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IP & SMEs: Taking your Ideas to Market

Vipin Saini
Vipin Saini
World Intellectual Property Day 2021

World Intellectual Property Day 2021 shines a light on the critical role of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the economy and how they can use intellectual property (IP) rights to build stronger, more competitive and resilient businesses. 

Small and medium-sized enterprises take center stage at this year’s celebration of World Intellectual Property Day, with WIPO Director General Daren Tang describing them as the "unsung heroes" of the global economy and an engine for growth in a post-pandemic world. 

In a video message celebrating World IP Day, which occurs each April 26, Mr. Tang said that SMEs account for 90% of all companies worldwide and 70% of global employment [1]. That's why World IP Day 2021 is carrying the theme "IP and SMEs: Taking your ideas to market."  

"SMEs are the engines, the unsung heroes of our economy. And yet for many of them, there is still a lack of knowledge about how IP can help them translate their ideas into products, and how IP can be a powerful tool for them to not just survive, but to also compete and grow," he said. 

"SMEs face different challenges in different parts of the world, and how we help them will need to be customized to the needs of your part of the world. But it will be a powerful message for us to send the signal that together we will be supporting them," said Mr. Tang. 

Mr. Tang, who took office as WIPO's Director General in October 2020, has made supporting smaller enterprises a priority. In one of his first actions as Director General, he established the "IP and Innovation Ecosystems Sector" as one of the Organization's eight sectors, with a remit to support SMEs, entrepreneurs and researchers in commercializing IP and using it for business growth. 

"Whatever help we can render to our SMEs, will be help that we render to the bedrock of your economy, and the backbone of the global economy. Ultimately, it will help our world to build back better," after the COVID-19 pandemic, he said. 

WIPO is coordinating a global campaign to highlight the importance of intangible assets to SMEs and the value of IP in supporting SMEs to grow. The Organization has published a series of case studies from around the world telling stories of SMEs that are using IP rights to turn ideas into business opportunities and generate value. WIPO has also provided a wealth of practical information on the best ways for SMEs to protect their intangible assets. 

The international IP community is joining celebrations today to mark World IP Day through a series of virtual activities and an active social media campaign. 

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