World IP Day 2021: navigating the pandemic through ingenuity

26 April 2021

Inventors revisited

The EPO and intellectual property offices around the globe today celebrate World IP Day. A little over a year ago, the world was plunged into a pandemic that has changed the way we work and live. Despite challenges and setbacks, human perseverance and ingenuity is paving the road to recovery.

For World IP Day 2021, the EPO would like to thank inventors everywhere and highlight just some of the solutions that have inspired us during the pandemic.

Inventors against coronavirus

Researchers are at the forefront of the fight in developing new vaccines, therapies and devices. Over the past year, several inventors have shared their stories with us, providing a unique glimpse at their work and how it helps us all.

Rino Rappuoli, 2017 European Inventor Award winner in Lifetime achievement, is the father of modern day vaccines and has dedicated his career to making successive improvement to the technology. Thanks to his reverse vaccinology 2.0 technique, modern vaccines are not only safe and effective, they can also be produced much faster - a critical development in the fight against COVID 19.

At the onset of the pandemic, ventilator valves were in short supply in the north Italian city of Bresca. Inventor Cristian Fracassi used additive manufacturing to create valves that could be fitted to easy-to-find snorkelling masks. In less than 24 hours, his solution enabled 2 600 manufacturers to use their 3D printers to produce valves for hospitals around the globe.

Small businesses for recovery

In light of the economic fall-out of the pandemic, World Intellectual Property Day 2021 also highlights the importance of SMEs and the role they play in driving recovery. Approximately 18% of patent applications filed at the EPO come from SMEs and individual inventors, with a further 10% from universities and research institutions, from which SMEs are often spun-off to commercialise new technology.

About World Intellectual Property Day

The event was initiated by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) in 2000 and has been celebrated annually on 26 April. Each year, World IP Day provides a platform to promote intellectual property rights and emphasise their importance in encouraging innovation and creativity.

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