In 2000, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Member States designated the 26 April as the World Intellectual Property Day. The day is aimed to celebrate human creativity, to acknowledge the socio-economic importance of Intellectual Property (IP) and the protection thereof, create awareness about IP rights and encourage creativity and innovation by citizens. The event was celebrated for the first time in 2001 and April 2019 will mark the 19th celebration of the day worldwide. The event targets the general public, youth, academics, organised and small businesses, the legal fraternity and government departments involved in the field of IP.
The theme for 2019 is “Going for Gold: Intellectual Property and Sports” as a celebration of the brilliance, ingenuity, curiosity and courage of individuals who are fuelling change in the world of sports, shaping our future and growing the economy. WIPO chose this theme in order to explore how innovation, creativity and IP rights that encourage and protect these innovations and creativity, aid the development of sport and how it is enjoyed worldwide.
The National Intellectual Property Management Office (NIPMO), in conjunction with its partners and stakeholders, namely Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC), Technology Innovation Agency (TIA), Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda), Department of Science and Technology (DST), Department of Trade and Industry (the dti), Free State Economic Development Agency (FDC), South African Football Association (SAFA), Central University of Technology (CUT) and The Innovation Hub (TIH) ae planning to celebrate World Intellectual Property month in style in Mangaung, Free State province over a three-day period starting on 15 April where the above institutions’ executives and heads will launch the Day. Members of media across Mangaung and beyond will be invited to this launch. On 25 April, a roadshow by members of these organisations will be at Hoffman’s square, a local shopping mall where ordinary members of the public will get more information about the importance of IP in their daily lives. The audience will also get an opportunity to interact with some of their sporting heroes as they display some of their achievements as a way to encourage people to get involved by being innovative and ensuring that their sporting talents are able to improve their daily lives. The third and last day will be dedicated to two sessions on; firstly, there will be a panel discussion in the morning, drawn from members of the various organisations, which will debate IP issues in line with the theme. This panel discussion will be flighted on Business Day television and part of the audience will comprise high school learners, small and medium enterprises as well as tertiary students, university researchers and other members of the public. The second session will mainly include IP talks by sporting personalities and members of the various organisations.
NIPMO also plans to celebrate the World IP month together with some of its stakeholders mainly Offices of Technology Transfer across the country. These OTTs have been reminded to come up with exciting activities as a way to celebrate World IP Day and they should then send their plans to NIPMO and the latter will join them in their celebrations. NIPMO sends out a call to all the OTTs each year for this purpose and this is definitely the same.
Some of the activities which the OTTs could undertake to celebrate World IP day include:
- A sports event where an explanation is provided on the role of IP in the world of sport.
- Advocacy and awareness workshops and IP ‘brown-bag’ sessions: these could include lunch hour talks to students or the university community in general on the importance and relevance of IP in their daily lives using sports examples.
- Student competitions: students could be encouraged to partake through engaging in competitions such as hosting IP& Sport quizzes for a book voucher or a contribution towards tuition. Inventors can show case their latest sport technologies that happen in three parts. Part 1: Knowledge of IP, Part 2: How their inventions work and the link between it and IP and Part 3: How it will be used in society.
- Inventors’ talks on their success stories / inventions, with a focus on athletes and sports’ technology.
- Inventor recognition awards ceremonies, with a focus on athletes and sports’ technology.
- Campus-radio interviews: Facilitate or organise a slot for an IP discussion at the campus-based radio station interviewing a sporting hero and maybe an inventor who has contributed towards developing sport technology (for example a golf club).
NIPMO helps the OTTs by posting their activities on the WIPO IP day page. These are then shown to the whole world by WIPO.