than 10 percent of bioplastic inventors hold rights to more than 10 inventions
- Bioplastic inventions account for only 0.02 percent of global patent output
- Only 8 percent of trademark applications for plastics cover biodegradable or recyclable plastics
- More bioplastic filings cite mechanical strength than biodegradable properties as the motivation for the invention
Information Technology & Innovation Foundation Responds to COVID-19 Crisis
While the official theme for World IP Day 2020 focuses on green innovation, the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation (ITIF) and other members of the Global Trade and Innovation Policy Alliance (GTIPA) have decided to focus on the fundamental importance of IP rights under the specter of the global coronavirus pandemic. More than a dozen GTIPA members, including ITIF, recently announced that they were signatories to a Joint Declaration on the Critical Importance of Strong IP Rights for Innovation and Economic Development for the Benefit of All Peoples and Nations. The statement recites several fundamental principles supporting the promotion of robust intellectual property rights, including:
- IP incentivizes and maximizes innovation
- IP maximizes economic development
- Strong IP maximizes access to emerging technologies
- Strong IP encourages trade and foreign direct investment
- Strong IP is beneficial for small and large companies alike
The statement calls upon governments around the world to take several key actions regarding IP policy such as expanding IP education, implementing strong IP rights that don’t discriminate on the basis of technology type or ownership and efforts to combat both online privacy and counterfeit imports.
U.S. Copyright Office Hosts Online Event on Creating a Green Vision
The U.S. Copyright Office will host an online event on April 29 as part of the agency’s Copyright Matters lecture series. This edition, entitled From Awareness to Action: Innovate for a Green Future, will pay homage to the World IP Day 2020 theme by discussing how creators operating within the U.S. copyright system can play a part in bringing about a greener economy in our world. The event will feature an expert panel including Meaghan Parker, Executive Director, Society of Environmental Journalists; Roshan Patel, Media Producer, Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute; and Sean Fitzgerald, Nature and Conservation Photographer.
Copyright Alliance Shows Intersection Between Copyright Law and Environmental Protection
The Copyright Alliance also has a web page dedicated to World IP Day 2020 with various resources including a video message on the importance of copyright law from the organization’s CEO Keith Kupferschmid. Among the resources made available on this page include a collection of blog posts discussing intersections between copyright and IP law and green innovation. The page also includes information on a series of online events related to World IP Day, including an event looking at the connection between copyright law and environmental art. The page includes a salute to various regional chapters of Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts (VLA) in recognition of the volunteer work they’ve done for members of the copyright community.