Francis Gurry led WIPO as Director General from October 1, 2008 to September 30, 2020.

King of Thailand Receives WIPO Award for Contribution to Intellectual Property

Geneva, January 19, 2009

The King of Thailand, His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, received on January 14, 2009, the WIPO Global Leader Award in recognition of his extraordinary commitment to promoting intellectual property and his important contribution to society as a prolific inventor. The award was presented by WIPO Director General, Mr. Francis Gurry, at a ceremony at the Klai Kangwon Palace in Hua Hin, Thailand. Members of the Privy Council, ministers, senior officials and a high level WIPO delegation were in attendance.   

In a citation, Mr. Gurry said “In sharing the fruits of your creativity in the form of invention and musical and artistic works, Your Majesty has not only demonstrated the power of intellectual property to enrich and enhance the quality of daily life and work but has also encouraged people everywhere to create, respect and protect it.” 

The King of Thailand is an acclaimed artist with a portfolio of over 1,000 works, including paintings, photos, musical and literary works. He is also an accomplished inventor holding over 20 patents and 19 trademarks. Many of the King’s inventions, which include a water aerator and artificial rainmaking technology, have generated concrete and practical benefits for rural communities in Thailand. 

The Award Ceremony was preceded by a one-hour audience with the King which featured wide-ranging discussions on the role of intellectual property in promoting creativity, innovation and development.   

The Director General also met with the Prime Minister of Thailand, Mr. Abhisit Vejjajiva. The Prime Minister discussed the challenge of using intellectual property to promote development and its importance in generating concrete practical benefits. He noted that a number of the King’s inventions were positively serving the Thai people. Mr. Vejjajiva further underlined his Government’s commitment to intellectual property and referred to the recent decision by the Thai Cabinet to establish a national committee on enforcement to be chaired by the Prime Minister himself. The Director General applauded the Prime Minister and the Thai Government for their engagement in intellectual property issues and the priority given to these important questions.  

Discussions were wide-ranging, covering the need for a balanced intellectual property system, the impact of technology on intellectual property, and the emergence of new business models, as well as the protection of traditional knowledge, genetic resources and traditional cultural expressions. Talks also focused on the use of the intellectual property system as a platform for diffusing and sharing the benefits of creativity and invention, the need to promote greater respect for intellectual property, the role of universities in intellectual property creation and commercialization, the impact of intellectual property on culture as well as on other public policy issues like health, environment and climate change. The status of Thailand’s planned accession to WIPO’s Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) was also discussed.  

At a working lunch hosted by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Kasit Piromya, and attended by senior representatives of the Government, including the Permanent Representative of Thailand to the UN in Geneva, Ambassador Sihasak Phuangketkeow, Mr. Gurry outlined the status of various substantive discussions at WIPO. He also provided an overview of WIPO’s new strategic goals, which were adopted by WIPO member states in December 2008, following Mr. Gurry’s appointment as Director General in October 2008. The Director General also underlined his commitment to effectively implementing the WIPO Development Agenda, which aims to increase the participation of developing countries in the knowledge economy and to mainstream development issues in Organization’s work. 

The Government of Thailand and the Director General expressed mutual appreciation for the positive nature of their collaboration and reaffirmed their commitment to continued close and productive cooperation in the field of intellectual property.

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