Don’t let IP be misunderstood on World IP Day

Most people who work in IP will have had the experience: you’re standing at a party (wedding, dinner, bar mitzvah, what-have-you), talking to someone you’ve just met.  The inevitable question arises: “So, what do you do?”.

I now take this opportunity to excuse myself, put my drink down and run in the other direction with my fingers in my ears, but in the past would reply “I’m a patent attorney.”  The subsequent discussion nearly always showed that awareness and understanding of IP are very low among those with no direct experience with it.

Even those writing about it on the internet don’t always give IP the love it deserves.

Beyond a basic understanding of IP categories, the next level is to appreciate that IP protects the outcome of creation and innovation.  Some believe it therefore drives the economy.  If that’s right, then the substantial cuts in IP budgets many companies have experienced isn’t a good sign for future economic growth.

However, according to our US IP Trends survey of over 150 patent applicants, there’s at least the beginning of a turnaround in sight.  For example, over 70% of respondents plan to maintain or increase their foreign patent filings in 2010, as compared to 2009.

Getting back to the party, we’d like to encourage you on World IP Day to smile and answer proudly, “I work in IP.”



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