Stealing a person’s idea, invention, or creative expression, is no less of a crime than is stealing another person’s car, or breaking into their home and making off with their valuables. But the fact is that depriving people of profit from the fruits of their own imagination, what’s known as intellectual property, is detrimental to everyone.
Intellectual property refers to unique creations of the human mind that are subsequently recognized and protected by law, such as inventions, literary and artistic works, as well as symbols, names, images and designs used in commerce. It includes musical performances, films, fashion, advances in technology or medicine, and innovations on existing design in every field and genre.
Some consequences of intellectual property theft are obvious. Every time a customer purchases a pirated film or a counterfit item made to look like an expensive name brand, the brand’s owners receive no compensation for their labors and the customer is cheated because the value of the purchase is less than advertised. Worse, if a patient is treated with counterfit medication, their health could suffer, or they could die. Intellectual property theft deprives artists, inventors and innovators of their just compensation, government of tax revenue, and it slows economic growth and stifles creativity and innovation.
On April 26, we observe World Intellectual Property Day, not just to celebrate the creativity of the human mind and the contributions made to the development of society by innovators and creators, but also to draw attention to the necessity of protecting intellectual property everywhere around the world.
The protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights helps ensure the world will continue to benefit from the time, resources, and brainpower invested in developing new technologies and improvement of existing ones; from the works of some or our most creative citizens, and from new brands and modes of production. This in turn fosters economic growth and attracts investment that will create new jobs and opportunities for all citizens.
On this day, as we celebrate the human capacity to create, innovate and invent, we call on all our friends and partners to stiffen intellectual property laws where needed, and enforce them strictly, for the sake of us all.