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Report of the Director General to the Assemblies of WIPO – July 9 to 17, 2024

[As delivered]

Ambassador Alfredo Suescum, Chair of the WIPO General Assembly,



Heads of Delegation,

Friends and Colleagues,

Good morning and welcome to the Sixty-Fifth Series of Meetings of the Assemblies of the WIPO Member States. This is our biggest Assemblies ever, with over 1400 registered participants, 900 onsite, 500 online. I am very pleased to welcome all of you back to WIPO, including the largest contingent of Ministers in attendance.   

Allow me at the outset to offer our solidarity as a WIPO community to all those in the Caribbean and the United States that have been affected by Hurricane Beryl, including some in the IP community who have had to miss this GA because of the disruptions. We have seen the scenes of destruction left in the wake of one of the strongest hurricanes on record and we wish all affected places and communities the best as you rebuild and recover.

Video: WIPO Director General Daren Tang addresses the WIPO Assemblies.


This year instead of giving you only statistics and strategies, I want to start by sharing with you the stories of two women – Soňa Stančíková and Mariama Sarge. Sona and Mariama live thousands of kilometers apart, but are connected by one common thread – they are both using IP to create new opportunities for themselves and their communities.

Sona is from the Detva region of Slovakia, the fourth generation of a family that has preserved traditional folk clothing and art. Her region is famous for a special type of embroidery long protected as a geographical indication. But like many new generation designers, Sona is putting her own spin on traditional practices.

Last year, she joined our eleven-month Training, Mentoring and Matchmaking Program for women entrepreneurs in the Central European and Baltic States, one of 21 women from local communities in 15 countries to do so.

She received specialized training on how to use IP to protect her designs and as a tool for branding and marketing her products. With our support, she was able to register her motifs and patterns as protected designs last year, safeguarding her creations and opening doors to new markets.

Mariama Sarge is from The Gambia. A small business owner, she had little exposure to IP until hearing about a local WIPO workshop. Intrigued, she was soon one of 50 SME owners receiving comprehensive IP training and mentorship through a 6-month project, jointly delivered with local partners.

Some of the participants used the training to register trademarks. Others refined business strategies. Mariama invented a Multifunctional Solar-Powered Cart – a cleaner, greener alternative for street vendors.

With our help, she became the first female inventor to register a utility model in The Gambia. As she told us, “IP unlocks my creativity, mind and opportunities…I want to be part of the innovators of Africa”.

Sona and Mariama are not alone.

All over the globe, millions like them dream of changing the world and enriching our lives through their innovation and creativity.

Our duty is to support them, and that is why our mission is to build a balanced and effective global IP ecosystem that supports innovators and creators everywhere.


To understand the context in which today’s innovators and creators operate, we must understand the global state of IP. Here we see several big trends.

First, IP activity continues to grow steadily despite economic uncertainty, with its centers becoming more global.

Over 23 million IP applications were filed in 2022 – more than 40 every minute, and nearly three times the number of 15 years ago. 70% of these filings now come from Asia, Africa and Latin America.

We also see the same explosion of IP activity in the area of copyright. For example, recorded music revenues in Sub-Saharan Africa grew by nearly 25% last year, the fastest growth rate globally. WIPO research also finds that global film production has recovered post-pandemic, including in middle-income economies like Argentina, Brazil and the Philippines.

These trends are supporting an invisible but inevitable shift in value creation from tangible to intangible assets, which are now worth over $60 trillion, more than the value of the top global economies combined.   

Two weeks ago, WIPO released a major report showing that over the past 15 years, investments in intangible assets have grown three times faster than those in tangible assets, reaching nearly $7 trillion last year.

While advanced economies like Sweden, the US and France are the most intangible asset-intensive, growth is not limited to high-income economies. For instance, between 2011 and 2020, India recorded the fastest growth in intangible asset investment, as it moves more and more towards innovation driven development.

These findings align with WIPO’s Global Innovation Index, which uses enterprise-level data to reveal that Türkiye, Indonesia and Mexico are among the top 20 economies by intangible-asset intensity. Intangible assets are therefore transforming not just advanced economies, but also emerging and developing economies.

Second, the very patterns of innovation are also evolving and changing, with digital innovation increasingly important, and merging with industrial innovation. The line between hardware and software is blurring, and even the car, a classic symbol of the industrial age, is increasingly a software, data and entertainment center on four wheels. Almost a third of all patents filed today relates to digital technologies, and with the explosion of GenAI patents, this trend is set to continue.

This means that we can no longer afford to look at IP only in separate legal silos, but instead as a portfolio of intangible assets that are used by enterprises to grow and countries to develop. IP policy-making will have to become more coordinated and holistic, looking at IP as a horizontal instead of a vertical.

Third, all these shifts in innovation, technology and creativity are taking place in a world that is more divided geopolitically. Agreement has become difficult, and our ability to set global standards and norms has slowed down substantially. 

However, whilst consensus has become elusive, it is not extinct.

Two months ago, in May, the entire WIPO community came together as one to conclude a historic new treaty after 25 years of negotiations. This, 27th, WIPO Treaty on Intellectual Property, Genetic Resources and Associated Traditional Knowledge has sent a strong signal that even in difficult areas with high emotions and strong differences of views, it is possible for us as a global community to arrive at consensus – if we approach negotiations in the spirit of collaboration, pragmatism, transparency and inclusiveness, as was done in May. The result was not just a victory for the Indigenous Peoples and local communities, and a more inclusive IP ecosystem, but also victory for multilateralism. 

I urge Member States to continue this spirit of working as one, not only as we approach negotiations for a new Design Law Treaty in November, but as we continue the critical task of strengthening WIPO’s work around the world.


Dear Colleagues, Dear Friends,

It is now three years since we launched the Medium Term Strategic Plan (MTSP) 2022 – 2026.

The MTSP laid down a new vision for IP, where it is no longer just a technical matter of interest only to IP experts and specialists, but a powerful catalyst for jobs, investments, growth and economic development, and an enabler to address our common global challenges. With your endorsement of this strategy, we have worked hard together with you to bring this vision alive.

As is customary at these Assemblies, I wish to take this opportunity to report on the work that has been done since I last addressed you as our Members.

To do this, I will follow the 4 Pillars and Foundation of the MTSP.

Under Pillar 1, our focus is on demystifying IP so that it is understandable, relatable and visible not just to IP insiders and experts, but the world at large.

To do this, we are creating unique content that tells stories about how IP is changing lives on the ground. We have produced more than 270 videos over the past 12 months, including features on leather-bag branding in Bangladesh, women artisans in rural Spain and an incense-burning invention in Oman.

These efforts are bringing our work to new audiences the world over. This includes on social media, where our followers grew by over 30 percent last year to cross the half a million mark. New platforms like Instagram and TikTok have been especially effective in reaching out to  younger audiences. 

Our revamp of the way we communicate extends to our website, which has been recently ranked as the world’s most accessible IP office website by the World Trademark Review.  The World IP Day campaign also grows from strength to strength. This year’s theme was IP and the SDGs, under which over 300 events took place worldwide, generating almost 60 million digital impressions, up nearly 50% on 2023, and producing real, global engagement on a vital issue at a critical time. I am pleased to announce that next year’s theme for World IP Day will be IP and Music, a matter close to my heart and many of you as well.

We are also seeing a transformation of the way IP offices communicate with their audiences, and we hope that more of you will do so as it is vital that we are able to show the world what we do, counter untrue and false narratives about IP, and be confident, as an IP community, that IP can make a positive difference to the world.


Pillar 2 moves away from external communications to WIPO’s role as the global forum for discussing and setting IP standards and norms, as well as engagement on cutting edge IP topics.

After our successful Diplomatic Conference in May, all eyes have turned to the Diplomatic Conference on the Design Law Treaty in Riyadh this November. Preparations for this have begun in earnest, and we have been working closely with the hosts, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, to put in place the right, and best, logistical, administrative and negotiating arrangements for a successful Conference.

Beyond these once in a generation Diplomatic Conferences, hard work continues to take place in our many Committees and Working Groups. These support the exchange of best practices and the resolution of technical issues and standards that may not grab headlines but help oil the engines of the IP office. The Committee on Development and IP continues to be an incubator of many interesting programs at WIPO, supporting the continued mainstreaming of the Development Agenda in WIPO’s work.

In parallel to these more formal and established forums, WIPO seeks to be the place where cutting-edge IP issues are discussed.

Our conversations on IP and Frontier Technologies are thriving, with a total of 9000 participants thus far. These rich conversations have allowed us to create an AI Policy Toolkit for IP offices and regulators, as well as a practical guide on Generative AI and IP for enterprises.

We also organized our 2nd Global Conversation on IP backed financing, on the important topic of IP valuation, collateralization and financing, gathering the innovation and finance communities – who do not often sit together, but need to come together – to discuss the use of IP as a financial asset. Again, this Conversation is being accompanied by various other work, such as numerous case studies, the creation of an expert group on IP valuation and the piloting of IP valuation training in ASEAN.

A new workstream around the future of IP has also been started to apply the disciplines of futures and scenario planning to WIPO’s work. Our first initiative in this area is WIPO Pulse, a global survey of what ordinary people think about IP and how these will change over time. Other initiatives will be announced in due course. 

This Pillar also includes our work in building respect for IP, which is fundamental to any healthy innovation ecosystem.

WIPO Alert – our global database of copyright-infringing websites – has grown to contain over 8,000 ‘live’ sites, and will now include a new module called WIPO Alert Pay, that will target the funding of online pirates. We are also moving towards CRIS, a Customs Recordation and Information System for Member States. Overall, there has been greater interest from developing countries for training on IP enforcement matters, and so we are stepping up such training for judges, prosecutors, regulators and professionals.

Partnerships are also increasingly important as WIPO looks to scale up our work and find impact.

Our work with NGOs like MPP, FICPI, IFLA, INTA, LESI, AUTM and ASIPI – just to name a few – have delivered a range of projects to different stakeholders, bringing their specialized knowledge and expertise to our work, and allowing us to engage with stakeholders that would otherwise not be in contact with WIPO.

With regional IGOs, work is stepping up with partners including ASEAN, the OECS and the Pacific Forum. One milestone project is AfricDeezayn, a new mobile app to raise awareness of design protection across West Africa, with ECOWAS as our key partner for this project.  

Beyond region platforms, our work across UN agencies also continues to strengthen. Our trilateral cooperation with the World Health Organization and World Trade Organization returns to its broader roots, with recent symposiums on climate change and human health, as well as IP, Competition Law, and Policy. We continue to work with ITC and UNCTAD to support women and young entrepreneurs, with ITU on harnessing AI and tech for good, and have just signed a cooperation agreement with the UN Office on Drugs and Crime on IP enforcement. 

I am also pleased to share that we are increasingly plugged into the larger UN processes like the Global Digital Compact and our Common Agenda. Our work there is to help use IP to harness the power of innovation, creativity and technology to put the SDGs back on track and build a better future for all. As a result, we are seeing an increase in collaborative work with UN bodies like the ECOSOC and with other UN agencies like ITU at events like the Summit of the Future and the COP process. 

Our belief is that partnerships are critical for success and scaling, and we will continue pursuing these avenues for collaborative work.


Pillar 3 relates to IP services and data. As the only UN agency that provides services directly to enterprises, it is critical that our global IP registries are efficiently run, and bring value to our users. Our Customer Experience Transformation Program seeks to put the customer at the center of these services and is progressing well, meeting the evolving needs of our diverse user base. Over the 2022-23 biennium, our customer satisfaction index was a strong 85%.

To maintain this, we continue to invest in our systems and technology. New steps include the launch of WIPO Universal Search, which makes navigation of our website and global databases more efficient, as well as efforts to modernize the external-facing functions of the Hague Registry and further enhancements to our e-filing systems.

Our fastest growing service is the Arbitration and Mediation Center. In 2023, the AMC handled nearly 700 innovation and technology disputes, an increase of 24%, with mediation and domain name disputes showing very strong growth. To help meet new needs, tailored services have been introduced for fast-growing industries like video games, eSports, and green technology.

As well as strengthening our own services, we continue supporting national IP offices to enhance their systems and infrastructure, as well as to digitize. Over 90 IPOs use WIPO’s IP Office Systems, and last year Botswana became the first IP office in Africa to be fully digitalized through WIPO’s model office project.

WIPO is also a global repository of IP data and information, which we are using to gain insights into the innovation ecosystem. We are proud to be one of the leading sources of research on IP and innovation trends, with recent highlights including a new World IP Report on innovation and development, and an economics paper on AI and IP. Our patent analytics work, that uses patent and other data to gain technology insights is also picking up, with Patent Landscape Reports on IP and the SDGs, as well as on GenAI this year.

Of course, our flagship publication remains the Global Innovation Index, which measures the innovation performance of over 130 Members, and is increasingly the benchmark innovation metric for countries, policy-makers, researchers and other stakeholders. The latest edition of the GII will be launched in late September this year.   

This Pillar also covers non fee paying “services” like WIPO Green. With a global database of nearly 130,000 technologies from over 140 countries, WIPO Green is the UN’s largest green tech platform, recognized as a game-changing digital solution at the UN SDG Summit last year. Increasingly, we are focusing on the challenging task of deploying green technologies on the ground through new acceleration projects, IP Management clinics and two editions of the Green Technology Book.



To ensure IP changes lives and accompanies people on their journeys, we must make what is intangible more tangible, what is technical understandable and what is abstract impactful.

This is the work of Pillar 4, where we focus on the critical task of making sure that IP is able to drive growth and development around the world. Our work in this area has undergone major transformations through our relentless search for impact.

One example is the work of the WIPO Academy, which has trained close to 500,000 persons in the last 4 years, becoming the world’s biggest center for IP education, training, and skills-building.

Since the launch of the MTSP, we have reimagined our course portfolio, going beyond the transfer of technical IP knowledge, to also include the building of practical IP skills.

During these Assemblies we will launch a new IP EdTech service, designed to further tailor the Academy’s IP eLearning courses to national economies and audiences. In all, the Academy benefited 230,000 people over the biennium, 70% of whom were under 35 and over 80% from developing countries.

Beyond general skills training, specialized instruction and support proceeds apace. A further 8 IP Training Institutes were established last year, taking our global IPTI network to 19. And we intend to grow this to 35 in time to come.

Specialized support for specific stakeholders is also being delivered by other units, like the WIPO Judicial Institute, which has expanded its training for IP judges from around the world, developed a growing database of caselaw in WIPO Lex, and hosting an annual meeting of IP judges.

Demand also remains constant for our traditional support in legislative and policy assistance where we have advised 36 countries in the past year, and in the development of 25 national IP and innovation strategies around the world. 

Alongside these established formats, we are innovating our development assistance through new packages and proposals.  

On packages, we continue to redesign our workstreams to address the needs of Members at different stages of development. These include WIPO Deliverables for LDCs and WIPO Graduation Support Packages, currently operating in Angola, Laos and Sao Tomé and Principe. We also have a new stream of support for Small Island Developing States and Landlocked Least Developing Countries.

As for projects, we continue to transform our approach to development assistance. Where previously, WIPO may have held a one-off seminar or workshop, we now deliver intensive training and mentorship programs held over months, that bring IP closer to the grassroots and accompany innovators and creators on their journeys. With 82 of these projects either completed or in action, let me share a few achievements from the past year.

First, nearly 4,000 women entrepreneurs benefited from WIPO projects in 2023. Much of this work focuses on specific sectors or communities. For example, our project for Women SMEs in Agribusiness supported 30 SMEs from 25 African countries, whilst our project for indigenous and local community entrepreneurs has now reached over 100 women in more than 60 countries.

Good progress is also being made with IP GAP, our gender action plan. We now have a network of over 70 IPOs addressing IP and gender issues, resulting in a new database of some 200 gender-based policies and initiatives from around the world. In 2023, over 100,000 women enrolled in WIPO Academy programs.

Second, we have just launched IP-YES!, WIPO’s first Youth Empowerment Strategy. The aim of IP YES! is to provide a clear and coherent framework that sparks passion, builds skills, and equips younger generations, in all parts of the world, with knowledge, awareness and opportunities.

Let me give an example of the type of work we want to prioritize. In Tunisia, we are collaborating with the Ministry of Youth to train local leaders in IP education so that they have the skills, and the confidence, to foster a culture of innovation and creativity, transforming youth centers into innovation centers as well.

In all, more than 150,000 youth have benefited from WIPO Academy training in the past two years. Alongside this, through our IP4Youth&Teachers service we have also equipped 2,000 educators with the knowledge to deliver IP-focused lessons. IP YES! will further enhance these efforts worldwide.

Third, SMEs in over 80 countries are benefiting from WIPO projects and initiatives. This includes a record number of IP Management Clinics, with over 20 to be delivered in 30 countries this year.

In Nigeria, our new IP Labs project, is the country’s first IP-based accelerator program for startups. During the first phase, we mentored 56 businesses, with 21 now receiving further support through a local IP management clinic.

Beyond training, we provide tools to SMEs everywhere. Our no-cost IP Diagnostics toolkit  has been used nearly 40,000 times, with 20 different versions adapted for local needs, including a customized tool for OAPI and Indian adaptations in Hindi, Bengali, Urdu and Tamil.

Fourth, our support for R&D commercialization and universities continues to pick up pace. Our global network of Technology Innovation Support Centers or TISCs, have grown to nearly 1600 in over 90 countries, dealing with almost 2 million requests last year. We have also supported 600 universities in developing their IP policies, with WIPO providing direct training to staff from universities and research institutes in countries like Senegal and Zimbabwe. Earlier this year we help to build and connect tech transfer networks in the Baltic states.  

Fifth is our work in support of communities and traditional products. We are mentoring 100 traditional silk and carpet enterprises in Laos and Bangladesh, and we have begun a new phase in our project for traditional medicine practitioners, extending it from the pilot in Ethiopia to a further 9 African countries.

Projects in support of local heritage are also being implemented in the likes of Chile, Georgia, Ghana, Kazakhstan and Tonga. And just last week, we celebrated the registration of Madd de Casamance as Senegal’s first Geographical Indication.

And, sixth, for creators and the creative economy, we have launched CLIP, our free, online platform to help musicians understand IP, data and technology to earn a living.  Last week, the extensive content on CLIP became available in all 6 UN languages and is attracting nearly 30,000 users a month.

We are also stepping up our work in helping Members States understand and measure their creative economy, with a pilot project now underway in the Philippines. An additional 16 collective management organizations, including 9  LDCs, have also adopted WIPO Connect as their IT solution for managing copyright and related rights.I can further report that the Global Book Service, run by our Accessible Books Consortium, now has over 1 million titles available for cross-border exchange through the Marrakesh Treaty. These books make a huge difference to people who are blind and visually-impaired around the world, with Marrakesh a powerful engine of equal opportunities.


Underpinning these efforts is our overall foundation, the financial and organizational health of WIPO. At the Program and Budget Committee last month, we reported that 73% of targets were fully achieved over the biennium, with revenue of 972.2 million CHF and a surplus of 121.5 million CHF. We will continue to use a Results-Based Management system which ensures that resources are utilized in line with organizational results and priorities, and we will continue focus on efficiency and prudent financial management so that WIPO remains financially healthy.

In terms of IP filings, like many IP offices, economic uncertainties, together with high interest rates, led to a dampening of business sentiment and a slight dip in IP filings in both the PCT and Madrid last year, down 1.8% and 7% respectively.  Although Hague filings grew by 1%.

Although we are confident that these downturns are temporary and that growth will return in the second half of the year, we are monitoring the situation closely and Member States can be assured that we will act proactively to address the situation.

Our efforts to transform the global IP ecosystem are not possible without also transforming our work culture. We are committed to building a dynamic, proactive, open and transparent working environment, taking governance seriously, and also creating a more gender and geographically diverse workforce.


All the work above is just a snapshot of what we are fully doing, but as you can see, it is already of incredible depth and breadth. I want to take this opportunity to thank my DDGs and ADGs, as well as my many colleagues across the whole of WIPO, who are working hard and with passion to deliver all these results to you, and to express our collective gratitude to you as Members for your guidance, direction, partnership and support in our work.


Dear colleagues, Dear friends

In conclusion, the work of transforming the global IP ecosystem is beginning to show results, not just in shaping new global IP standards and gaining attention of political and community leaders, but also in reaching deeper to the ground, and touching the lives of more people than ever.

But this work is far from finished. For every Sona and Mariama who we have been able to help, there are millions of others out there who are still unable to bring their ideas to the market, and are hungry to use the power of IP to change their lives and the world.

So let us continue as one WIPO community to put in place the right practices, norms, standards, policies and projects so that we can, together, make IP part of the journey of every innovator and creator, and make IP a catalyst for growth and development in every part of the world.

Once again, I thank you for your support, guidance and direction as Members for our work, I pledge the full support of my colleagues as the Secretariat for the discussions ahead and wish you the very best for a fruitful and successful 65th Assemblies.

Thank you.


Reference materials

  • Annual Financial Report and Financial Statements PDF, Annual Financial Report and Financial Statements
  • WIPO Performance Report 2022/23 PDF, WIPO Performance Report 2022
  • Program of Work and Budget for 2024-25 PDF, Program of Work and Budget for 2024-25