Francis Gurry led WIPO as Director General from October 1, 2008 to September 30, 2020.

WIPO Director General Speaks at a Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry Meeting

November 14, 2018

At the invitation of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry WIPO Director General Francis Gurry presented an overview of the current intellectual property (IP) landscape and the implications of these trends on the evolution of IP.

Over 200 representatives of leading Indian businesses attended the meeting on the theme “Intellectual Property and the Fourth Industrial Revolution – Challenges and Opportunities.” It was organized as an interactive session with Mr. Gurry who responded to questions relating to the impact of the fourth industrial revolution on IP.

Video: WIPO Director General addresses FICCI

In introductory remarks, Mr. Gurry said over the course of the past twenty years, several trends have emerged, notably: demand for IP rights has vastly exceeded the performance of the world economy; the geography of IP has changed with much of the growth coming from Asia; and there has been increased complexity in IP – both in terms of the architecture and in the substance of IP.

Mr. Gurry said the latter brings us to the question of the dominance of technology as a factor in the economy. These trends, he said, are expressions of that intensification of innovation and dominance of technology in the economy.

Beyond that, he noted, science, technology and innovation policy are dominant in most countries in the world today and have become a central part of innovation strategies.

Moreover, in this new environment, the Director General said there is also a trend towards more interest in IP and intensification in the use of IP. He predicted that this increased volume will drive more application of artificial intelligence to the administration of IP.

Mr. Gurry also pointed out that the fitness of purpose of the current IP system is currently being called into question though he noted that the volume in demand for IP rights is an indicator that the IP system is by no means obsolete.

In concluding, Mr. Gurry also raised the issue of governance and the current crisis in multilateralism which has limited the capacity of the international community to agree on solutions to cross-boundary questions. He noted however that sooner or later, the international community will have to confront this fact: that this is an international environment and this is going to require attention from governance models that will require international cooperation.