Italy and WIPO Host International Conference on Design

Geneva, May 6, 2004
Media Alerts MA/2004/14

An international conference organized by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the Italian Government at the Palazzo Ducale in Venice on May 13 and 14, 2004, will bring together representatives from the private and public sector to discuss the importance of intellectual property protection to design-related industries. The WIPO-Italy International Conference on Design will be preceded on May 12, 2004, in the evening by a ceremony hosted in the Palazzo Ducale by the Mayor of Venice, Mr. Paolo Costa, to grant WIPO Director General, Dr. Kamil Idris, the first "Venice Award for Intellectual Property".

Venice is a particularly appropriate venue for the conference, not only because Italy is a leader in design but because this year marks the 530th anniversary of the enactment of the first patent law by the Republic of Venice. Venice was the first country in Europe to adopt its patent law on March 19, 1474. Some 100 patents were granted in Venice by 1550. In 1594, Galileo received one of the earliest patents granted for a device to raise water and irrigate land.

The WIPO-Italy International Conference on Design will provide a forum for exchanging views on the importance to business development of the international protection of designs. It will also identify ways to more effectively use the WIPO-administered Hague system for the International Protection of Industrial Designs.

The Conference is expected to be opened by Dr. Idris, Italy's Minister for Productive Activities, Mr. Antonio Marzano and Mr. Costa. The Conference will be attended by a number of eminent personalities from government and industry, including Mr. Paolo Baratta, President of the Venice International Committee, Mr. Wubbo de Boer, President, Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM), and senior officials from intellectual property offices around the world. Some 200 participants from over 35 countries have pre-registered for the event.

A program is available at The Conference is open to the public.

The Conference is the first high-level event to be organized since the entry into force of the Geneva Act of the Hague Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs on December 23, 2003. The Geneva Act, which became operational on April 1, 2004 introduces a number of important changes that enhance the existing system by making it more compatible with the registration system in countries such as the United States and Japan where protection of industrial designs is contingent on examination to determine the acceptability of an application.

Journalists interested in attending this Conference are requested to contact Ms. Barbara Borsato, on +39 041 274 8988 or +39 329 750 8280 (mobile phone) (on behalf of the Italian Government) or +4179-3324949 (on behalf of WIPO).