Owning property is a fundamental human right, and intellectual property is no different. Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution of the United States protects intellectual property to foster creativity, innovation and growth. The United States Patent and Trademark Office estimates that IP-intensive industries are responsible for creating more than 40 million jobs in the United States and contributes nearly 35% to U.S. GDP.

That is why every year on April 26th, individuals and organizations around the world celebrate World Intellectual Property (IP) Day. Founded by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in 2000, World IP Day was created to spread awareness about the importance of protecting intellectual property. This year, the theme for the day is “Digital Creativity: Culture Reimagined”. Established by the United Nations in 1967, WIPO continues to lead the global community on issues concerning intellectual property.

Other forms of IP include copyright, trademarks and patents designed to reduce the risk of theft for creative ideas. WIPO reports that in 2014, 2,680,900 patent applications were filed world-wide, as well as 7,449,394 trademark applications. That is nearly twice as many applications filed in 2004 and the market continues to grow.

Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property David Kappos stated, “America needs to continue investing in a high quality and appropriately balanced intellectual property system that will promote innovative, open, and competitive markets while helping to ensure that the U.S. private sector remains America’s innovation engine.” The effort to protect intellectual property must continue to be at the forefront of economic policy in order to foster a healthy environment for economic and social growth.

Everyone is invited to spread awareness about intellectual property rights by participating in World IP Day. Those wishing to join the celebration of World IP Day are encouraged to use the #WorldIPDay hashtag on social media.