Effective proceedings to a large extent depend on the quality of the neutral. Intellectual property disputes demand not only optimal procedural skills on the part of the decision-maker, but also specialized knowledge within the areas of patents, trademarks, copyright, designs or other form of intellectual property that is the subject of the dispute.
Parties can draw upon a growing database of over 1,500 independent WIPO arbitrators, mediators and experts from 100 countries. The candidates on the WIPO List of Neutrals range from seasoned dispute resolution generalists to highly specialized practitioners and experts covering the entire legal and technical spectrum of intellectual property. Their geographical diversity suits the international character of many disputes.
The general WIPO List of Neutrals is not made available as such to the public. However, the WIPO Center does publish its specific list of WIPO Domain Name Panelists. Although the general WIPO List of Neutrals includes many more neutrals who are specialized in other areas of intellectual property, the list of WIPO Domain Name Panelists may serve to give interested parties an indication of the kind of information which is maintained by the Center in relation to the candidates included on the general WIPO List of Neutrals and which is made available to parties in the circumstances described below.
Where the WIPO Center is called upon to appoint a neutral in the context of a pending procedure under the WIPO Rules, the WIPO Center, taking into account the specific characteristics of the dispute, makes available detailed database profiles of suitable candidates. These dispute characteristics include:
- Method of resolving the dispute (i.e. arbitration, mediation, expert determination)
- Governing law
- Nationality and/or identity of the parties and their representatives
- Area of intellectual property law
- Technical or business area
- Language of the proceedings
- Venue of the proceedings
In view of the need for the neutral and the WIPO Center to preserve their impartiality and independence, the WIPO Center in principle does not make unilateral recommendations to only one party (that is, does not normally do so to one party without the other party's consent). The Center makes available detailed profiles to both parties when the "list procedure" for the selection of a sole or presiding arbitrator, a mediator or an expert is involved under the WIPO Rules.
The WIPO Center has a strong commitment to the time and cost effective conduct of cases. In its selection process as well as in the administration of the case, the WIPO Center makes every effort to ensure that its appointed neutrals share this commitment.