24 Apr 2020

World Intellectual Property Day. A Joint Declaration of the Critical Importance of Strong Intellectual Property Rights

On April 26, we will celebrate World Intellectual Property Day. As the world confronts the global coronavirus pandemic, the Global Trade and Innovation Policy Alliance (GTIPA), of which CASE is a member, calls for more robust intellectual property (IP) rights to foster innovation and protect creativity, the leading force toward finding a cure for COVID-19.

Together with members of the GTIPA, a global network of 36 independent think tanks supporting global trade liberalization and integration, CASE signed a declaration of support for IP guiding principles for the good of people, international trade, global prosperity, and progress.

The members of the GTIPA, call on policymakers around the world to be guided by the following principles:

1) We call for governments and for international organizations such as the World Trade Organization and World Intellectual Property Organization to encourage respect for IPRs. A lack of respect and understanding for the value of IPRs both discourages innovation and drives piracy.

2) Governments should expand education on the importance of and respect for IPRs. Property, of course, is important. It represents the stable foundation upon which wealth is built and commerce is pursued. But it is not only wealth and commerce but the wealth too of the human spirit, expressed through creation and ingenuity.

3) We call for governments to implement strong IPRs without discrimination against types of technologies or who owns them: big or little, local or foreign. To do so will further the goals of economic and spiritual development for all nations.

4) We call upon governments to promote a strong rule of law underpinned by an independent judiciary. This will ensure that the patent system can be utilized by all inventors, while remaining free from illegal abuses that aim to undermine competition.

5) We call for global efforts to combat online piracy of digital goods. Economic losses to artists, content firms, and software producers from such piracy are enormous. They create great inefficiencies, erode the public tax base, limit digital goods development, and defeat entrepreneurial development. Digital piracy also weakens the development potential of emerging nations.

6) We call for governments to increase efforts to interdict trade in counterfeit goods at their borders. Such efforts are critical to protect the safety of consumers and businesses and to preserve the wealth-creating effects of businesses investing in innovation, standards, and integrity. Economic losses to counterfeit products are enormous and harm innovators and entrepreneurs in developed and developing countries alike.

7) We call for a recognition that robust intellectual property rights underpin successful life-sciences innovation systems in nations worldwide. IPRs allow innovators to capture a share of the social value they create from their innovations, and give innovators the confidence to invest in the risky, expensive, and uncertain process of developing new-to-the-world innovations, whether in the life-sciences or other sectors. While we are mindful of the need to ensure that people have access to needed medicines, we recognize that access to medicines presupposes the existence of innovative medicines, and that IPRs play an important role in facilitating their development.


Bay Area Council Economic Institute
Center for Global Enterprise
Free Market Foundation
Fundación IDEA
Fundación Eléutera
Geneva Network
Libertad y Desarrollo
Information Technology and Innovation Foundation
Macdonald-Laurier Institute
Property Rights Alliance


Read the IP Declaration