Member States Close Assemblies Meetings with Agreement to Expand External Network by Opening Two New WIPO Offices in Africa

Geneva, October 11, 2016
PR/2016/797

Member states agreed to expand a network of overseas offices that promote WIPO services and cooperation around the world, ending the 2016 Assemblies meetings by approving new external offices in Algeria and Nigeria while agreeing to continue discussions on the opening four other offices by the end of 2019.

Member states also took note of a report by the Chair of the Coordination Committee, the governing body responsible for staff matters, to end their discussions on the UN’s Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) investigation into allegations against the Director General.  They also approved recommendations made by the Coordination Committee related to reviewing and strengthening internal procedures relating to procurement, internal oversight, and whistle-blower protections.

Convening its inaugural session, the Marrakesh Assembly met to discuss implementation of the “books for blind” Marrakesh Treaty that came into effect on September 30, 2016. Botswana, Sri Lanka and Liberia joined the treaty during the Assemblies meetings, bringing its membership to 25.  The Assembly was chaired by Brazil’s Minister of Culture Marcelo Calero.

“I congratulate and thank member states for their engagement and decisions that will help WIPO increase its activities worldwide as intellectual property plays an increasingly important role in the global economy,” said WIPO Director General Francis Gurry.

Closing the session, the Chair of the General Assembly, Ambassador Jānis Kārkliņš, who is also the Permanent Representative of Latvia to the United Nations and other International Organizations in Geneva, also thanked delegates for their engagement and hard work and welcomed the positive results achieved during the session.

Among the results achieved, delegates in the respective Assemblies (following agenda order):

Took note of the report by the WIPO Independent Advisory Oversight Committee (IAOC);

Adopted a revised internal oversight charter, which clarifies and codifies decision-making processes, as well as the roles for the Chairs of the General Assembly and Coordination Committee and the IAOC, with respect to the handling of misconduct allegations concerning staff at the Director General, Deputy and Assistant Director General levels;

Took note of the “Annual Report by the Acting Director of the Internal Oversight Division (IOD)”;

Endorsed the appointment of the new Director of IOD, Mr. Rajesh Singh;

Took note of WIPO’s positive financial results and the unqualified audit report for 2015, the program performance report and the financial management report for the biennium 2014-15, the Director General’s proposed Medium Term Strategic Plan and agreed on the opening of external offices in Algeria and Nigeria. These offices will join a network that includes WIPO offices in Brazil, China, Japan, Russia and Singapore;

Took note of the report of the Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) and directed it to continue work on protection of broadcasting organizations, limitations and exceptions for libraries and archives, and limitations and exceptions for educational and research institutions and persons with other disabilities;

Took note of the report of the Standing Committee on the Law of Patents (SCP) during the biennium to date and also took note of the future work that will take place at the next session in December;

Took note of the report of the Standing Committee on the Law of Trademarks, Industrial Designs and Geographical Indications (SCT);

Decided that the 2017 General Assembly will continue to consider the convening of a diplomatic conference for the adoption of a design law treaty to develop simplified standards for industrial design registration procedures to take place at the end of the first half of 2018;

Took note of the report of the Committee on Development and Intellectual Property (CDIP) and Review of the Implementation of the Development Agenda Recommendations;

Took note of a report on the work so far in 2016 of the WIPO Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore (the IGC);

Took note of the report of the Committee on WIPO Standards, including the adoption of two new standards: For the presentation of the electronic data of nucleotide and amino acid sequence listing as an integral part of a patent application; and concerning technical requirements for an electronic management of a sound mark for trademark registration;

Took note of the report of the Advisory Committee on Enforcement (ACE), which serves as a forum for member states to exchange experiences on IP enforcement and building respect for IP;

Appointed the Turkish Patent Institute as an International Searching and Preliminary Examining Authority under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT);

Adopted a set of amendments to the PCT Regulations to provide more flexibility for applicants to request a supplementary international search and also to clarify and simplify certain provisions;

Took a decision that will result in the sole application of the Madrid Protocol of 1989 as the legal basis for the Madrid System, considerably simplifying the Madrid system by applying the same set of rules to all users who, in addition, will benefit from increased flexibilities introduced by the Madrid Protocol to file applications and manage registrations;

Adopted amendments to the Hague Common Regulations ensuring that, in line with its continued expansion and growing reliance on electronic communications, the Hague System remained efficient and effective;

Agreed that Lisbon Union members would make subventions for the Lisbon System in the current biennium to eliminate the projected biennial deficit of the Union, with commitments totaling more than CHF 1 million.  Lisbon Union members also decided to emphasize promotional activities for the Lisbon System and to continue considering proposals for achieving its long-term financial sustainability, including the establishment of a contribution system and monitoring of the fee schedule;

Noted developments in the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center’s provision of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) services, including assistance requested by certain intellectual property offices in offering ADR options for stakeholders, as well as increased demand for WIPO domain name dispute resolution;

Adopted rules of procedure for the Marrakesh Assembly and took note of the information reported by the Secretariat on the status of the Marrakesh Treaty;

Endorsed the Annual Report on Human Resources and noted the implementation of regulatory, policy and contractual reforms as well as progress on the Organization’s Human Resources Strategy;

Noted the Report on Geographical Distribution and expressed support for the Secretariat’s outreach efforts and other measures to promote and enhance the diversity of applicants for WIPO jobs, while agreeing that member states will hold further consultations on the issue of geographical distribution; 

Approved a number of amendments to the Staff Regulations and Rules, largely concerning implementation of changes to the compensation package for staff in the Professional and higher categories following the approval of these adjustments by the United Nations General Assembly in December 2015, and requested the Secretariat to develop a comprehensive staff mobility policy for review in 2017.

WIPO member states and other stakeholders organized a series of events during the WIPO Assemblies meetings, including those by Algeria, Brazil, Hungary, Israel, Slovakia, South Africa, Turkey and others.

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