We hear a great deal about innovation these days, and for good reason. Innovation lies at the heart of our social and economic wellbeing.
Innovation – and the technological progress it represents – makes a significant contribution to economic growth and creates opportunities for new and better jobs.
We often do not take enough time to think about the many ways in which innovation improves the quality of our lives. One only has to compare the way we live today with the way we lived 100 years ago. Over the past century, we have seen an extraordinary transformation in the quality of our material lives, thanks to the introduction of countless new and improved technologies and products. And with extraordinary new technologies such as virtual reality, artificial intelligence, 3D printing, neuromorphic computer chips, nanotechnology, robotics, CRISPR gene-editing and more coming on stream, the prospects for further progress are very bright.
What, you may ask, does intellectual property have to do with all of this?
Intellectual property is a crucial part of a successful innovation system. It provides a return for those who take the risk to introduce the "new" – in terms of products and services – into the economy. It provides a framework for the rather difficult and challenging journey that any idea has to undertake before becoming a commercially available product or service.
With this year's World Intellectual Property Day campaign, we are celebrating innovation and how it improves our lives. We are also celebrating all the risk-takers, all those who have dared to bring about positive change through innovation.
This year's campaign is an opportunity for us all to think about what it actually takes to invent something and the challenges associated with that process. It is also a chance for us to consider how we can make innovation really work for the benefit of the whole of society.
I wish you all a very happy, fruitful and innovative World Intellectual Property Day.