World Intellectual Property Day

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World Intellectual Property Day
Date26 April
Related toInventors' Day, World Book and Copyright Day

World Intellectual Property Day is observed annually on 26 April.[1] The event was established by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in 2000 to "raise awareness of how patents, copyright, trademarks and designs impact on daily life" and "to celebrate creativity, and the contribution made by creators and innovators to the development of societies across the globe".[1] 26 April was chosen as the date for World Intellectual Property Day because it coincides with the date on which the Convention Establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization entered into force in 1970.

An exhibition showing the intellectual property (IP) behind Steve Jobsinnovations opened to the public at WIPO on 30 March 2012 and ran through to World Intellectual Property Day on 26 April 2012. The exhibition tied in with 2012's World Intellectual Property Day theme – 'Visionary Innovators'.

This event has been criticized by a number of activists and scholars as one-sided propaganda in favor of traditional copyright, ignoring alternatives related to copyleft and the free culture movement.


Following a statement made at the Assembly of the Member States of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in September 1998, the Director General of the National Algerian Institute for Industrial Property (INAPI) proposed on 7 April 1999 the institutionalisation of an international day for intellectual property, with the aim of

[setting up] a framework for broader mobilization and awareness, [opening up] access to the promotional aspect of innovation and [recognizing] the achievements of promoters of intellectual property throughout the world.[2]

On 9 August 1999, the Chinese delegation to the WIPO proposed the adoption of the "World Intellectual Property Day"

in order to further promote the awareness of intellectual property protection, expand the influence of intellectual property protection across the world, urge countries to publicize and popularize intellectual property protection laws and regulations, enhance the public legal awareness of intellectual property rights, encourage invention-innovation activities in various countries and strengthen international exchange in the intellectual property field.[3]

In October 1999, the General Assembly of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) approved the idea of declaring a particular day as a World Intellectual Property Day.[4]


Mike Masnick of Techdirt wrote that World Intellectual Property Day is intended "to promote ever greater protectionism and mercantilism in favor of copyright holders and patent holders, while ignoring any impact on the public of those things. It's a fairly disgusting distortion of the claimed intent of intellectual property."[5] Zak Rogoff of the Defective by Design noted that it is a "global but decidedly not grassroots event".[6] It has also been criticized by activists from civil society organizations such as IP Justice and the Electronic Information for Libraries who consider it one-sided propaganda as the marketing materials associated with the event, provided by WIPO, "come across as unrepresentative of other views and events".[7] Michael Geist, a law professor at the University of Ottawa, noted that "World Intellectual Property Day has become little more than a lobbyist day".[8] Cushla Kapitzk from the Queensland University of Technology wrote that most of the WIPO's statements related to promotion of the World Intellectual Property Day are "either exaggerated or unsubstantiated"; noting that for example one of WIPO's claims used to promote this event, namely that "copyright helps bring music to our ears and art, films and literature before our eyes" is "tenuous at best, and lexical association of copyright with things recognised as having social and cultural value ('art', 'film' and 'literature') functions to legitimate its formulation and widespread application".[9]

A number of grassroots-supported observances in opposition of prevalent IP laws celebrated by the World Intellectual Property Day exist, none of them supported by WIPO:


Each year, a message or theme is associated with the event:

  • 2001 – Creating the Future Today[10]
  • 2002 – Encouraging Creativity[10]
  • 2003 – Make Intellectual Property Your Business[10]
  • 2004 – Encouraging Creativity[10]
  • 2005 – Think, Imagine, Create[10]
  • 2006 – It Starts with an Idea[10]
  • 2007 – Encouraging Creativity[10]
  • 2008 – Celebrating innovation and promoting respect for intellectual property[10][11]
  • 2009 – Green Innovation[10][12]
  • 2010 – Innovation – Linking the World[13]
  • 2011 – Designing the Future[14]
  • 2012 – Visionary Innovators[15]
  • 2013 – Creativity – The Next Generation[16]
  • 2014 – Movies – a Global Passion[17]
  • 2015 – Get Up, Stand Up. For Music.[18]
  • 2016 – Digital Creativity: Culture Reimagined.[19]
  • 2017 – Innovation – Improving Lives[20]
  • 2018 – Powering Change: Women in Innovation and Creativity[21]
  • 2019 – Reach for Gold: IP and Sports[22]
  • 2020 – Innovate for a Green Future[23]
  • 2021 – IP and SMEs: Taking Your Ideas to Market[24]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b WIPO web site, World Intellectual Property Day – 26 April. Consulted on 20 April 2011.
  2. ^ Letter of 7 April 1999 from Amor Bouhnik, Director General of the National Algerian Institute for Industrial Property, to the Director General of WIPO (Ref: 027 DG/MS/99) in World Intellectual Property Organization web site, "WIPO General Assembly, Twenty-Fourth (14th Ordinary) Session, Geneva, 20 to 29 September 1999, Institutionalization of an International Day for Intellectual Property. Proposal by the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria". Archived from the original on 22 December 2003. Retrieved 28 April 2007.CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link), WO/GA/24/7, 10 August 1999.
  3. ^ Letter dated 9 August 1999 from Jiang Ying, Commissioner of the State Intellectual Property Office of the People's Republic of China, to Dr. Kamil Idris, Director General of World Intellectual Property Organization, Geneva, Switzerland, in World Intellectual Property Organization web site, "WIPO General Assembly, Twenty-Fourth (14th Ordinary) Session, Geneva, 20 to 29 September 1999, Institutionalization of a World Intellectual Property Day. Proposal by the People's Republic of China". Archived from the original on 22 December 2003. Retrieved 28 April 2007., 20 August 1999.
  4. ^ World Intellectual Property Organization, WIPO General Assembly, Twenty-Sixth (12th Extraordinary) Session, Geneva, 25 September to 3 October 2000, Memorandum of the Director General, WO/GA/26/2, 26 July 2000.
  5. ^ Masnick, Mike (26 April 2017). "For World 'Intellectual Property' Day, A Reading From Thomas Macaulay". Techdirt. Retrieved 26 April 2019.
  6. ^ "Organize your community for digital freedom on May 3rd". Defective by Design. Retrieved 26 April 2019.
  7. ^ Bangasser, Sandra (2009), Multilateral Institutions and the Recontextualization of Political Marketing: How the World Intellectual Property Organizations Outreach Efforts Reflect Changing Audiences
  8. ^ "World Intellectual Property Day". Michael Geist. 26 April 2007. Retrieved 26 April 2019.
  9. ^ Kapitzke, Cushla (1 December 2006). "Intellectual Property Rights: Governing Cultural and Educational Futures" (PDF). Policy Futures in Education. 4 (4): 431–445. doi:10.2304/pfie.2006.4.4.431. ISSN 1478-2103. S2CID 143165888.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i "World Intellectual Property Day Archives". WIPO. Archived from the original on 15 March 2010. Retrieved 25 April 2017.
  11. ^ UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) web site, World Intellectual Property Day, 26 April 2008, Celebrating innovation and promoting respect for intellectual property, Events, World IP Day. Consulted on 27 March 2008.
  12. ^ WIPO. "World Intellectual Property Day 2009". Retrieved 12 September 2012.
  13. ^ WIPO. "World Intellectual Property Day 2010". Retrieved 12 September 2012.
  14. ^ WIPO. "World Intellectual Property Day 2011". Archived from the original on 15 October 2011. Retrieved 12 September 2012.
  15. ^ WIPO. "World Intellectual Property Day 2012". Retrieved 12 September 2012.
  16. ^ WIPO. "World Intellectual Property Day 2013". Retrieved 3 April 2013.
  17. ^ WIPO. "World Intellectual Property Day 2014". Retrieved 10 March 2014.
  18. ^ WIPO. "World Intellectual Property Day 2015". Retrieved 18 February 2016.
  19. ^ WIPO. "World Intellectual Property Day 2016". Retrieved 18 February 2016.
  20. ^ "World Intellectual Property Day – April 26, 2017". WIPO. Retrieved 3 February 2017.
  21. ^ "World Intellectual Property Day – April 26, 2018". Retrieved 28 March 2018.
  22. ^ "World Intellectual Property Day 2019". Retrieved 26 April 2019.
  23. ^ "World Intellectual Property Day 2020". Retrieved 26 April 2020.
  24. ^ "World Intellectual Property Day 2021". Retrieved 30 April 2021.

External links[edit]