Friday, April 26, 2019 — Today, we celebrate World Intellectual Property (IP) Day under the theme “reach for gold”, in which recognition is given to the indelible mark that IP has left on the sporting world.
Undoubtedly, as a region, we are fanatical when it comes to sports and the tribalism that ensues during league seasons is as intoxicating to many as it is maddening to others. However, at any point should we choose to stop and appreciate the finer details of what is a global empire, we would quickly realise how Intellectual Property (IP) has fuelled the growth of the industry over the last few decades.
It is evident in the trademarked team merchandise that fans flaunt the world over, it is apparent in the patented technology of the ultralight footwear used to ‘eat up’ the turf every weekend and it is seen in the copyrighted literature strewn across a myriad of platforms which detail the intricacies of each game. IP’s footprint is evident in all aspects of sport and provides avenues for even the least athletic of us to make a living from our favourite past time.
Regionally, the sports industry has grown exponentially over the years. This growth has coincided with greater recognition for our sports men and women and has also led to greater reliance on IP in our own space.
One recent example of this was the “Team Antigua Island Girls” an all women’s team who successfully rowed across the Atlantic over the course of 47 days. Though their physical preparation, grit and grind are not in question, their reliance on patented technologies such as a carbon fibre boat and state of the art communication devices are also not in doubt.
In fact, their reliance on IP has gone beyond just that arduous period, but filters into the management of their brand through copyright and trademark protection – as is evident in the team’s desire to create their own sportswear line and plans to publish a children’s book.
Beyond sport, IP permeates our everyday lives in ways we can only begin to imagine and as such we must begin to take notice of the opportunities it provides. As a region of limited resources, IP allows us to make the most of our Human Resource and enables us to monetise our people’s boundless creativity.
Through greater awareness and the streamlining of our current IP framework we can reap significant rewards, therefore the OECS Commission is committed to being at the forefront of this endeavour by working closely with Member States and our regional and international partner agencies.
Happy World Intellectual Property Day!
About World IP Day
The World Intellectual Property Organisation’s (WIPO) member states initiated World Intellectual Property Day in 2000 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.
World IP Day is celebrated annually on April 26, the date on which the Convention establishing WIPO entered into force in 1970.