Inter-Regional Forum on Development and Service-Oriented IP Administration Concludes

Geneva, July 3, 2008

A two-day Inter-Regional Forum on Development and Service-Oriented Intellectual Property (IP) Administration, organized by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) on July 1 and 2, 2008, held intensive discussions on the intellectual property (IP)-related institutional and policy challenges, opportunities and reforms in the context of overall national development strategies with a view to making a positive and tangible contribution to social, cultural and economic development.  The Forum was the first of its kind to take an in-depth look at the needs and expectations of IP administrations of all countries.
The Forum covered ten broad themes of vital interest to IP administrations to meet the challenges and seize the emerging opportunities in the field of IP and in making such administrations more responsive to and consistent with the attainment of national development objectives.  The program is available at 
Among the core issues discussed at the Forum was the need to heighten awareness of IP and its critical role in promoting development.  Participants also discussed the importance of a development dimension in the formulation of IP policies and strategies, in line with the WIPO Development Agenda.  Information technology in IP management and the role of IP administrations in international negotiations were also addressed.  The Forum also underscored the significance of sub-regional, regional and international cooperation in meeting the institutional challenges in the creation and management of IP assets.
The Forum focused on practical measures to improve and expand the range of value-added services available to all stakeholders, including the public, to forge relations with the IP user community and to ensure that IP administrations are better able to support national development objectives.  Participants also explored new approaches to the challenges currently facing IP administrations, in terms of workload, organizational efficiency and the delivery of value-added services.  
The organization of the Forum took into account the recommendations made in the context of the WIPO Development Agenda in the area of technical assistance and capacity building. It brought together senior IP officials from developed, developing and least developed countries, as well as countries with economies in transition, sub-regional and regional organizations and representatives from a number of permanent missions in Geneva.
Opening the Forum on behalf of the Director-General of WIPO, Mr. Narendra K. Sabharwal, Deputy Director General, welcomed the broad international participation at the Forum and observed that the “Intellectual property administrations and offices have a major role to play in transforming the vast development potential of IP into concrete and tangible benefits for the countries” while emphasizing that “the mission of IP offices has become ever more crucial now, and much more complex and strategic than even a decade ago.”  He recognized that the “IP offices are now being faced with the dual challenge of not merely improving efficiency, productivity and cost-effectiveness as technical agencies, but also of assuming the role of development organizations.”  He reiterated the commitment of WIPO to strengthen cooperation with all the countries and regional organizations to assist in their efforts to effectively use IP for tangible development benefits.
WIPO member states and regional organizations gave presentations on national and global perspectives and shared valuable insights about the challenges and potential solutions to address the diverse interests of IP administrations in different countries. 
Participants welcomed the timeliness of the Forum, took note of the considerable and wide-ranging activities undertaken by WIPO and underlined their appreciation of WIPO’s support for technical assistance and capacity building activities.  Participants expressed the wish that the assistance should continue and expand in the future.  Participants unanimously agreed on usefulness and the positive impact of such deliberations in supporting the efforts of IP administrations to become increasingly development and service-oriented.
Participating in the closing session, Mr. Francis Gurry, Director General-elect, reconfirmed that WIPO would continue to support capacity building initiatives and underlined the need for WIPO to be responsive to the specific needs, expectations, policies and strategies of member states in the use of IP for development.  In this context, Mr. Gurry identified the strengthening of WIPO’s cooperation with member states and the effective implementation of the WIPO Development Agenda as areas of utmost priority.
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