In the news

September 2005

Updated IPC now online

A new, updated edition of an international system designed to facilitate search and retrieval of patent information in all fields of technology is now available online on the WIPO website.

The International Patent Classification (IPC) is a classification system covering all fields of technology and is indispensable for the efficient retrieval of patent information. The IPC is periodically revised to take account of technological developments and to ensure a more user-friendly patent classification and search tool for specialists and non-specialists alike. The new (eighth) edition is the product of a 6-year process of reform to adapt the IPC to the electronic environment and to facilitate its use. It will enter into force on January 1, 2006, from which date all published patent documents will be classified according to that edition

“The new edition of the IPC will significantly increase the efficiency of the search and retrieval of patent information,” said Mr. Francis Gurry, WIPO Deputy Director General. “The IPC reform process has been extremely fruitful. Industrial property offices and the general public worldwide now have a universal search tool for patent information at their fingertips.”

Improvements include the division of the IPC into two levels (core and advanced) to meet the differing needs of users. Over 1,400 new entries have been added. Five new subclasses have been created relating to new technologies, as has one new main group for traditional medicine based on the use of plants.

The printed version of the core level of the IPC is available from the WIPO electronic bookshop.


Designs to improve life

INDEX, which opens its doors in Copenhagen, Denmark, in September, is a new international design event with a difference. Under the banner, Design to Improve Life, INDEX showcases designs with the potential to make a significant, positive difference to the lives of large numbers of people.

The life Port Kidney Transporter (Courtesy of Organ Recovery Systems)

An international jury will announce the top five INDEX Award winners on September 23 from a shortlist of 118 nominations. Competition will be heated as individual designers and design studios vie with big corporate names. A glance at the following nominations gives an idea of the diversity on display:

The LifePort Kidney Transporter, designed by a British/U.S. team from the IDEO Consultancy firm, is already being used by hospitals on four continents. The unit preserves donated kidneys in conditions that simulate those within the body during the journey from organ recovery to transplantation. Designed to be robust, clinically efficient and easy to use, early findings suggest that the device contributes to improved kidney function after transplantation. 

Imbuvu's Hippo Roller (Courtesy of Index)

The Solar Pasteurisation Unit is a portable device by Danish designer Kent Laursen, which uses sunlight to decontaminate drinking water, AIDS-infected breast milk and surgical instruments. It can also cook food without fire. The prototype has been tested in Tanzania with positive results.

Japan’s Toyota describe their second generation Prius car as “by far the cleanest production car on the planet,” citing its 90 percent recyclability potential, 35 percent reduction in CO2 emissions, and fuel consumption overall of only 4.3 liters per 100 kilometers. The car’s design and performance has had wide consumer appeal beyond the “green” market.

The Hippo Roller, produced by Imvubu Projects in South Africa, was designed to alleviate the burden on the women and children in rural communities, who spend much of their days walking to fetch water. A simple, rolling container, it enables the user to transport 90 liters of water at a time. Some 10,000 Hippo Rollers have been distributed so far. But Imvubu is seeking more business and NGO sponsors, as those most in need cannot afford the cost of US$35 per roller.


International Day of the World's Indigenous People

Speaking on the International Day of the World's Indigenous People, August 9, 2005, WIPO Director General Kamil Idris welcomed action by the international community to promote recognition of the rights of indigenous peoples and respect for their cultures.

Citing WIPO’s involvement in the areas of traditional knowledge, traditional cultural expressions and genetic resources, Dr. Idris underlined the need for an approach which recognizes the concerns and aspirations of indigenous people in order to develop informed and equitable solutions in these areas. This multi-faceted approach, he said, has “legal, practical, cultural and procedural dimensions, and must be sustained.” He welcomed the increased participation of indigenous groups in WIPO’s work, which he said has greatly enriched the debate.

WIPO has participated in the work of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, and is an active member of the Inter-Agency Support Group on Indigenous Issues.


Scotland Yard: crime and merchandising

Scotland Yard, home of the London’s Metropolitan Police, is arguably the best known police organization in the world. In an effort to protect its famous name from misuse, while at the same time exploring its income generating potential, the police force has registered the words Scotland Yard and Metropolitan Police, together with their logos, as trademarks with the European Community Trademark Office.

While a bottle of vintage Yard Rosé may not be everyone’s cup of tea, cuddly Metropolitan Police teddy bears sell well at the staff gift shop. And having already negotiated a licensing deal with Corgi Toys to produce models of the squad’s cars, the Met’ sees scope for more. The trademark registration includes use of the name on perfumes, after-shave lotions, confectionery and clothing.

“We realise that the Metropolitan Police is a really powerful brand,” said a Scotland Yard spokesman. She stressed, however, that the main motive for registering the names was to protect them from misuse, and that any licensing deals had to be “commensurate with our core business, which is protecting the public.”

UK legislation allows police forces to generate up to one percent of their annual budget through sponsorship.


The WIPO Magazine is intended to help broaden public understanding of intellectual property and of WIPO’s work, and is not an official document of WIPO. The designations employed and the presentation of material throughout this publication do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of WIPO concerning the legal status of any country, territory or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries. This publication is not intended to reflect the views of the Member States or the WIPO Secretariat. The mention of specific companies or products of manufacturers does not imply that they are endorsed or recommended by WIPO in preference to others of a similar nature that are not mentioned.