Previous Page


GENEVA, APRIL 15, 1999

Upon the invitation of Dr. Kamil Idris, Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the Policy Advisory Commission of WIPO held its inaugural meeting on April 15, 1999, at WIPO headquarters in Geneva.

The list of participants is attached.

The meeting was opened by the Director General of WIPO, who welcomed the participants and thanked them for accepting his invitation to hold discussions and advise him in a free and frank manner on the future of both WIPO and international intellectual property protection.

The Policy Advisory Commission elected His Royal Highness, Prince El-Hassan Bin Talal, Jordan, as Chairman of the Policy Advisory Commission.

In his opening statement the Director General raised the fundamental question for the Commission, of how creative and inventive potential throughout the world can be released and channeled into tangible, sustainable development.

Under the broad theme of "Intellectual Property in the 21st Century: Creating a Blueprint for WIPO," five members of the Commission made presentations, as follows:

Critical Topics for Intellectual Property in the 21st Century,

by Mr. Marino Porzio;

Intellectual Property as a Tool of Development,

by Mr. Bruce Lehman;

Historical Development and the Future Evolution of the International Legal Framework for Intellectual Property Protection,

by Dr. Bojan Pretnar;

The Future Role of WIPO within the International and United Nations Communities,

by Mr. Mayer Gabay;

A Global Intellectual Property Charter,

by Mr. Hisamitsu Arai.

Following the presentations, members offered their views and perspectives in an open discussion.

Towards an Intellectual Property-Based Society

In discussing the phenomenon of globalization and the rise of the information-oriented society, the Commission recognized the increasing value of intellectual property, its centrality as a tool for economic growth and wealth creation, and its potential to serve economic and social development.

The Commission stressed that intellectual property protection can be used and developed for the benefit of all, and therefore should not be perceived as a North-South, or otherwise divisive, issue. In this connection, particular emphasis was placed on the need to depoliticize the intellectual property debate. Confrontation and tension between concepts and approaches, it was felt, should be avoided.

Stressing also the need to demystify intellectual property so that it can be clearly seen as deserving of respect and support in the same manner as other traditional forms of property, all PAC members emphasized the critical importance of implementing extensive public awareness campaigns.

It was pointed out that intellectual property protection, if widely understood, can release the genius of people and generate an increasing consensus for developing the system with a social and sustainable dimension. The need for more common knowledge of the universality of interests inherent in intellectual property protection was considered essential to reach that consensus.

In this regard, the necessity to engage and integrate all interested parties, including the private sector and civil society, was emphasized.

Depoliticizing the debate and creating awareness to demystify intellectual property protection were identified as key inter-related aspects in establishing a balance between economic and development necessities in the future of the intellectual property field.

The Globality of Intellectual Property

The Commission remarked that intellectual property issues are presently being discussed in various international fora, as well as at national, sub-regional and regional levels. It was also remarked that intellectual property is not a departmental issue. Therefore, the need to develop a broader global approach for closer cooperation and coordination at the various levels was stressed. WIPO's contribution to, and cooperation with, the World Trade Organization (WTO) was considered essential in developing such a global approach.

The need for strong leadership in coordinating efforts was stressed by members, who considered that WIPO has a central role to play in ensuring the harmonious development of the international intellectual property protection system. It was noted that WIPO, while cooperating with other organizations, should preserve its specific identity and leadership role.

Members pointed out that critical issues and challenges for the international intellectual property protection system in the next century, and WIPO's role therein, should not be seen as independent topics, but as complementary and inter-related; such an approach would encourage an effective response to the demands imposed by the global situation.

A major challenge identified by members was how to approach intellectual property matters so that the protection of inventions and other creations should not be only an end in itself, but could also serve a wider social and economic interest. Emphasis was placed on the importance of ensuring that the developing countries which have built infrastructures designed to ensure respect and protection for intellectual property rights can share in the benefits of such protection.

Among the critical issues identified as following from the current emphasis on globalization and technological changes, the following were discussed generally: digital technology; the internet; well-known marks; domain names; electronic commerce; and biotechnology.

Since technological development relates to the private sector, its importance was fully recognized. It was also noted that while inventors and creators may be designing the dynamics of the new century, it must be the duty of WIPO to design the legal global framework and to develop adequate strategies for an ever more global approach, including the consideration of a global patent.

Other particular concerns were raised on questions relating to competition law, licensing, transfer of technology and the need to improve access and exchange of information.

The enforcement of intellectual property rights was recognized as an immediate critical issue, in particular with reference to the process related to the effective implementation of the TRIPS Agreement. How to avoid or diminish any potential for conflict should be carefully considered.

The need to explore how to improve technical protection, and not only legal protection, was also raised.

It was felt that WIPO has an important global proactive role to play in respect of all these critical issues.

The Role of the World Intellectual Property Organization

It was noted that WIPO's mandate derives from a broad concept of intellectual property, and that this concept embodies not only the notion of protection but also that of promotion of innovation and artistic creativity. This was considered an important reason why, in developing the international intellectual property protection system, WIPO should ensure a sensitive approach to the needs of all countries and make every effort to mobilize both national and international machinery in order to encourage invention and creativity in developing countries.

In view of the challenges ahead, members stressed that WIPO should reinforce its mandate as well as its unity and integrity as an Organization with wide competence and universal vocation. The balance among WIPO's three major areas of activity, and within its agenda, must be assured; but at the same time, WIPO should also explore beyond traditional activities and aspects of intellectual property regimes, and look into new possibilities, including that of supporting, with the help of communication networks, information systems and sophisticated automation procedures, the replacement of old structures by corporate intellectual property offices. The creation of an International Intellectual Property Institute in Geneva was also suggested.

The initiative to prepare a Global Intellectual Property Charter or Declaration was warmly welcomed and unanimously embraced by members. A draft for a Charter or Declaration, consisting of three parts (preamble, contributions and guiding principles) was offered for consideration and was considered a good basis for further discussion and elaboration.


The Commission recommended:

· That the PAC should contribute to a shared Global Intellectual Property Charter or Declaration.

· That a Task Force of PAC members should be set up with the objective of considering and making recommendations concerning the elaboration of the proposed World Intellectual Property Charter or Declaration.

· That a study on the use of the international intellectual property protection system for economic growth and wealth creation be commissioned, for discussion within the Task Force.

· That all specific and important issues raised during the inaugural meeting be further developed in the context of the PAC Task Force.

The Chairman of the Commission offered Jordan as the host country for the next meeting of the PAC.


[List of PAC Members follows]

AMIGO CASTAÑEDA Jorge, Director General, Mexican Industrial Property Institute, Mexico

ARAI Hisamitsu, Vice-Minister for International Affairs, Ministry of International Trade and Industry, Japan

BAHADIAN Adhemar Gabriel, Ambassador, Deputy Permanent Representative of Brazil, Geneva

BANGEMANN Martin, Member of the European Commission for Industrial Affairs and Information and Telecommunications Technologies, Germany

BATCHELOR Sheila (Ms.), Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Intellectual Property Office, Canada (Member ex-officio)

BERNARD Daniel, Ambassador of France, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

ESSY Amara, State Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Côte d'Ivoire*

GABAY Mayer, First Vice President, United Nations Administrative Tribunal, Chairman, Patent and Copyright Laws Revision Committees, Ministry of Justice, Israel

GHOSE Arundhati (Ms.), Member, Union Public Service Commission, former Ambassador and Permanent Representative of India, Geneva

GYGER Walter, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Switzerland, Geneva

His Royal Highness, Prince El-HASSAN Bin Talal, Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan

HERMASSI Abdelbaki, Minister for Culture, Tunisia

HÖYNCK Wilhelm, former Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Germany in Geneva*

JENNINGS Sir Robert, former President, International Court of Justice, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

KADIRGAMAR Lakshman, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka

LEHMAN Bruce, President, International Intellectual Property Institute, former Assistant Secretary for Commerce and Commissioner of Patents and Trademarks, United States of America

LUCINSCHI, President, Republic of Moldova*

MENEM Carlos, President, Republic of Argentina*

NYERERE Julius, former President, United Republic of Tanzania

OLSSON Henry, Special Government Advisor, Ministry of Justice, Sweden and former Director of Copyright Department, WIPO

PERSAD-BISSESSAR Kamla (Mrs.), Minister for Legal Affairs, Republic of Trinidad and Tobago

PORZIO Marino, attorney, Adviser to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Chile, and former Deputy Director General, WIPO

PRETNAR Bojan, Director, Slovenian Intellectual Property Office and Permanent Representative of Slovenia to WIPO

RAMOS Fidel, former President, Philippines

SIDOROV Vasily, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation, Geneva

SOARES Mario, former President, Portugal*

SONG Jian, Vice-Chairman of the People's Political Consultative Conference of China and former State Councilor in charge of science and technology development, People's Republic of China

WEEKES John, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Canada, Geneva

* Unable to participate in the April 15, 1999 meeting

[End of Annex II and of document]

Previous PageTop Of Page