Date: 26 April 2022By

World Intellectual Property Day – Innovating for a Better Future

The importance of preparing the young generation of innovators into agents of change for a more sustainable and equal world for all

The World Intellectual Property Day is celebrated every April 26th, with the aim of learning about the role that Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) play in encouraging innovation and creativity.

With the theme “IP and Youth: Innovating for a Better Future”, the World Intellectual Property Day 2022 recognizes the enormous potential of the young people to find new and better solutions that support the transition to a sustainable future.

According to WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization), “there are around 1.8 billion young people (aged 24) in the world today. Ninety percent of them live in developing countries.” In all regions around the world, young people are facing global challenges that need innovative and sustainable responses. The fresh perspectives and creative minds of the young generations are reshaping approaches and driving action for a better future.

Building Societies Around the World Prepared to Tackle Global Challenges

As important as supporting national and regional efforts to create a legal and policy environment for young innovators is raising awareness of the key role that fair sharing of IP rights plays in building societies equitably prepared to face global challenges, since this is “an essential part of building and sustaining research and innovation systems that are high performing”, as stated by Prof. Carel IJsselmuiden, Executive Director of COHRED group and Adjunct Professor at University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Also according to him, in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) “demonstrated to be able to rapidly adapt their systems to produce the same high-performing vaccines locally – under license or under waivers of IP. In this way, sharing IP rights helped create vaccine-sovereignty rather than merely ‘reducing vaccine inequity’. What is more, these R&D systems will be ready for a next pandemic and for other future global challenges.”

Fair Research and Innovation Partnerships Imply Fair Allocation of Intellectual Property Rights

As explained by Prof. IJsselmuiden, the WAITRO partner Research Fairness Initiative (RFI) was designed to improve how sharing of IP rights ought to be done to have most impact for most people. It does not prescribe, it simply asks institutions, funders, industry to make explicit how they intend sharing IPR with their research partners – up front. In this way, three things will happen:

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1. Organizations that have not yet made their policy and practice explicit are encouraged to do so.

2. Research and Innovation partners can view this, compare and possibly negotiate or choose other collaborations that are more open to IPR sharing.

3. Comparative analyses of these statements and negotiations can begin to show what is happening and help steer discussions beyond a dichotomous answer to answer(s) that work for better health, and more social and human capital building.

Making the young generation of innovators aware of the importance of fair sharing of IP rights goes beyond than just supporting them to achieve their goals and ambitions, it transforms them into agents of change who fight together to build a more sustainable future with less inequalities.

Contact RFI: rfi@cohred.org
Learn more about WAITRO partners.

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About the Author: WAITRO

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The World Association of Industrial and Technological Research Organizations (WAITRO) is a global membership-based association of research organizations, universities, and innovation stakeholders. WAITRO provides mechanisms and support for its members and partners to connect, share, inspire, and collaborate to solve global challenges and contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

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