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

Coordination Committee: Francis Gurry Nominated as Next Director General

June 2008

Director General-elect, Francis Gurry

The WIPO Coordination Committee on May 13 nominated Mr. Francis Gurry, a national of Australia, to become the next Director General of WIPO.

The appointment will now be submitted to the WIPO General Assembly for confirmation at its next meeting, scheduled from September 22 to 30. The Director General-elect will assume his duties on October 1.

Mr. Gurry was elected from the original list of 15 candidates submitted to the Coordination Committee by WIPO Member States. Three days had been set aside for the Coordination Committee meeting, but the withdrawal of seven candidates after the second round of formal voting accelerated the nomination process.

Following the elimination in the third round of Mr. Masood Khan, currently the Ambassador of Pakistan to the UN in Geneva, the final play-off was between two serving WIPO officers, Mr. Gurry and Mr. José Graça Aranha, a national of Brazil. Mr. Gurry won the final round by 42 votes to Mr. Graça Aranha’s 41 votes.

The process of electing a Director General is governed by the Convention Establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization and the Procedures for the Nomination and Appointment of Directors General of WIPO, adopted by the General Assembly of WIPO in September 1998. Mr. Gurry would be the fourth Director General of WIPO, following Mr. Kamil Idris of Sudan (1997-2008), Mr. Arpad Bogsch of the United States (1973-1997) and Mr. Georg Bodenhausen of the Netherlands (1970-1973).

WIPO Career 

Since joining the Organization in 1985 as a consultant in the Development Cooperation and External Relations Bureau for Asia and the Pacific, Mr. Gurry has served in the following WIPO posts:

1990 to 1993:     Office of the Director General

1993 to 1997:     Director of the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center and Acting Legal Counsel (1996-97)

1997 to 1999:     Legal Counsel, also responsible for the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center and electronic commerce

1999 to 2003:     Assistant Director General and Legal Counsel, responsible for the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center; electronic commerce; (and from 2002) the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), patent law and policy and the International Patent Classification (IPC); Traditional Knowledge, Traditional Cultural Expressions, Genetic Resources and Life Sciences

2003 to now:       Deputy Director General, responsible for the PCT; patent law and policy and IPC; WIPO Standards; WIPO statistics; the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center; Traditional Knowledge, Traditional Cultural Expressions, Genetic Resources and Life Sciences

During his WIPO career, Mr. Gurry was instrumental in the creation of the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center and in developing the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy adopted by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers in 1999 and followed by all Internet registrars.

Prior to joining WIPO, Mr. Gurry practiced law and held a number of academic positions. He holds law degrees from the University of Melbourne and a Ph.D from the University of Cambridge in the UK. He is the author of numerous publications and articles on intellectual property issues in international journals.

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.