Huge crowds gathered around the world to celebrate World Intellectual Property Day on Monday.
The event has gathered momentum in the ten years since it began, and a number of Asian countries now recognise World IP Day as a public holiday.
One of the biggest gatherings was in Washington DC, where up to half a million packed gathered around the Lincoln memorial.
President Obama roused the crowd with a stirring speech about the importance of patents and robust copyright protection.
The President promised the crowd that he would put IP protection on the top of the US’s domestic agenda – ahead of other pressing issues such as healthcare reform and financial market regulation.
“I will not let up until those Americans who seek IP protection can find it, until those businesses that seek capital and credit through innovation can thrive, and until all patent owners can sue the asses off anyone who infringes their rights. That is our ultimate goal. But thanks to the bold and decisive action we’ve taken since I took office, I can stand here with confidence and say that we have pulled our IP system back from the brink.
“To those who ask whether we have a robust and powerful intellectual property system, I say this: yes we can.”
But the largest crowds were those gathered in Beijing, where millions took to the streets in support of tightening IP protection. Factories across the country, usually devoted to producing cheap counterfeit goods, were closed down as workers rejoiced in the protection that good IP laws provided.
And in Canberra, an unprecedented number of patent and trade mark examiners were awarded membership of the Order of Australia.
Meanwhile, in New York, noted software freedom activist Richard Stallman told a packed audience of software developers that World IP Day was worth celebrating.
“It’s time we took a moment to say a big thank you to the likes of IBM and Microsoft. I’m usually on the case of these corporate bastards, destroying all that is good and great in the world, but today is all about celebrating the framework of legal rights that allow creators and inventors to exploit their work to the exclusion of others.
“Well done to Microsoft and IBM, and other corporate champions of IP protection.”