2021 World Intellectual Property Day
11 May 2021

2021 World Intellectual Property Day

As we recently celebrated the 21st edition of the World Intellectual Property Day a fortnight ago, we wanted to explore this key date in our industry.

World Intellectual Property Day is observed annually on 26 April. The event was created by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in 2000 to "raise awareness of how patents, copyright, trademarks and designs impact on daily life" and "to celebrate creativity, and the contribution made by creators and innovators to the development of societies across the globe".

The 26th of April was chosen as the date for World Intellectual Property Day because it coincides with the date on which the Convention Establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization entered into force in 1970.

WIPO — A Brief History

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has a long and fascinating past. It began operations on 26 April 1970 when the convention entered into force. The current Director General is Singaporean Daren Tang, former head of the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore, who began his term on 1 October 2020.

Headquartered in Geneva, WIPO was created to encourage and protect intellectual property (IP) across the world by cooperating with countries as well as international organizations.

World Intellectual Property Day themes over the past 5 years:

2017 “Innovation — Improving Lives”

2018 “Powering Change: Women in Innovation and Creativity”

2019 “Reach for Gold: IP and Sports”

2020 “Innovate for a green future”

2021 'Taking your ideas to the market'


In his message for World Intellectual Property Day 2021, WIPO Director General Daren Tang highlights the critical role of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the global economy.


“World Intellectual Property Day 2021 puts these heroes – and the backbone of our economy – in the spotlight. Although they make up half of the world's economy, many SMEs lack valuable knowledge in how to effectively use intellectual property. Today, we remind them how IP can be a powerful tool to help them thrive, grow, and take their ideas to market”.


He went on to say that SMEs make up 90% of all companies around the world, employing 70% of workers globally and making up half of the world’s economy. Simply put, SMEs are the engines and unsung heroes of our global economy. So, it’s vital that SMEs request and protect the IP.


WIPO works alongside some government agencies, non-government organizations, community groups and individuals to hold different events and activities to promote World Intellectual Property Day each year. Activities and events may include (but are not exclusive to):

  • Stage concerts or other public performances cantered around the World IP Day theme, with the performers delivering messages which encourage respect for creators and creativity.
  • Essay competitions for young people on themes relating to intellectual property, innovation, piracy, counterfeiting, and other similar issues.
  • Seminars or free lectures in universities to build awareness of intellectual property and its benefits among students, faculty and researchers.
  • Exhibits in museums, art galleries, schools and other educational institutions, with presentations explaining the link between exhibitions, innovation and intellectual property.


We are proud at SHIP Global to support many SMEs to fulfill their goals and compete with the bigger players in the IP space. If there is anything you would like to read about in our next edition, please get in touch.


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