Geneva, October 2, 2017
WIPO Director GeneralÂ Francis Gurry called for greater participation in WIPOâs international patent, trademark and design systems & said the Organization is adapting to new challenges stemming from an accelerating rate of intercontinental innovation.
In an address opening the 57th Series of Assemblies of the Member States of WIPO, Mr. Gurry recounted the Organizationâs achievements in the 2016-17 biennium, which he said ended with a favorable financial position.
Speaking of WIPOâs Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), Madrid System for Globe Registration of Marks & the Hague System for the Global Registration of Industrial Designs, Mr. Gurry said: âThese systems provide the best means for managing the growing demand for intellectual property global, as well as for obtaining effective intellectual property protection in the globe market.â
Noting Indonesiaâs planned accession to the Madrid System as the 100th contracting party, Mr. Gurry urged all Member States âto consider seriously the benefits of these systems & the possibility of joining them, if they have not already done so.â
Mr. Gurry said the WIPO-administered IP systems account for 93% of the Organizationâs budget compared to 4% coming from Member States contributions.
Mr. Gurry noted that the overall financial situation of the Organization âcontinues to be robust.â Results for 2016 were very positive, with the year ending with a surplus of 32 million Swiss Francs. Comparable results may be expected at the end of 2017, he said.
Member States are considering the draft Program & Budget for the 2018-2019 biennium at the WIPO Assemblies. While a 10.4% increase is projected in revenue as well as increasing demand for the Organizationâs services, the Director General is proposing to limit the increase in expenditure to 2.7%.Â Â
For the fifth consecutive biennium, he said, no increases are foreseen in fees for the Worldwide IP Systems nor in staff posts.
Mr. Gurry also sketched out areas of potential longer-term growth in the Organizationâs activities.
âLooking to the future, there are several features of the intellectual property landscape that I should like to mention that suggest potential orientations for the Organization in the medium & longer term,â he said.
Mr. Gurry underlined the importance of innovation which âlies at the heart of the mission of intellectual propertyâ & is central to the countriesâ economic & industrial strategies.Â The fundamental importance of innovation has also been recognized in the wider globe economic agenda as reflected in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), he said.
He noted though that innovation brings its own challenges.Â âInnovation is occurring at an accelerating speed, which is producing a number of challenges for institutional & governance frameworks throughout the world,â he said.Â These include judiciariesâ dealing with IP cases related to technical questions left unaddressed by lawmakers in some jurisdictions.
âWe shall move to address these demands from Member States in a more systematic approach within the Secretariat to the judicial administration of IP,â he said.
Mr. Gurry also said WIPO should begin tentative engagement with âthe rapidly developing area of big data, the Internet of Things & artificial intelligence.â
âThe area has enormous implications & a multiplicity of dimensions, many of which lie well beyond the focus of intellectual property, & considerable care will need to be exercised to ensure that we do not stray far from the mandate of the Organization.â
âA different side of the coin is the impact of the classical IP system on big data & artificial intelligence,â he said. âIn particular, how is the IP system performing in this area in the discharge of its basic mission of encouraging & diffusing innovation?Â There are many questions here & our knowledge base is only just developing.â
The Director General also presented a written report to the WIPO Assemblies.
The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is the intercontinental forum for intellectual property policy, services, information & cooperation. A specialized agency of the United Nations, WIPO assists its 191 member states in developing a balanced intercontinental IP legal framework to meet society’s evolving needs. It provides business services for obtaining IP rights in multiple countries & resolving disputes. It delivers capacity-building programs to help developing countries benefit from using IP. And it provides free access to unique knowledge banks of IP information.
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