The role of intellectual property—patents, trademarks, industrial designs, utility(उपयोगिता) model, copyright—in encouraging innovation and creativity takes center stage every April 26, as the world celebrates the World Intellectual Property Day. This year’s theme, “Innovation(अभिनव): Improving Lives”, highlights the impact of innovation in the numerous aspects of our lives, such as food security, comfort, connectivity, safety, transportation(परिवहन), communication, health care and sports. In all these, the intellectual-property (IP) system boosts inspiration for innovators to continuously create, improve and manufacture. An innovation that is protected by IP enhances the chances of making better products and services accessible to the public. Innovation and the role of the IP system. One of today’s buzzwords is innovation. Products, services and spaces are marketed as innovative. People and businesses claim themselves to be innovators one way or another. Inevitably, our indiscriminate (ab)use of these related words across every field imaginable leads to its meaning being diluted to insignificant proportions. What does innovation mean, and how does it work, anyway?
Author Scott Berkun proposes a concise definition: Innovation is significant positive change. (The definition of innovation will be discussed in a future column.)
In his book Driving Innovation, Author Michael Gollin describes the stages of “innovation cycle” and relates how any the intellectual property system plays an important role in each. The first stage is creative work: creators of innovations readily use the pool of available resources in their work. The second is adoption by society: the work gets shared with the immediate community for further development and collaboration. The third and final is access to knowledge: allowing the public to gain access becomes essential to moving the innovation cycle forward from this third stage back to the first.
One of the key features of the IP system is to incentivize creative work by providing exclusive rights to the creator for a limited period of time. But once an innovation is protected, the system plays the vital, yet delicate, role of balancing the private interests of the creator with that of the general interests of the public.
Innovation: improving lives. Undeniably(इसमें शक नहीं है), innovation plays an indispensable role in satisfying humankind’s never-ending desire to improve lives.
To illustrate: some 5,000 years ago, we managed to create one of the most important and breakthrough innovations of all time—the wheel. In our unceasing pursuit of bettering ourselves, we caused the lowly wheel to transform from one shape, size and material to another. Thus, through human ingenuity, we enabled ourselves to travel around the globe on land, sea, or air. Not only that, we managed to embark on journeys to the depths of the earth, to the moon, and even beyond.
Some 200 years have passed since the invention of the steam locomotive that marked the start of mechanized production in the First Industrial Revolution. Electricity gained prominence over water and steam and mass production became vogue (this was the time when the assembly line was patented) during the Second. Automated production via electronics and information technology or the computers are features of the Third. We are now at the Fourth Industrial Revolution built upon the Third: a frenzied whirl of digital technologies and innovations managing to cut across virtually all physical, digital and biological spaces, almost blurring the clear lines of the traditional IP regimes.
In this day and age, we find inventions that provide significant positive changes to human lives. Driverless cars have already been tested in London. 3D printing is now being studied in its application for health care and surgery. Drone technology is now used for saving human lives and conserving wildlife, among others. Artificial intelligence (कृत्रिम होशियारी) and Internet of Things are used to facilitate interconnectivity and the sending and receiving of data. Many things in the past that were only figments of imagination in sci-fi books and movies are now here.
World Intellectual Property Day activities in the Philippines. The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) is at the forefront of the local celebration of the World Intellectual Property Day. On April 23 the National Book Development Board celebrated the World Book and Copyright Day at the Quezon City Memorial Circle in an event entitled “Book Fiesta”. Various organizations (private and government, including IPOPHL) participated in the event that was attended by book artists, storytellers, students and children, among others.
Other events this last week of the first National IP Month include: April 24 and 25, Workshop on the Collective Management of Performers’ and Producers’ Rights; April 26, World IP Day, launching of eInventionFile, an online application for patent through our web site, completing our entire array of electronic filing services for trademarks, utility models and industrial designs instituted for the ease of the public, and eDocfile for online submission of documents for trademark applicants; photo contest through the IPOPHL Facebook page; April 27 and 28, we are holding a free two-day seminar on “Making a Living Out of Music” at the University of the Philippines-Bonifacio Global City Campus. Interested members of the public may join and preregister through