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WIPO Webinar for Judges on September 30, 2021: Protection of Works of Applied Art in Copyright

September 14, 2021

Despite their special economic relevance, the treatment of works of applied art remains one of the major gaps in the intellectual property rights protection framework, in sharp contrast with other types of work, where international, regional and national consensus is more apparent.  

The different possible forms of protection range from those based on the purely artistic elements of copyright, through those for industrial designs, to those that consider the distinguishing function (trademarks), the industrial application (patents and utility models) and certain commercial behavior (unfair competition).

With regard to the protection of copyright, the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works includes works of applied art in the list of creations that must be protected, but leaves national legislators to draw the uncertain line between beauty and utility and between the artistic and industrial spheres.

Together with the Court of Justice of the Andean Community (Tribunal de Justicia de la Comunidad Andina) (TJCA), we invite you to participate in a discussion focusing on the Court’s recent preliminary ruling No. 317-IP-2019, on works of applied art as the object of copyright protection (available in the WIPO Lex-Judgments database at

Dr. Hugo R. Gómez Apac, Judge of the TJCA, will introduce this ruling and offer an additional perspective on the inherent tensions that exist between competition policies and the protection of intellectual property. Judge Gómez will be joined by Dr. Carolina Romero Romero, former Director General of the Colombian National Directorate of Copyright (Dirección Nacional de Derechos de Autor) (DNDA), where the case originated before being referred to the TJCA for a preliminary ruling with respect to the applicable Andean Community law. Dr. Rafael Fuentes Devesa, Judge of the Provincial High Court of Murcia (Audiencia Provincial de Murcia) in Spain, will share an additional perspective on the questions raised.

Hugo R. Gómez Apac
Judge, Court of Justice of the Andean Community
Carolina Romero Romero
Former Director General, National Directorate of Copyright, Colombia
Rafael Fuentes Devesa
Judge, Provincial High Court of Murcia, Spain

The webinar will be held on September 30, 2021 at 10 a.m. – 11 a.m. Quito time / 5 p.m. – 6 p.m. Geneva time, in Spanish with simultaneous interpretation into English and French. Participation is open only to judges and members of quasi-judicial bodies that are active in adjudicating intellectual property disputes.

For any questions, please contact the WIPO Judicial Institute.