April 16, 2015

Achieving the Unimaginable, International Innovation

By Matt Harakal

Whether it is improved health and safety, or economic growth and entrepreneurship, both developing and developed economies are impacted through leading edge research and business developments.

New technologies and creative enterprises are indicative of knowledge-based economies, and many countries and international policy makers are becoming increasingly more aware of the role intellectual property plays in maintaining, and or developing, their competiveness in the global economy.

In Chile, the campaign Tu Creación Vale (“Your Creation is Worthwhile”) was created by the American Chamber of Commerce “to strengthen the culture of Intellectual Property, which, in turn, will help to raise productivity and competitiveness in Chile. A greater understanding of the opportunities afforded by managing and respecting Intellectual Property will bring about a range of benefits for copywriters, researchers, businesses, entrepreneurs, and, more broadly, society as a whole. This will result in a country with greater technological and economic resources that is more competitive in the globalized world of today.”

Meanwhile, on the other side of the planet, local voices like Liu Xiaoqing of LeTV and film director Zhao Linshan are becoming advocates for greater recognition of intellectual property rights in China. Highlighted in the GIPC documentary “Creativity and Innovation: A Watershed Transforming China,” they joined other inventors and artists to provide personal stories and testimony to demonstrate the link between their ability to innovate and the importance of knowing those advancements would be protected.

But it is not just the creators who benefit. Costa Rica’s business community launched an awareness campaign from the American Chamber of Commerce there, to allow citizens to anonymously report illicit trade through a new mobile application, “Mercado Ilegal.” This effort is helping to take dangerous fake products off the streets – everything from personal care products and medicines to alcohol and tobacco – and protect consumers, while helping legitimate businesses who are providing jobs, tax revenue and safe, reliable products.

Through a partnership with Lehigh University and entrepreneurs in Asia, a professor was able to share his breakthrough LayneRT filtration system to hundreds of thousands of people facing unsafe arsenic levels in their drinking water. Dr. Arup SenGupta has created entrepreneurs by partnering with individuals like Ruplekha Banarjee and her Aqua Bengal Enterprise, who are selling clean drinking water to villagers for less than $ 1 per year, per person in areas where the average daily income is less than $2.00. Thanks to his efforts, there are now self-sustaining, community based arsenic removal systems in rural communities in India, Bangladesh, Cambodia, and Laos.

As pioneers in their fields, this year’s IP Champion award recipients embody the trailblazing mentality that is required to address many of the world’s greatest challenges, provide amazing new technologies and entertain millions. It is also important for policy makers to understand how critical a consistent and secure intellectual property system is  the IP Champions’ successes and a knowledge-based economy in general. With severalinternational trade deals being negotiated, it is more important than ever to recognize, and respect, high standards of intellectual property. The next generation of authors, scientists, and discoverers depend on it.

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