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World Intellectual Property Day 2021 – Comment from Virtuoso Legal Founder, Elizabeth Ward

World IP Day falls on the 26th of April in 2021 – offering the opportunity to reflect upon the role of intellectual property in a world being reshaped by COVID-19 and its subsequent fallout.

Virtuoso Legal principal solicitor and founder Elizabeth Ward spoke about the unique role IP must play as a new world emerges out of this most recent crisis.


Answering profound challenges


It goes without saying that we are living through some of the most challenging times the current generations have ever seen and that the world has faced and continues to face a set of profound challenges.

This time has been difficult for all, with no one on the face of the planet left untouched by this uncaring and relentless virus.

What has buoyed me however has been the limitless ingenuity and collaboration displayed by a set of innovators who have demonstrated the absolute best of humanity – in quickly developing and deploying miraculously effective vaccines based on entirely new mRNA technology.

This, along with a host of other innovations in treatment and the broader protective ecosystem around COVID-19 has made a horrific situation far less deadly and has offered hope during what would otherwise be incredibly dire times.

With the situation ongoing we can only hope that the pace of innovation and collaboration continues, offering robust vaccine technology, not only for the virus and variants but for other diseases which have caused so much suffering until this point.

Crucially, the capability for humans to come together, create and deploy solutions truly offers comfort during the most difficult times.



Opportunities to reshape the future


The world will never be the same again. Something as monumental as this global pandemic hits at such a fundamental level that the attitudes, behaviors, and needs of the population are irrevocably shifted.

With a whole host of new challenges and problems to solve – is the opportunity for a set of solutions that will bring the future into the present.

Whether it is economies that emerge around widespread flexible working, reimagining cities that are less densely commercially populated, answers to new attitudes and behaviour around health and hygiene.

The shape of things to come will be determined by the innovators, who like those mentioned above, have a sight of a brighter future and develop and bring to  bear what it takes for that future to become a reality.

Intellectual property plays a big role in this, incentivising the innovation required to solve the big problems that we all face – whilst striking a balance to ensure that the benefit of innovation can be shared by the wider public.

It is my hope that all involved in the decision-making will continue to seek to strike this balance effectively to ensure that we all can benefit from the solutions that our innovators bring to the world.


Closing remarks


When I set up Virtuoso Legal in 2007, it was on the back of the belief that helping business owners capture and deploy the value of their innovative ideas was important and to the benefit of us all.

These ideas were no afterthought but genuinely the centrifuge of what pushes businesses forward – and as a result society at large.

I have never been more convinced of this belief than this year as it has become apparent what can happen when fantastic ideas are brought to the world through urgency and collaboration.

With that in mind, I wish you all a fantastic World IP Day.


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