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Conference on Rules for Institutional Arbitration and Mediation

20 January 1995, Geneva, Switzerland


Opening Address
by Arpad Bogsch, Director General
World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)
Geneva, Switzerland

Dr. Marc Blessing, President, Swiss Arbitration Association, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a great pleasure for me to welcome you all here today, at the headquarters of the World Intellectual Property Organization. We are delighted to see that so many of you, well over 200, from so many countries, some 34, have chosen to attend this Conference.

We are honored that the Swiss Arbitration Association is acting as co-organizer of this Conference. For the WIPO Arbitration Center, it is particularly important that the Swiss Arbitration Association has marked its support for the commencement of the Center in this way.

The Swiss Arbitration Association has already provided enormous assistance to the WIPO Arbitration Center in a number of ways. Its distinguished president, Dr. Marc Blessing, has been an active and resourceful member of the WIPO Arbitration Council since its inception and has been particularly valuable in making available his vast knowledge and experience for the operations of the Center. In addition, we are fortunate to have amongst the members of the WIPO Arbitration Consultative Commission four other members of the Executive Committee of the Swiss Arbitration Association, namely, Dr. Robert Briner, Professor François Knoepfler, Professor Pierre Lalive, the Honorary President of the Swiss Arbitration Association, and Dr. Michael Schneider. We are grateful to them all, as well as to all the other members of the Swiss Arbitration Association, for their support.

I should like also to extend the thanks of WIPO to our speakers and panelists for their participation in this Conference. As you know, our guest speakers are the members of an expert group that met on three occasions in 1994 for the purposes of preparing the WIPO Mediation, Arbitration and Expedited Arbitration Rules. Those four persons--Dr. Marc Blessing, Mr. Jan Paulsson, Dr. Gerold Herrmann and Dr. Jan Van Den Berg--are well-known to all of you and we are grateful for the expert advice that they have given and the assistance that they continue to give to the WIPO Arbitration Center.

We are similarly grateful to the panelists--Mr. Gerald Aksen, Professor François Knoepfler, Dr. Martin Lutz, Dr. Werner Melis and Mr. Eric Schwartz--for having agreed to participate in the discussions of the Conference.

I should also like to extend a particular welcome to the many representatives of other arbitration institutions that are present among the participants, as well as to the members of the WIPO Arbitration Council and the WIPO Arbitration Consultative Commission who are present today.

Finally, I should like to thank all of the participants for attending this Conference and for the interest that you have thereby manifested in the WIPO Arbitration Center.


by Marc Blessing, President
Swiss Arbitration Association (ASA)
Bär & Karrer, Zurich


Dear Director General Dr. Bogsch,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

On behalf of the Swiss Arbitration Association I wish to extend my most hearty welcome to all of you! We are deeply indebted towards WIPO for hosting us in one of the most wonderful conference rooms of the city of Geneva. And most of all we wish to convey our thanks to Dr. Bogsch, for all the effort and energy he has devoted to make this Conference happen, and we do most sincerely appreciate his presence with us today.

A most particular appreciation is owed to Francis Gurry, for all his circumspect work to organize and stage this Conference so beautifully - and we do know that he has had many helping hands to assist.

I am impressed by the unexpectedly high number of participants from over 30 countries who have come here to attend this Conference. I only regret that time does not allow me to express a particular welcome to individual participants. It must suffice to say that we have today a unique gathering of arbitration specialists (lawyers and arbitrators), IP specialists, professors and "users" of the arbitration system, and we do have a very impressive number of international arbitral institutions which are being represented today.

The idea for organizing the today’s Conference has two roots: The first is that the Swiss Arbitration Association ("ASA") decided last year to organize a conference programme focusing on institutional arbitration rules in a comparative way, to highlight their differences, and thus to highlight what you get if you opt for one particular institution. The second root came about when the Experts’ Group together with Francis Gurry and Denis Croze (of WIPO) worked on the crafting of the WIPO Rules. In the framework of that extensive task which was accomplished in a number of working sessions held in this building, we of course had to compare all the various institutional arbitration rules, and it is at that occasion that we realized the need for organizing a Conference which focuses on the similarities and differences in respect of the major international arbitration rules. Today’s Conference does, at the same time, mark the public inauguration of the WIPO Arbitration Center, and one of the objectives of the Conference is to see, test and explain the reasons (and perhaps the wisdom) which is behind the individual articles and provisions of the WIPO Rules, and to put them into perspective with other Rules.

[Four particular announcements were then made for the participants who were members of the Swiss Arbitration Association; these are omitted here].

An arbitration center, what does it consist of? What is needed for a successful arbitration center? I submit that, in essence three distinctive elements are required:

(1) First, an arbitration center needs a perfect, capable and productive back-office administration and organization.

(2) Second, an arbitration center needs an impeccable and recognized reputation.

(3) Third, and this is in my view by far the most important element - the arbitration center needs life-blood, it needs a face. In fact, what is the value of an arbitration center which only has a perfect organization, but does not as such "live"?

What I wish to express here is the thought that I know of no successful arbitral institution, which has gained a world-wide reputation and recognition, except through the outstanding personalities that run the center and with which the center is identified on the market place of the world.

For instance, the ICC: What would the ICC be, had it not had the charismatic Frédéric Eisemann? What would the ICC be without what Me Yves Derains, present with us, has thereafter contributed to it? What would the ICC be without Stephen Bond, also present with us today, and what would the ICC be today without our friend Eric Schwarz who will be a panelist in the today’s Conference.

Another example, the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA): What would the LCIA be without the team of Sir Michael Kerr and Bertie Vigrass; what would it be today without Professor Karl-Heinz Böckstiegel? You cannot imagine it!

Or the American Arbitration Association: Could you imagine the AAA without the names of the unforgettable Robert Coulson and without Michael Hoellering?

Other examples: The Cairo Regional Centre: What would it be without our friend Mohamed Aboul-Enein, or the Hong Kong Centre: What could it be without Neil Kaplan and Peter Caldwell? Of course, this list could be prolonged ...

And what about the WIPO Center? Well, here, I would like to congratulate Dr. Arpad Bogsch who, during 1994, made a very wise decision when he decided to entrust the management of the WIPO Arbitration Center to Francis Gurry.

My friends Jan Paulsson, Albert Jan van den Berg and Gerold Herrmann had the pleasure of working very intensively together with Francis Gurry, and I can say that we have been much impressed by his professional knowledge, the integrity in his way of thinking, and by his circumspect considerations given to all aspects of the Center and its Rules. This gives me all the confidence that the WIPO Center will have an excellent start and will deserve the confidence of the business community - and your confidence.

Thus, I am convinced that in a few years from now, I would have to say: "How could you see and imagine the WIPO Arbitration Center without Francis Gurry?"

I need not further introduce Francis Gurry. His CV is in your Conference Folder. I would now ask Francis Gurry to take over and to present his Report.


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