World intellectual property day
Zhengzhou 27th April 2010
You can feel the excitement in the air in Shanghai. As I was doing my “daily dose of daylight” walk earlier this morning before flying off to Zhengzhou, the sun was out and there was a definite buzz in the air… hard to describe. The opening of the World Expo is now only days away and the city has gradually completed all upgrading works to look neat and ready to receive the influx of visitors expected for the Expo. The park where I normally go for my walk just opened a new section full of flowers and blooming trees, the maintenance staff had all new uniforms…it’s all these little things that add to the feeling…Shanghai is ready for the Expo!
As it happens yesterday was world intellectual property day, a subject that should be close to every designer’s heart. A subject certainly sensitive and much talked about in this part (Asia, China) of the world! The World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) was established on this day in 1970 and has its primary aims in raising awareness about the impact of patents, copyrights, trademarks and specifically designs on our daily life. By further protecting people’s IP rights it helps to promote creativity and innovation, something vital to our society.
Don’t we all copy things that we like in life, be it lifestyle, recipes for food, interior decorations? But most of the time we copy from things we encounter in the public domain, things we see around us, things we read in books or magazines, etc. And most of the time we copy just for our own personal use and enjoyment, not for commercial benefit.
When it comes to (commercial) lighting design I think it is the same. As a designer we develop our own style of lighting design, using concepts and lighting effects we like, we have seen working well. I would dare to say that there are very little original or innovative (lighting) designers. Let’s face it, most designers use existing products and proven concepts but apply them in new creative ways or environments. Is it copying? Are we infringing on someone’s IP rights? Not an easy question, certainly when it comes to lighting design. Would be interesting to hear some opinion on this!