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WIPO Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) for Energy

As part of the WIPO ADR Services for Specific Sectors, the WIPO Center provides dispute resolution advice and case administration services to help parties resolve disputes arising in the area of energy, without the need for court litigation.

Energy Disputes

Intellectual property (IP) and commercial disputes can affect energy innovation and commercialization. Disputes may occur in all energy sectors including biomass, coal, energy efficiency (e.g. construction, transport), gas, geothermal power, hydropower, nuclear, oil, solar energy, wind energy and may touch upon research, testing, certification, generation, conversion, manufacturing, distribution or consumption activities. IP disputes may relate to patented technologies, know-how, design rights, software, e.g. for computer programs or publications, or trademarks.

While the development of new energy technologies is rapid, the value of IP assets is long lasting. A considered choice of dispute prevention and resolution mechanisms is key to securing such value in research, licensing and other business transactions and to maintain business partnerships.

As time- and cost-efficient alternatives to court litigation, alternative dispute resolution (ADR) mechanisms such as mediation or arbitration help parties to enforce and defend their IP assets and to adopt practical and satisfactory solutions. ADR allows parties to choose a mediator, arbitrator or expert with legal and technical expertise familiar with the respective energy sector, IP and dispute resolution. It provides a neutral forum in which disputes can be resolved through a single procedure. Moreover, ADR may be designed in a way so as to allow for efficient enforcement of the outcome.

Selected Areas of Dispute

  • applied materials
  • biomass technologies
  • breach of confidentiality obligations
  • coal technologies
  • commercial contracts
  • conventional power technologies
  • copyright
  • design
  • energy efficiency (e.g., construction, transport)
  • gas technologies
  • geothermal technologies
  • hydropower technologies
  • infrastructure
  • IP/technology licensing
  • IP valuation
  • know-how/trade secrets
  • mergers and acquisitions
  • modeling and analysis tools
  • nuclear technologies
  • ocean technologies
  • oil technologies
  • power plants
  • research and development
  • software
  • solar technologies
  • storage technologies
  • technologies for meteorological and oceanographic information
  • utility restructuring
  • wind technologies

Potential Stakeholders to Dispute

  • associations
  • companies
  • energy producers
  • energy distributors
  • finance institutions
  • insurance companies
  • inventors
  • joint ventures
  • manufacturers
  • research institutes
  • scientists
  • service providers
  • states
  • technology transfer offices
  • universities
  • wind farm operators

WIPO ADR Services for Energy

  • Administration of Energy Disputes

The WIPO Mediation, (Expedited) Arbitration and Expert Determination Rules are well suited for energy disputes.

The WIPO Rules are flexible and can also be applied in disputes that are not limited to intellectual property. In its role as administering institution, the WIPO Center maintains strict neutrality and independence.

Examples of WIPO mediations and arbitrations in this area include a patent mediation between a university based in the United Kingdom and a technology spin-out company from the university about contractual obligations under a license agreement on technology relevant for detecting offshore oil and gas.

Another case involved three Europe- and US-based companies and an inventor active in developing and exploiting technologies in the gas sector. The parties submitted a dispute about the fulfillment of contractual obligations to WIPO arbitration, as provided for in their relevant license agreements.

WIPO Neutrals

Effective proceedings to a large extent depend on the quality of the mediator, arbitrator or expert. The WIPO Center maintains an open-ended Panel, including mediators, arbitrators and experts from around the world with expertise in energy disputes. They can be appointed by parties in cases under WIPO Rules but parties are also free to select mediators, arbitrators or experts from outside the WIPO Panel.

  • Procedural Guidance and Training

The WIPO Center makes available recommended contract clauses and submission agreements that parties can use to submit their disputes to ADR.

Upon request, the WIPO Center provides procedural guidance to interested parties and organizations in the energy sector. This includes advice on the drafting and adaptation of ADR clauses in contracts and submission agreements, as well as helping to bring opposing parties to ADR.

The WIPO Center also organizes training and workshops on mediation, arbitration and related topics.

  • Establishment of Adapted ADR Frameworks

Where appropriate in light of the needs of the relevant stakeholders, the WIPO Center provides guidance in the establishment of adapted ADR frameworks, including Rules, fees and clauses, and provides administrative services thereunder.

Collaboration with Concerned Stakeholders and Entities

To optimize dispute resolution in the energy sector, the WIPO Center collaborates with relevant stakeholders and organizations. This may include organization of joint events and training, and establishment of adapted ADR frameworks and involves for example the following:

  • Licensing Executives Society International (LESI) - Chemicals, Energy, Environment and Materials Committee
  • The DESCA (Development of a Simplified Consortium Agreement for the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7)) model consortium agreement which recommends WIPO Mediation Followed, in the Absence of a Settlement, by WIPO Expedited Arbitration.
  • The WIPO Center offers a 25% reduction on its fees under the WIPO Rules to users of the DESCA model consortium agreement.

Collaboration with Other WIPO Divisions

In the energy sector, the WIPO Center collaborates in particular with WIPO’s Global Challenges Division.

Selected Resources


Arbitration and Mediation Center
Arbitration and Mediation Center
34, chemin des Colombettes
P.O. Box 18
1211 Geneva 20
T +4122 338 8247 or 0800 888 549
F +4122 740 3700 or 0800 888 550
Maxwell Chambers
28 Maxwell Road #02-14
Singapore 069120

T +65 6225 2129
F +65 6225 3568

General queries: arbiter.mail@wipo.int