Today (April 26th) is World Intellectual Property Day, a fitting occasion to acknowledge your brand’s indispensable partner.
IP is defined as any intangible asset derived from human knowledge or creativity—with the potential to be valued at $71,861 million—if you’re smart enough to do it right! And IP rights play a vital role in safeguarding new and existing brands, building brand value, promoting competition and stimulating further innovation. Without these rights, it would be impossible for a brand to survive.
IP rights are encompassed by patents, copyright and trademarks. I’ll admit to being biased, but, as they’re a particular passion of mine, I must mention that trademarks are actually the oldest form of intellectual property, dating back to 4000 B.C. when Egyptian structures displayed quarry marks and stonecutters' signs.
Other notable trademark dates:
*As early as 1791 Thomas Jefferson urged the adoption of laws governing trademarks, though it wasn’t until 1870 that federal legislation was eventually passed, and in 1905 the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office was established.
*Averill Paints was granted the first ever federal registration (for an eagle logo) in 1870, making it the first modern trademark issued in the U.S. (no longer in use).
*The oldest U.S. trademark registration still actively used is for Samson (with the design of a man and a lion), registered in 1884, for use on cords, line and rope
*The red triangle trademark of Bass & Co. is generally regarded as the oldest registered marks still in use today; it was first registered in Great Britain in 1876.
*Number one on this year’s Interbrand Best Global Brands list, the Coca-Cola trademark was registered in the U.S. in 1893.
If you’re reading this, chances are you have one of the 40 million jobs supported by “IP-intensive” industries in the U.S. Last month’s report by the US Dept of Commerce nicely points out:
“Innovation protected by IP rights is key to creating new jobs and growing exports… Intellectual property is not just the final product of workers and companies—every job in some way produces, supplies, consumes, or relies on innovation, creativity and commercial distinctiveness.”
Celebrated annually on April 26, the date on which the Convention establishing WIPO entered into effect in 1970, the goals of World IP Day are to raise public awareness about the role of IP in daily life, and to celebrate the contribution made by innovators and creators to the development of societies across the globe.
Worldwide festivities are underway! So what are you waiting for? Join the party!
Jerome McDonnell is Group Trademark Director for Interbrand.