WIPO Lex Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

WIPO Lex is a global database that provides free of charge access to intellectual property (IP) laws, treaties, and related information of some 200 jurisdictions and organizations.

WIPO Lex aims to achieve the objective set forth in Article 4(vi) of the WIPO Convention, that is, WIPO "shall assemble and disseminate information concerning the protection of intellectual property, carry out and promote studies in this field, and publish the results of such studies." WIPO Lex covers all WIPO Member States.

WIPO is a specialized Agency of the United Nations (UN). Accordingly, the coverage of WIPO Lex extends to IP legal information of the Members of the UN.

WIPO Lex also covers IP legal information of the Members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in accordance with Article 2(4) of the Agreement between WIPO and WTO of December 22, 1995, which provides for the WTO Secretariat to transmit to the International Bureau of WIPO, a copy of the laws and regulations received by the WTO Secretariat from WTO Members under Article 63.2 of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights.

WIPO Lex was made possible through a common endeavor of the Member States of WIPO and other relevant bodies who contribute continuously to enriching the collection. WIPO invites Member States and other IP stakeholders to expand and update the content by sending inputs and suggestions through the WIPO-WTO common portal (IP authorities only) or through the contact pages (open to all):

Legal records are presented according to hierarchy.

For laws and regulations, generally the starting point of a given legal framework is the Constitution or Basic law of the land, followed by laws enacted by the legislative branch of government. The next tier in the hierarchy is the implementing rules and regulations, which provide more details and "flesh out" the related statutory enactment. See IP Legislation by Members' Profiles.

IP Treaties are organized by category, including WIPO-Administered Treaties and other IP-Related Multilateral Treaties involving a large number of signatories. Regional IP-Related and Economic Integration Treaties, as well as certain IP-relevant Bilateral Treaties are also provided. See IP Treaties by Treaty Type.

Records are further arranged chronologically from the most recent to earliest, reflecting the full title as it appears on the body of the text.

WIPO Lex provides guidance and context to users primarily through the use of individual bibliographic entries for all legislation and treaties, and by means of bookmarks applied to electronic records.

For laws and regulations, the bibliographic entry displays information such as the dates of adoption and entry into force, the type of text and subject matter. In some instances, bibliographic notes are provided for additional information. Other features may include additional language versions, links to related legislation and treaties, and archived superseded records of the law or regulation in question.

In addition, bookmark highlights in bold are provided in PDFs of the "Main IP" and "IP-related" laws and regulations to facilitate navigation to IP provisions within the document and to distinguish specific modifications/amendments between different versions of consolidated legislation.

The bibliographic entry in the treaties database provides information on the host institution/depositary, contracting parties/signatories, subject matter, and available language versions of the treaty. In some instances, the bibliographic notes field provides additional information, such as identifying the relevant IP provisions within the text.

Only the most recent version of primary and subsidiary legislation in force are listed under each Member's profile. See IP Legislation by Members' Profiles.

However, the Bibliographic Entry for each law or regulation in WIPO Lex will include links to "Related Legislation", if available. Related Legislation includes historical versions of texts (e.g., those which have been repealed or superseded), more recent versions (if viewing a superseded version), as well as legislation which amends or implements the record in question. In some instances, the "Notes" field for the Bibliographic Entry will provide relevant explanatory information.

It is possible to search all records, including historical versions or other records that are not available under a Member profile, through the WIPO Lex Database Search.

The WIPO Lex database may be searched by IP Legislation or Treaties, either separately or through a combined search, via the WIPO Lex Database Search on the WIPO Lex homepage.

A narrow search pertaining to one of the IP Legislation or Treaties collections is possible by selecting the relevant tab. For each collection, the user has the option of specifying one or more criteria for each search field. At least one selection is necessary in order to undertake a search. By omitting to specify any criteria for a search field, the resultant search will provide all results that meet the other specified search criteria.

A full text search over all records is possible under the "Full Text Search" tab.

- To search WIPO Lex for a specific phrase, enter that phrase into the search field between double-quotation (" ") marks. For instance: "unfair competition".

- To search WIPO Lex for multiple terms appearing in a particular record (but not as a part of a phrase, as above), enclose each term between double-quotation marks and include a plus ( + ) symbol between each separate term. Do not include spaces between quotation marks and plus symbols. For instance: "unfair competition"+"trade name".

- To search WIPO Lex and exclude a particular term, include a minus ( - ) symbol before each separate term which should not be included in the results. Do not include spaces between quotation marks and minus symbols. For instance: "unfair competition"-"trade name".

- If desired, the user may limit the results by language.

- Following an initial full text search, the user is able to further refine and sort search results by a number of criteria.

WIPO Lex records originate from multiple sources:

- Notifications from WIPO Members under Article 15(2) of the Paris Convention and Article 24(2) of the Berne Convention, which provide that Member States shall communicate to WIPO all new laws and official texts concerning the protection of industrial property and copyright, respectively, and that WIPO shall assemble and publish this information.

- Notifications from WTO Members under Article 63.2 of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property (TRIPS), which obliges WTO Members to notify their IP legislation to the TRIPS Council, which are subsequently made available to WIPO in accordance with the Agreement between WIPO and WTO of December 22, 1995.

- Direct submissions from national IP offices, or other authorities of texts of IP laws and regulations.

- The websites of national IP offices and other credible legal databases from which authorization to reproduce the texts of laws and regulations in WIPO Lex has been secured in cases where prior authorization is required.

To the extent possible, all available language versions of any given text are featured on WIPO Lex, including the relevant national language. However only official texts have legal force and translations and other versions of texts are strictly for reference.

WIPO makes every effort to provide PDF versions, as well as HTML versions with Automatic Translation Tool.

Reproduction of the official legal texts is permitted, provided the source is acknowledged. For the legal texts provided by credible legal databases and third parties from which permission to reproduce the texts in WIPO Lex has been secured, permission must be sought directly from the copyright holders.

WIPO Lex deals exclusively with IP-related subject matter.

This database is general in character and does not address specific issues or problems of any particular individual or entity. No legal advice or recommendation is implied in its content nor should any be inferred therefrom.

WIPO Lex welcomes questions or comments from its users, which may be submitted via the following links: