First IP Researchers Europe Conference at WIPO

June 29, 2018

WIPO, the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the University of Geneva (UNIGE) launched the first IP Researchers Europe Conference (IPRE) at WIPO on Friday, June 29. WIPO Director General Francis Gurry gave the first keynote speech of the event on the global IP system. The IPRE Conference was organized jointly by WIPO, WTO and UNIGE, and coincided with the 15th edition of the annual WIPO-WTO Colloquium for Intellectual Property (IP) Teachers and the eighth edition of the WIPO-University of Geneva Summer School.

WIPO Director General Francis Gurry (photo: WIPO/Berrod).

In his keynote speech, the Director General of WIPO highlighted:

  • the evolution of IP policy in the modern era and at the international level;
  • the rise of technological advancements such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and knowledge intensive industries;
  • issues regarding data protection and ownership; and
  • international cooperation beyond treaties.
WTO Director General Roberto Azevêdo (photo: WIPO/Berrod).

A closing keynote speech was given by the Director General of WTO, Mr. Roberto Azevêdo, which focused on:

  • the linkages between IP, trade and public policy;
  • the TRIPS public health amendment and its implementation;
  • the role of the IP system in helping to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals; and
  • the vital role of researchers in illuminating the IP law and policy landscape.

Close to 200 IP experts, professors and students took part in the conference.

photo: WIPO/Berrod

The IPRE Conference was opened and closed by Mr. Antony Taubman, Director of the Intellectual Property, Government Procurement and Competition Division at WTO, Mr. Sherif Saadallah, Executive Director of the WIPO Academy, Professor Jacques de Werra, the Vice Rector of UNIGE, and Professor Irene Calboli, Texas A&M University School of Law.

From left to right: Antony Taubman (Director of the Intellectual Property, Government Procurement and Competition Division, WTO), Professor Jacques de Werra (Vice Rector, UNIGE), Professor Irene Calboli (Texas A&M University School of Law) and Mr. Sherif Saadallah (Executive Director, WIPO Academy) (photo: WIPO/Berrod).


The IPRE aims to promote research and dialogue on IP, and to give researchers an opportunity to discuss their works-in-progress with fellow IP experts. It follows on from the success of WIPO’s support to similar events in Asia and Africa: the IP Scholars Asia Conference, which has been held in recent years at Singapore Management University, and the IP Researchers Africa Conference, which was held this year for the first time in cooperation with the University of South Africa. Next year similar regional events will be held for Latin America in partnership with San Andres University, Argentina, and for Asia in partnership with the International Islamic University of Malaysia.  

Given the long-standing relationship that both WIPO and the WTO enjoy with the University of Geneva, and the unique role that Geneva has as the host city for the international IP community, it was natural that the IPRE would be organized in partnership with these institutions and hosted at WIPO.  The focus of the IPRE is European-based research of international interest, which complements the annual WIPO-WTO Colloquium’s activities.

The WIPO-WTO Colloquium builds IP capacity for teachers by providing updates on the current developments and ongoing debates in IP across WIPO and the WTO. Participants of the Colloquium benefitted from the IPRE by getting an overview of the research in the field of IP in Europe and joining a research community to share perspectives regarding IP teaching.

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