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      DATE: August 4, 1999




Thirty-Fourth Series of Meetings
Geneva, September 20 to 29, 1999


Memorandum of the Director General

2. The main objectives of WIPO, as expressed in the Medium Term Plan 1996-1999, remained constant in the past: "maintenance and further development of the respect of intellectual property throughout the world. It means that any erosion of the existing protection should be prevented," and "that both, the acquisition of the protection and, once acquired, its enforcement, should be simpler, cheaper and more secure."

3. The mandate of WIPO as expressed by the Contracting Parties in 1967, "desiring, in order to encourage creative activity, to promote the protection of intellectual property throughout the world," placed WIPO as the specialized organization responsible to adopt appropriate measures to promote the creative activity.

4. The impact of the twin market and technological revolution on the relevance of intellectual property, on the very nature of the intellectual property system and on virtually every element of WIPO's activities and operations, represents for WIPO the biggest challenge since its establishment.

5. According to the trends in wealth creation, the most dynamic economic sectors are those related to intensive knowledge activities, intensive intellectual property activities. These trends are important not only with regard to the future of the protection of intellectual property as strategic macro and micro-economic tool, but also with respect to the nature and type of investment that will need to be enhanced in the near future in order to underpin national development and make intellectual property relevant to the people.

6. Hand in hand with technological development, intellectual property has become a global issue, because of its increasing relevance to key and critical policy fields such as food security, health, labor, trade, culture and heritage, environment, investment and scientific and technological transformation; particularly as we move into the knowledge-based economy, in which a nation's well-being will depend more and more on its access to and use of the intellectual property system to generate wealth and social good.

7. Given its increasing global relevance, the intellectual property system cannot continue to evolve as an issue limited in scope and focused mainly on maintaining and developing intellectual property rights protection. The more intellectual property becomes central to economic growth and wealth creation, the greater will be the challenge of developing the international intellectual property system in a way that it be instrumental to social and economic development. In addition, while stressing the economic benefits of intellectual property creations, it becomes most necessary to also attribute a rightful place to the less economically tangible but equally important cultural aspects, namely the artistic and intellectual pleasure that such creations bring, enriching our daily life and lasting cultures.

8. In facing the challenge of change, a new vision and a strategy are necessary that entail flexibility and dynamism, within which framework WIPO's global activities are oriented to develop the intellectual property system in its dual dimension: protection of intellectual property rights and promotion of creative activity.

9. A global strategy for the development of the intellectual property system started with the deep transformation of the Organization, initiated with the approval by the Member States of the Program and Budget 1998-1999. However, transformation is not an event but a process in which WIPO will need to continue being equipped with the necessary structure, resources and legal framework to accomplish its mission.

10. The Assemblies and other Bodies concerned of the Member States of WIPO are invited to take note and to comment on the contents of this Memorandum and its Annex.

[Annex follows]

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