Vienna, Austria – In honor of World IP Day, the Austrian Economics Center and partner organizations sent an open letter to World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Director General Francis Gurry in support of WIPO’s efforts to protect IP rights. The signatories urge WIPO to play a more active role informing international debates of the incentives offered by IP rights in spurring innovation. The letter states intellectual property has never been more at risk, and cites the UN High Level Panel (UNHLP) report on Access to Medicine as evidence of current efforts to weaken the ownership incentives responsible for today’s innovations. The signatories call on WIPO to oppose the UNHLP report and other policies that would weaken the temporary ownership of patents.
The letter calls on WIPO to:
“Review the ways that IP enhances economic development and access to new products; proactively work with countries to stabilize, grow, and enhance their IP regimes and protections and; support IP as a property right and a right to enhancing human growth and development”
The letter notes that IP-intensive industries employ 30-38% of the US and EU workforces which generate nearly 40% of their GDP’s. The signatories affirm that IP rights grow economies, drive innovation, and enhance lives:
“Robust IP systems provide the greatest incentives for innovators to create the next generation of goods and services, artists to produce original works, and entrepreneurs to enter the marketplace. They also allow for the sharing of knowledge and technological advancement. Invention comes out of the shadows with good intellectual property protections.”
On the theme of World IP Day, the letter alludes to new industries on the cusp of breaking through to mainstream consumers, thanks to IP rights. Before a fully autonomous car has been sold on Main Street, IP rights have allowed companies across the world to invest billions and hire thousands of researchers and engineers. Traffic fatalities remain one of the leading causes of death for working age adults across the world–1.2 million fatalities a year-
but driverless car technology promises to make this statistic a thing of the past.
In honor of World IP Day the Austrian Economics Center joins WIPO in this annual day of celebration, remarking, “World IP Day is an opportunity to celebrate that which is uniquely human: constant innovation, reinvention, and curiosity.”
The full letter can be found here.