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Why intellectual property is the key to building a better tomorrow — World IP Day 2024

AuthorsSara LudlamDana SamatarGeorgia Close

Lightbulb green globe world intellectual property day

We can’t build a better future without innovation and creativity.

This is the central message behind World IP Day, which since the turn of the Millenium has been celebrated to raise awareness of the importance of intellectual property (IP) rights in recognising and rewarding the role of ingenuity in society.

This year’s theme is all about how IP can help to achieve the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

These goals are at the heart of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by all United Nations Member States. Their aim is to transform our world by tackling poverty, reducing inequality, improving health and education and driving economic growth.

With a greater understanding of IP rights, we can better tackle climate change and protect our oceans and forests — as our IP experts Sara Ludlam, Dana Samatar and Georgia Close explore.


The power of IP in society 

World IP Day is the brainchild of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) — a specialised United Nations agency that believes (as do we) in building awareness of how creators can use IP.

This is particularly important when it comes to developing new ways to improve society. To give just one example, Kavita Shukla (founder and CEO of The FRESHGLOW Co.) has recently secured four US patents for FreshPaper — sheets infused with botanicals that can keep produce fresh for longer and help to alleviate hunger around the world.

Without the ability to use IP protection, such innovative ideas may never see the light of day or reach so wide an audience.

WIPO has also set out how innovation leads to development of climate-friendly technologies, including those that “adapt to and mitigate the impacts of climate change” and “help [to] raise global awareness about the imperatives of climate change through creative media”. It has even established a marketplace for sustainable technology — WIPO GREEN — to connect “providers and seekers of environmentally friendly technologies”. 

Notably, the UK Intellectual Property Office offers a service to accelerate the processing of patent applications for inventions with an environmental benefit. It’s brilliant to see that national and global organisations and offices are facilitating the development and protection of sustainable and environmentally friendly innovations.


Ethical production

Many companies are looking to capitalise on such opportunities to further sustainability and promote ethical production. British heritage brand Dr. Martens has recently released a reclaimed leather collection of footwear made from its “new innovative material designed to tackle leather waste”. The “Genix Nappa” collection is made from reclaimed leather using leather offcuts destined for landfill.

Budapest-based fashion house Nanushka is another example. Its partnership with UK-based fashion-tech company SOJO provides repair services for customers, designed to extend the lifetime of its products. The pair have also collaborated “to launch a limited collection based on the concept of visibly mending clothes” using “a range of techniques including crochet, patchwork and embroidery”. 

For us to make headway on addressing many of the world’s problems — including moving away from single-use products, fast fashion and non-renewable energy sources — inventors and creatives need to be more ingenious than ever before. 

Ensuring that businesses can benefit from design right, copyright or patent protection is essential to give them a competitive edge. Yet most business owners still don’t understand how IP rights work and frequently overlook the innovation happening in their businesses every day.

While some of these IP rights are free, if you don’t know how they work you won’t be able to deploy them effectively. 


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We can advise on what IP you have that may be worth protecting — and the optimal route to gaining that protection and adding value to your business.

Talk to our IP team to find out more.

Sara Ludlam

Sara is a Partner in our commercial and intellectual property team.

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Sara Ludlam

Dana Samatar

Dana Samatar is a Trainee Solicitor.

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Dana Samatar

Georgia Close

Georgia is a Solicitor in our commercial and intellectual property team.

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Georgia Close

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