WIPO Assemblies Open: Director General Calls on Delegates to Transform IP into a Powerful Catalyst for Growth and Development
July 14, 2022
WIPO Director General Daren Tang opened the WIPO Assemblies with a call for delegates to keep working to transform intellectual property (IP) into a powerful catalyst for jobs, investments, business growth and economic development.
Some 900 delegates from WIPO’s 193 Member States registered for in-person participation at the July 14-22, 2022, Sixty-Third Series of Meetings of the Assemblies of the Member States of WIPO – the largest number of registrants for a WIPO Assemblies meeting since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
“The invasion of Ukraine. Global inflation. Disruptions to food and energy supply chains. Our global situation remains extremely challenging. But despite these challenges, we cannot look back or stop our work of building the future of the global IP ecosystem,” said Director General Tang in welcoming the delegates.
“We as the global IP community must continue being fully committed to transforming IP from a technical vertical of interest only to specialists, into a powerful catalyst for jobs, investments and development that supports innovators and creators everywhere.”
Cabo Verde Prime Minister José Ulisses Correia e Silva and Colombia President Iván Duque joined Mr. Tang in welcoming delegates to the WIPO Assemblies.
Delegates will consider the work of WIPO against the backdrop of strong growth in IP and innovation-related activities, as well as the increasing globalization of IP.
In his address, Mr. Tang said that innovative activities have now spread beyond traditional innovation powerhouses and that seven out of 10 IP applications are now taking place in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
In a further example of the internationalization of innovation, venture capital investment more than quadrupled in Africa and Latin America over the last 12 months.
Moreover, overall global R&D expenditures – one indicator of intended innovative activity - have continued to grow throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, with the top corporate R&D spenders increasing their expenditure by an estimated 10 percent last year.
The Director General also cited continued growth in IP filings, with international patent, trademark and design applications filed via WIPO reaching record levels in 2021.
“IP continues to move from the periphery to the center, as businesses and economies use the crisis as an opportunity to reimagine, restructure and rebuild, using innovation and creativity as engines of growth,” Mr. Tang said.
Mr. Tang also noted WIPO’s strong financial position, with a surplus of nearly 245 million of Swiss Francs for the 2020/21 biennium. “This puts us in a good position to invest these surpluses into capabilities, tools and projects to continue supporting you strongly, even as the overall financial and macro-economic environment remains volatile and challenging,” he said.
On Tuesday, July 19, WIPO will present the first round of five winners of its new Global Awards program, which recognizes exceptional enterprises and individuals using intellectual property to make a positive impact at home and abroad.
A group of seven eminent jurors from around the world selected the winners from among 272 submissions spanning 62 countries. The 2022 Global Awards focused on small and medium-sized enterprises, which constitute backbone of the worldwide economy. The Global Awards program in subsequent years will vary focus on additional groups, including youth and women.
In his address, Mr. Tang gave delegates an overview of developments of the Organization’s new Medium-Term Strategic Plan 2022-26, which had been endorsed by Member States during the 2021 WIPO Assemblies.
“Our focus since then has been simple and single-minded – to translate them into concrete plans and actions so as to deliver the results and impact that you expect,” Mr. Tang told delegates.
He said that work had advanced in four key areas: Demystifying IP for people everywhere through new ways of engagement; bringing the global IP community together to share ideas, shape practices and solve global challenges; providing services, data and knowledge to help business owners and policy-makers; and delivering impactful and concrete projects on the ground that allow innovators and creators to use IP for growth.
“Whatever our challenges and difficulties, the global IP community can and should draw on the dynamism, energy and optimism of the innovators and creators that we support, and continue on the transformation journey that we have started together,” Mr. Tang said in concluding his remarks.
The General Assembly is being chaired by Ambassador Tatiana Molcean, Moldova’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations and other International Organizations in Geneva.
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.
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