This April 26th, inventors and businesses the world over will be celebrating World IP Day! It is an occasion that marks both a continued return to normalcy after the first two years of pandemic response and the ongoing work toward an international community that recognizes the intellectual achievements from those of diverse socioeconomic backgrounds.
Held annually by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and celebrated by the USPTO, this year’s theme is “IP and Youth: Innovating a Better Future.” The goal is to highlight the contributions younger people make to intellectual property development and the focus it often has on solving the world’s biggest problems. It is an opportunity to give credit to the passion, creativity, and fortitude of young people bringing about positive change.
The chosen day of this event each year is April 26th because it is an important day in the history of intellectual property globally. It is the day that, in 1970, the treaty establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization came into effect. Each year, World IP Day continues to facilitate cooperation and opportunity for innovators, community stakeholders, and national economies in over 190 countries.
Traditionally, the day is meant to bring attention to the international systems and institutions that make global IP possible. Many take for granted the projections and regulations that allow nations to share resources, ideas, and talent. However, it was a prime opportunity to give notice to those who are less heralded in a system that touches the lives of every individual around the world, every single day.
The young people, being selected for special recognition this year, range in age from teens to early 30s and are among just a handful of the outstanding individuals contributing intellectual property to the nations they hail from. Many of them are not only deeply involved in the technical execution of their ideas but also act as the spokespeople for the causes and organizations they represent.
While these individuals may come from any field of scientific pursuit, this year’s nominees for “Change Maker” include inventors attempting to tackle issues related to climate change. Whether they seek to avoid the worst effects of climate change, or create a more sustainable future, this year’s nominees have all approached the challenge of climate change with the belief that anyone can make a difference.
Kazumi Muraki from Japan, for instance, is just 22 years old and has not only created the world’s smallest CO2 capture machine but founded the Carbon Recovering Research Agency (CRRA), a research agency working with the Japanese government conducting “integrated research ranging from methods for stemming global warming to colonization of Mars.”
Other areas of invention include health and IT. Marie Chantal Umunyana is promoting healthcare as a medical student in Rwanda by providing access and information vital to young families, including mothers, in a region with an underdeveloped healthcare system. She hopes that her innovations become a model for other African countries.