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Fifty-Fourth WIPO Assemblies End

Geneva, October 1, 2014

WIPO member states closed their Assemblies meetings late Tuesday after working through a full slate of activities including confirmation of a new senior management team and inauguration of a recently constructed conference hall. 

Delegates from WIPO’s 187 member states held their Assemblies plenary meetings for the first time in the Organization’s new conference hall, which Director General Francis Gurry officially opened on September 22 before local, national and international dignitaries including globally renowned artists.

Member states also endorsed a new senior management team, consisting of four deputy directors general and four assistant directors general. Following his reelection earlier this year, Mr. Gurry begins a second, six-year term on October 1, with the new senior management team taking up their positions on December 1.

The results achieved at the Assemblies were mixed, with a failure to reach consensus in relation to the normative issues before the Assemblies. Positive decisions were made in a number of areas, notably:

  • Approved the 2013 financial statements, which had received an unqualified audit opinion;
  • Endorsed the progress report for the Standing Committee on the Law of Patents (SCP) held in January 2014 and the future work that will take place at the next session in November, which will include two half-day seminars (on exceptions and limitations and on the confidentiality of advice from patent advisors) and a sharing session on member states experiences on international work sharing and collaboration among patent offices. In addition, the Secretariat will prepare documents that describe implementation of certain exceptions and limitations, a feasibility study on the disclosure of International Nonproprietary Names (INNs) in patent applications and patents and a study on the role of patent systems in promoting innovative medicines and in fostering technology transfer necessary to make medicines available in developing countries and least-developed countries;
  • Expressed support for the work of the Advisory Committee on Enforcement (ACE), which is serving as a valuable forum, a “marketplace of ideas” where member states exchange information and experiences on developing awareness raising, education and training in the field of enforcement and building respect for IP;
  • Appointed the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore as an International Searching and Preliminary Examining Authority under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), as well as a number of amendments to the PCT Regulations, notably an amendment to the PCT Schedule of Fees, modifying the eligibility criteria for fee reductions for certain applicants from certain countries, notably developing and least developed countries;
  • Adopted a number of procedural changes intended to make the Madrid System more user-friendly, while noting the work to be performed by the International Bureau in 2015 in respect of the Information Technology Modernization Program, as well as the progress made in the last year in respect of the Madrid Goods and Services Database;
  • Adopted a recommendation and amendments to the Hague Union Assembly Common Regulations ensuring that, in line with its continued expansion to examining jurisdictions, the Hague system remained efficient and effective;
  • Noted as the Assembly of the Special Union for the Protection of Appellations of Origin and their International Registration (Lisbon Union) the progress made in the preparation of the Diplomatic Conference for the Adoption of a Revised Lisbon Agreement on Appellations of Origin and Geographical Indications in 2015 and was also informed of the discussion that had taken place in the WIPO Coordination Committee concerning the procedures of the Diplomatic Conference and other preparatory matters, ahead of the meeting of the Preparatory Committee for the Diplomatic Conference on October 30 and 31, 2014;
  • Noted developments in the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center’s provision of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) services, including assistance requested by certain Intellectual Property Offices in offering ADR options for opposition and other disputes before these Offices. Member states took note that the number of UDRP domain name cases administered by the WIPO Center has passed 29,000, covering more than 54,000 domain names.
  • Acting via the Coordination Committee, expressed appreciation for the good work and achievements of WIPO’s staff and for the progress on the implementation of the Human Resources Strategy and HR initiatives and reforms as outlined in the Annual Report on Human Resources. The Coordination Committee stressed the importance of geographic diversity, gender balance, efficiency and containment of staff costs.

The following issues were the focus of extensive informal consultations and plenary discussions:

  • Matters concerning WIPO external offices
  • Matters relating to the Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR)
  • Consideration of the convening of a diplomatic conference for the adoption of a Design Law Treaty (DLT)
  • Matters concerning the WIPO Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore (IGC)

Differences in approaches divided member states who did not reach consensus decisions on these questions.

A number of member states expressed disappointment at the inability to reach consensus decisions on the four issues. In closing remarks Mr. Gurry said that it is important to contextualize the failures to reach consensus. “We find most of the lack of decisions related to the normative program of the Organization. So I would urge all delegations to reflect on our normative program and reflect in particular on where you would like to take multilateral cooperation in the normative area,” he noted.

Ambassador Päivi Kairamo, who is also the Permanent Representative of Finland to the United Nations and other international organizations in Geneva, is the chair of the WIPO General Assembly for the period 2013 to 2015.

About WIPO

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is the United Nations agency that serves the world’s innovators and creators, ensuring that their ideas travel safely to the market and improve lives everywhere.

We do so by providing services that enable creators, innovators and entrepreneurs to protect and promote their intellectual property (IP) across borders and acting as a forum for addressing cutting-edge IP issues. Our IP data and information guide decisionmakers the world over. And our impact-driven projects and technical assistance ensure IP benefits everyone, everywhere.

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