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WIPO Mediation and Arbitration for SMEs

SMEs, including startups, creators and innovators, have a critical role in today’s economy and can use IP rights to build stronger, more competitive and resilient businesses. Despite the best of efforts, IP disputes unfortunately can and do arise.

IP court litigation can be costly and few SMEs have sufficient resources to use that route. Mediation and expedited arbitration are possible alternatives to IP litigation suited to SMEs. The WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center provides complimentary procedural assistance as well as mediation and arbitration services at reduced fees for SMEs.

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Stakeholders and Areas of Dispute

SMEs overall represent 50% of the parties involved in WIPO mediations and arbitrations. In the WIPO Center’s experience, mediation and expedited arbitration are particularly appropriate to resolve disputes involving SMEs.

WIPO mediations and expedited arbitrations involving SMEs relate to a wide variety of contracts, including IT, technology and licensing, commercial contracts such as distribution and franchising, IP valuation, know-how and trade secrets, joint ventures, collective management as well as non-contractual disputes such as IP infringements. Disputes can involve complex legal, commercial or management issues, and often relate to trademarks, industrial designs, copyright and related rights, patented technologies and R&D.

As party-controlled alternatives to court litigation, mediation and expedited arbitration have a number of characteristics that suit the dispute resolution needs of SMEs. These procedures allow parties to choose a mediator, arbitrator or expert with the required legal and technical expertise. They also provide a neutral forum in which disputes – sometimes involving parties from multiple jurisdictions – can be resolved in a time- and cost-effective manner through a single procedure and with efficient enforcement of the outcome.

WIPO ADR Services for SMEs

Procedural Assistance

The WIPO Center makes available recommended contract clauses and submission agreements that SMEs can use to submit their disputes to WIPO Mediation and Expedited Arbitration.

The WIPO Center provides complimentary procedural guidance to interested parties. This includes advice on the selection and adaptation of WIPO Mediation and Arbitration clauses in related contracts or of submission agreements. The WIPO Center also facilitates the submission to WIPO Mediation even in the absence of an agreement.

Administration of Disputes

The WIPO Mediation and Expedited Arbitration Rules offer a flexible procedural framework. Furthermore, the WIPO Center makes available to interested parties, at no cost, online case administration options, including an online docket and videoconferencing tools for meetings and hearings.

The WIPO Center offers parties a 25% reduction on its fees under the WIPO Rules when an SME is involved in a dispute. For this purpose, an SME is an entity engaged in an economic activity with less than 250 employees.

As administering institution, the WIPO Center maintains strict neutrality, independence and confidentiality.

Collaboration with Concerned Stakeholders and Entities

To optimize dispute resolution for SMEs more generally, the WIPO Center collaborates with IP and Copyright Offices, National Courts and other IP and ADR stakeholders. This may include organization of joint events and training, and establishment of adapted mediation and arbitration frameworks in specific sectors and business areas, and involves for example the following:

Collaboration with Other WIPO Divisions

The WIPO Center collaborates in particular with the IP for Business Division.

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WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (Geneva)
34, chemin des Colombettes
1211 Geneva 20

T +4122 338 8247
F +4122 740 370

WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (Singapore)
Maxwell Chambers Suites
28 Maxwell Road #02-14
Singapore 069120

T +65 6225 2129
F +65 6225 3568

For additional information arbiter.mail@wipo.int