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

Director General Gurry Visits Russian Federation, Meets Prime Minister and Other Senior Officials

December 4, 2019

WIPO Director General Francis Gurry met for talks with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, with each agreeing to continue the strong bilateral cooperation between Russia and WIPO.

In his December 4 meeting with Mr. Medvedev, Mr. Gurry noted Russia’s technological achievements as well as recent initiatives in the area of intellectual property (IP) protection.  Mr. Gurry expressed his thanks to the Russian Federation for its continued engagement with WIPO and support for the Organization’s activities and initiatives.

(Photo: Press Service of the Government of the Russian Federation)

Mr. Medvedev underlined his ongoing support for WIPO, saying Russia was committed to continuing its strong engagement in the Organization – as evidenced by Russia’s recent accession to a number of WIPO treaties. The Prime Minister expressed satisfaction with the network of 170 WIPO-supported Technology and Innovation Support Centers (TISCs), while welcoming the presence of a WIPO office in the Moscow-area tech hub Skolkovo Innovation Center, which Mr. Gurry visited a day earlier.

(Photo: Press Service of the Government of the Russian Federation)

Messrs. Medvedev and Gurry each agreed to continue to expand cooperation, including in the IP-related aspects of Big Data, artificial intelligence and the digital economy.

During his trip, Mr. Gurry also met with Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Vershinin, Rospatent Director General Grigory Ivliev and other senior officials for talks on a range of issues related to bilateral cooperation.

In a December 3 speech on the impact of new technologies in the digital era, Mr. Gurry underlined that streaming businesses with subscription-revenue models have increased the availability of cultural content, but have also disrupted previous sales-based models of financing cultural output.

“These new business models have enabled content to be more broadly distributed and have facilitated the rise of digital sales. But to whom are they returning value? I think this is one of the central questions that is being asked around the world now. And of course, there is the suspicion that there is an unhealthy concentration of value in the distribution function,”, Mr. Gurry said in opening a panel discussion on “IP Protection on the Internet” at the TASS Press Center in Moscow.

(Photo: TASS News Agency)

“So you have the creation of cultural works. You have the production of cultural worth. You have their distribution through the large platforms, and you have their consumption,” said Mr. Gurry, who underlined that the precise revenue-sharing breakdown remained opaque.

The fact is: We don't have sufficient empirical data to know exactly what the situation is, because the contracts between the record labels and the other producers, in music in particular, and the platforms, are not public documents. So we need more data.

WIPO Director General Francis Gurry

Mr. Gurry also spoke of the disruptive effect of digital technologies on retail sales models for physical goods, as well as the expected impact from the boom in robotics and advanced manufacturing.