WIPO provides a global policy forum, where governments, intergovernmental organizations, industry groups and civil society come together to address evolving intellectual property (IP) issues.

Our member states and observers meet regularly in the various WIPO Committees and decision-making bodies. Their challenge is to negotiate the changes and new rules needed to ensure that the international IP system keeps pace with the changing world, and continues to serve its fundamental purpose of encouraging innovation and creativity.


Decision-making and negotiating bodies

We are committed to transparency and inclusiveness. All meeting documents are available online. You can also freely follow discussions in our Assemblies and Committees via our live webcasting service, or access videos of past sessions.

General Rules of Procedure of WIPO

Special Rules of Procedure of the Governing Bodies of WIPO and of the Unions Administered by WIPO PDF, Special Rules of Procedure of the Governing Bodies of WIPO and of the Unions Administered by WIPO

Special Rules of Procedure of WIPO Standing Committees

Governing Bodies

Established by the WIPO Convention, these constituent organs, are WIPO’s highest decision-making bodies. They traditionally meet in September/October each year in either ordinary or extraordinary session.

Standing Committees

These are ad hoc committees of experts established by a decision of the General Assembly for a given purpose, e.g. to determine the need or otherwise for new treaty provisions:

Working groups

Any WIPO Standing Committee or other body can also decide to establish a working group to examine a particular question in more detail.

Diplomatic Conferences

If one of the Standing or Permanent Committees determines that sufficient progress has been made to move towards treaty adoption, the General Assembly can decide to convene a Diplomatic Conference. This is a high level meeting of member states, convened with the sole purpose of finalizing negotiations on a new treaty. The most recent have included:

Exploring the interface between IP and other policy topics

IP touches directly on many diverse policy areas. Explore WIPO's work in some of these areas below. Or, if you are looking for information on issues of IP policy and practice, go to our gateway pages on copyright, patents, trademarks, industrial designs and geographical indications.

Sustainable development goals

A visual exploration of how WIPO and the SDGs are connected, as well as how IP can drive development and help tackle global challenges such as climate change, health, and more.

(Photo: UN Photo/M. Perret)

Traditional knowledge

Policy and legal issues relating to the protection and use of traditional knowledge, genetic resources and traditional cultural expressions are broad and diverse.

(Photo: iStockPHOTO.com/tom_fewster)


IP is an important component of economic policies. WIPO contributes to better understanding of the economic effects of IP policy choices, and offers a first entry point for information on the economics of IP.

(Photo: iStockphoto.com/nicolas_)

Global health

Innovation has brought major advances in public health. The challenge for public and global health policymakers is to provide the necessary incentives for innovation and to promote access to more effective health products and services, particularly where they are most needed.

(Photo: iStockpoto.com/Foxtrot101)

Climate change

Climate change is one of the defining challenges of our time. WIPO works with a range of stakeholders to address the role of IP and innovation in tackling the problems.

(Photo: iStockphoto.com/petesaloutos)

Competition policy

WIPO conducts research into the interaction between IP and competition policy, encourages dialogue, and promotes the exchange of best practices.