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World Intellectual Property Day

Today [April 26] marks the 9th annual World Intellectual Property Day, a time designated by the World Intellectual Property Organization to celebrate the creativity of the human mind and the rights that protect and nurture innovation, the arts, science, and commerce. Whether it is a musical performance, film, new technology, or advances in medicine, intellectual property protection encourages us to share our creativity.

Today, the world faces significant technological and economic challenges. As Ambassador Ron Kirk, the United States Trade Representative, recently emphasized, we must promote a stronger enforcement of trade rules, including intellectual property protection, to support innovative industries, create new jobs, and solve global challenges.

Intellectual Property protections foster an environment in which creative and innovative industries can thrive and contribute to economic development and improved quality of life around the world.

Each year, World Intellectual Property Day observances play a significant role in raising international awareness of the importance of intellectual property to developed and developing countries alike. This year's theme, "Promoting Green Innovation," emphasizes the intellectual property system's role in advancing the development of green technologies and eco-friendly products that support a healthy environment and promote sustainable agricultural and economic development.

Economic crises and other global challenges, such as climate change, have historically served as catalysts for innovation. Creative individuals continue to find solutions to some of the most difficult problems the world faces. Recent advances include methods to reduce soybean soil erosion in Brazil, affordable solar energy systems, such as those being introduced into rural Tanzania and self-adjustable eyeglasses, like those being distributed to the poor in India who lack access to an optician.

Intellectual property rights help developed and developing countries by encouraging innovation and increasing economic stability. Respecting intellectual property rights protects the public, especially in developing countries, from dangerous products, such as counterfeit pharmaceuticals.

In his inaugural address, President Barack Obama reminded Americans that "our minds are no less inventive" and "our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year."

As the world works to address global challenges, it must redouble its efforts to encourage and protect intellectual property and foster a robust environment for global innovation