ICYMI: An Innovative Year in Review

Through IP Progress this year, we celebrated new innovation that has improved lives around the world and raised awareness about the need to protect innovators, so they can continue to deliver breakthrough products and processes. Here are some of the key themes that highlight our stories from 2018.

A Strong Intellectual Property Ecosystem Fosters Progress

Whether looking across sectors, such as emerging tech, highlighting strong female innovators or showcasing a wide variety of health-related inventions, IP Progress showcased just some of the amazing innovation progressing us forward. These inventions were possible because of a strong intellectual property system that supports and rewards inventors for their hard work.

International Forums Remained a Venue for Misguided Attacks on Intellectual Property

International forums – including the World Health Organization’s Executive Board Meeting in January, the World Health Assembly and the United Nations High-Level Meeting on Tuberculosis – continued to advance the tired, unfounded argument that intellectual property is a barrier to medicine access. While some progress was made in focusing on the real barriers to patient access to health care, especially since about 90 percent of essential medicines are generics, more can be done in 2019 and beyond.

“Through IP Progress this year, we celebrated new innovation that has improved lives around the world and raised awareness about the need to protect innovators.”

Data Show Intellectual Property Facilitates Access to Today's Medicines and Encourages Tomorrow's Cures

Building off an important study released at the end of 2017, IP Progress further explored the true barriers standing in way between patients and the medicines they need. Our series looked at five challenges – insufficient supply chain, poor infrastructure, weak financing, workforce shortages and low health literacy – where we must focus attention to help patients facing access issues. And by supporting, instead of attacking intellectual property, innovators can help get more new treatments to individuals worldwide.

Actions Across Regions Threaten Innovators and Progress

We monitored a number of developments of concern around the globe that could threaten innovators’ ability to deliver new inventions. In particular, the European Union – thought to be an innovation leader – and Latin America, with a growing innovation climate – each advanced practices that harm innovators. To ensure they maintain or build their innovation economies, protecting and rewarding inventors must remain paramount.

We learned a lot in 2018, including to stay vigilant in supporting intellectual property protections for innovators. But whether witnessing women inventors discovering the future, or how delegates at the UN High-Level Meeting on TB ultimately recognized intellectual property, there is much to be hopeful for as we look to the future. In 2019, we will continue to showcase the power of innovation, as well as advocate for proper intellectual property rights that ultimately benefit us all.