Tuesday, August 30, 2022

WIPO Global Awards reward small and medium-sized enterprises making a global impact

In 2022, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) launched a new initiative to recognize the innovative efforts of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) from around the world. WIPO’s new Global Awards are designed to identify new inventions and creative commercial solutions that impact economic, social, and cultural progress, and in turn, encourage innovation and the commercialization of IP assets.

WIPO is a self-funding agency of the United Nations (comprising 193 member states) that provides a global forum for IP services, policy, information, and cooperation. WIPO’s mission is to ensure a world where innovation and creativity from anywhere in the world is supported by IP rights for the good of everyone. An aim of the Global Awards is to recognize and support enterprises and individuals striving to make a positive impact through innovation both at home and beyond borders.

The Global Awards specifically focus on recognizing deserving SMEs – enterprises, in accordance with the World Bank’s definition, comprising fewer than 300 employees and under $15 million in total annual sales. SMEs fuel economic growth in both developed and less-developed countries and thus form the backbone of the world economy.  In the United States, SMEs have created two-thirds of all new jobs and account for 44 percent of the GDP.  SMEs are also a critical source of innovation, producing 16 times more new patents per employee than larger companies. SMEs were hit hardest by the global COVID-19 pandemic, so WIPO’s Global Awards provide a means to highlight impactful work being done by such important contributors to the global economy. In coming years, WIPO is looking to expand the Awards to reward efforts by youth and women-led enterprises.

Winners of the inaugural Global Awards were unveiled on July 19, 2022, at an awards ceremony held at WIPO’s headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. Finalists were selected from 272 submissions from 62 different countries. Each submission was evaluated on a number of factors, including evidence of successful commercialization of IP rights and a demonstration that the finalist has made a positive impact on society at a regional and/or international level.

The 2022 Global Award finalists represented a variety of technologies from all over the world. The five winners are as follows:

Hydraloop (Netherlands) – designs and produces decentralized, consumer-friendly, compact and scalable greywater recycling products for residential and commercial real estate that can reduce water consumption by up to 45%.

Lucence (Singapore/Palo Alto, CA) – a precision oncology company developing ultrasensitive liquid biopsy tests to enable early detection and effective treatment, bringing clarity to cancer care.

RAYCAN Technology Co. Ltd. (China) – develops and produces radiation detection and imaging equipment using digital sampling technology.

SHYLON (China) – an architectural and outdoor lighting company developing LED and laser projection technology.

Splink, Inc. (Japan) – developing AI software to help individuals – both sick and healthy – by assisting medical doctors with diagnosis of early dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases.

Each Global Award winner received a trophy, extensive promotion, and increased visibility through WIPO, and support and sponsorship from WIPO to facilitate access to funding and business growth opportunities, including a personalized mentorship program designed to expand the enterprise’s business and commercial capacity. WIPO hopes that extending recognition to such deserving enterprises will highlight the continued importance of IP rights to innovation and global economic development.

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