The great American inventor Nicola Tesla once said, “I do not think there is any thrill that can go through the human heart like that felt by the inventor as he sees some creation of the brain unfolding to success.” On April 26, we mark World Intellectual Property (IP) Day to celebrate the value people like Nicola Tesla bring to our lives, and the importance of protecting their ideas and inventions to spur innovation and growth.
This year’s theme is “Reach for the Gold: IP and Sport,” to highlight how strong IP protection encourages the development of sports. Sports have become a multi-billion dollar global industry – one that generates investment in facilities like the new Humo Arena in Tashkent and creates jobs for millions of people around the world. In the United States, the sports industry generates more than $70 billion per year for the U.S. economy; 70% of that revenue comes from media rights, sponsorship, and merchandizing, which all require strong IP protection to survive.
The Harlem Globetrotters basketball team, which will be in Uzbekistan next week and again at the end of May, is a perfect example of the kind of success strong IP protection can create. The Globetrotters began with an idea. A man named Abe Saperstein envisioned a creative new way to promote basketball, and grew that vision from a small, family-owned business into a multi-million dollar enterprise recognized around the world. Thanks to strong IP protection of their brand, this beloved team has been able to entertain and inspire millions of fans for nearly a century with their unique blend of amazing talent, creativity, and goodwill.
Any country that wants to develop business based on innovation, unique brands, and creativity needs a strong, balanced system of IP protection. There must be a legal framework that ensures creators and innovators a straightforward way to secure the rights to their ideas and inventions. This framework must also include strong enforcement measures, due process guarantees, and a transparent judiciary. Such a framework encourages research, development, innovation, and creativity, which in turn fuel job growth and investment. Thanks to comprehensive IP protection in the United States, IP-intensive industries account for more than 45 million U.S. jobs (nearly a third of the workforce), 50% of U.S. exports, and almost 40% of the gross domestic product.
Many studies show a strong link between robust IP protection and increased technology transfer, scientific exchange, access to funding, job growth, and foreign direct investment, which is why the United States works closely with our partners in Uzbekistan to improve IP protection. Notably, the Government of Uzbekistan in 2018 acceded to three important IP treaties – a major step in guaranteeing IP protection for local and international companies and in attracting foreign investment.
Strong IPR protection unlocks vast economic benefits by encouraging the creative potential of everyday people. On World IP Day, let’s take a moment to honor the talents of the innovators and creators who make our lives brighter and richer with the products of their minds.
Charge d’Affaires Alan Meltzer