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Worldwide Forum on the Arbitration of Intellectual Property Disputes

March 3 - 4, 1994, Geneva, Switzerland


On March 3 and 4, 1994, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) jointly organized with the American Arbitration Association (AAA) a Worldwide Forum on the Arbitration of Intellectual Property Disputes, which was held in Geneva at the headquarters of WIPO.

Both the fields of intellectual property, on the one hand, and arbitration and other forms of extra-judicial dispute settlement, on the other hand, have experienced in recent years a growth of activity and have come to occupy increasingly prominent positions in both national and international commerce.

Those developments in the field of intellectual property reflect the increasingly technological basis of production, which has brought to the forefront the role of patents; the importance of marketing, for which trademarks are specially adapted, in the distribution of goods and services; and the new and increasingly sophisticated means of storing and transmitting text, sound and image, which have accentuated the importance of copyright.

The increased prominence of arbitration and other extra-judicial means of dispute resolution similarly result from a variety of factors. The increased pressure on court time, the desire for neutral fora in transactions with an increasingly international character, the specialization of the subject matter of disputes and the desire on the part of disputants to design and control the procedures by which their disputes will be settled are amongst the most important factors.

The Forum provided an opportunity to examine the intersection of the developments that have occurred in the fields of intellectual property and dispute settlement. The presentations commenced with an overview of the various forms of extra-judicial dispute settlement that are currently used throughout the world, ranging from direct negotiation between the parties to a dispute through the various possibilities of engaging a neutral intermediary or intermediaries to facilitate the resolution of the dispute in non-binding procedures or to determine, in a binding manner, what the settlement of the dispute will be. The following part of the proceedings was devoted to an examination of the major elements of the arbitral process, including presentations on the specific aspects of the arbitration of intellectual property disputes. A further part was devoted to an examination of mediation and its appropriateness in the context of intellectual property disputes. The final part consisted in a description of the WIPO Arbitration Center and the services that it will offer. This section contains the text of the presentations that were made at the Forum.

The audience comprised some 242 persons from 47 countries, including government officials, representatives of international intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, arbitration institutions, business and the legal and patent attorney professions.




Dr. Arpad Bogsch, Director General of WIPO
Mr. Robert Coulson, President, AAA, New York, USA



Mr. Robert Coulson, President, AAA, New York, USA



Arbitrability of Intellectual Property Issues in the United States
Mr. David Plant, Chairman, ADR Committee, American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA); Fish & Neave, New York, USA

The Arbitrability of Intellectual Property Disputes with Particular Emphasis on the Situation in Switzerland
Dr. Robert Briner, Lenz & Staehelin, Geneva, Switzerland

The Arbitrability of Intellectual Property Disputes in Germany
Dr. Jochen Pagenberg, Bardehle, Pagenberg, Dost, Altenburg, Frohwitter, Geissler & Partner, Munich, Germany



Dr. Marc Blessing, President, Swiss Arbitration Association (ASA); Bär & Karrer, Zurich, Switzerland



Mr. James Carter, Co-Chairman, Corporate Counsel Committee, AAA; Sullivan & Cromwell, New York, USA



Mr. Julian Lew, Chairman, Working Group on Arbitration and Intellectual Property, International Chamber of Commerce Commission on International Arbitration;Coudert Brothers, London, United Kingdom

Professor Bryan Niblett, Chairman, Intellectual Property Specialist Group, The Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, London, United Kingdom



The Institution's Role in Managing the Arbitration Process
Mr. Michael Hoellering, General Counsel, AAA, New York, USA

Managing an International Arbitration: An Arbitrator's View
Professor Hans Smit, Head, Parker School of Foreign and Comparative Law, Columbia University, New York, USA



Dr. O.L.O. de Witt Wijnen, Nauta Dutilh, Rotterdam, The Netherlands



Sir Laurence Street, Retired Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of New South Wales, Australia

Conciliation - Japan's Experience - Prospects of Success in International Transactions
Professor Toshio Sawada, Sophia (Jôchi) University, Tokyo, Japan

Advocacy in Mediation
Mr. Tom Arnold, Chairman, ADR Committee, Licensing Executives Society International (LES); Arnold, White & Durkee, Houston, USA

Why ADR? Booby Traps in Arbitration Practice and How to Avoid Them
Mr. Tom Arnold, Chairman, ADR Committee, Licensing Executives Society International (LES); Arnold, White & Durkee, Houston, USA



Mr. Francis Gurry, Director-Advisor, WIPO