How intellectual property became my unlikely passion

Emma Jagot, 2018 winner of the Baker McKenzie Prize for Intellectual Property.
Emma Jagot, 2018 winner of the Baker McKenzie Prize for Intellectual Property. Photo: Tom Fearon/ANU

If you had told me when I first started by law degree at ANU that I would be advocating passionately for other students to study intellectual property, I would have been surprised.

Today is World Intellectual Property Day. To mark the occasion, final-year Bachelor of Arts/Laws (Hons) student and 2018 winner of the Baker McKenzie Prize for Intellectual Property, Emma Jagot, reveals how her study of intellectual property (IP) law has enriched her degree:

What does World Intellectual Property Day mean to you?

Many people would not know that a robust IP system enables art, creativity and technological innovation to flourish. To me, World Intellectual Property Day presents us with a unique opportunity to consider how IP impacts on our everyday lives. 

How did the study of IP law enrich your degree at ANU?

If you had told me when I first started by law degree at ANU that I would be advocating passionately for other students to study intellectual property, I would have been surprised. At the start of my degree I was primarily interested in learning about access to justice and human rights. However, while studying IP I begun to understand how IP rights shape almost every aspect of our society today. For example, when large corporations claim IP rights over information, they can become enormously profitable to the detriment of those less powerful. We have seen this time and time again in situations like the HIV/AIDS epidemic and pharmaceutical industries, Monsanto and the Hollywood film industry. Studying IP enriched my degree because it allowed me to see how processes that we may not initially think are important can fundamentally shape our human rights and the structure of our society.

What are some reasons people should take an interest in IP law, even if they aren’t studying law?

There are many reasons that people should take an interest in IP law, even if they aren’t particularly interested in the law. IP is a key factor that shapes both economic and political society. It therefore also plays an important role in shaping inequality around the world. Since IP exists to encourage technological innovation and creativity, it will play a key role in our future as we confront challenges such as climate change, food security and global health.

Updated:  10 August 2015/Responsible Officer:  College General Manager, ANU College of Law/Page Contact:  Law Marketing Team