Delivering tangible results for this year’s World IP Day

Delivering tangible results for this year’s World IP Day

Delivering tangible results for this year’s World IP Day

April 26, 2024 / Posted By: Liren Chen, President and CEO, InterDigital

This week we’re marking both Earth Day and World IP Day. The latter this year is focused on the world’s efforts to reach the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, which means that both days provide an opportunity to stop and reflect on how we’re working towards a more sustainable future.

Intangible assets, including intellectual property, have become the most important drivers of the world’s economy. IP has formed the foundation of the defining shift in many countries over the last 50 years as they have moved from manufacturing-based to knowledge-based economies. According to one analysis, intangible assets now account for 90% of the market value of the S&P 500 – up from 80% in 2015 and 17% in 1975.

These assets, including patents, trademarks, trade secrets and copyrighted works, not only add value to existing businesses but also provide inventors and creators with the incentives to keep innovating and, in the process, to further economic development and tackle some of the most serious challenges that the world faces.

As well as focusing on humanity’s efforts to fight climate change, the SDGs cover a range of challenges that we face, including improving health and education, lifting more people out of poverty, and fighting the effects of climate change. Unfortunately, there is still work to be done if we want to hit these goals by 2030; one recent study shows that we’re on track on just 15% of the SDGs.

But we should also recognize that innovation, supported by the incentives and protections provided by IP, have a crucial role to play if we are to have a realistic chance of reaching these goals by 2030.

As Darren Tang, the Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organization wrote recently, “To deliver [on the SDGs], we need to harness the innovation and creative potential of humankind, with intellectual property critical to making this happen. IP incentivizes innovation, rewards creativity and brings new technologies, ideas and concepts to the market.”

At InterDigital we combine a passion for innovation with a long history of changing the way that people connect. More than half of our employees are engineers, more than 90% of whom hold advanced degrees and are named inventors.

Through our research in wireless, advanced video and AI, and through our support of an open, collaborative system for the development of global standards such as 5G, we’re passionate supporters of innovation’s power to open up new opportunities around economic development, improve human life, and fight some of the most challenging threats that we face, such as climate change.

In our Video Lab we have a dedicated team of world leaders in energy aware media. Part of their work is focused on how we can mitigate the energy impact of the billions of hours that people spend streaming video content. At Mobile World Congress earlier this year we showcased a technology that uses AI to lower the energy consumption of a TV or video display without any significant loss in picture quality.

We have also played a leading role in global standards organizations, such as the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), in ensuring that energy consumption and sustainability are considered in the development of technology standards.

Last year a report from LexisNexis recognized our leadership in sustainable innovation and included InterDigital among the top 100 companies whose patented innovations are most focused on SDG-relevant technologies.

As we continue our more than 50-year history of foundational research, licensing our patent portfolio to implementers enables us to keep investing in the kind of research and technology leadership that can play a part in guiding us to a more sustainable future. This would simply not be possible without robust IP protections around the world.

So, it should be of concern that some parts of the world do not clearly recognize the role IP plays in supporting innovation and, in some cases, are taking steps to diminish IP rights, particularly around standardized technologies. This is a clear mistake.

In a global economy that is increasingly driven by intangible assets, we need fair and balanced IP systems to help deliver tangible results in fighting some of the gravest challenges we face.