World Intellectual Property Organization

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO; French: Organisation mondiale de la propriété intellectuelle (OMPI)) is one of the 15 specialized agencies of the United Nations (UN).[1][2][notes 1] Pursuant to the 1967 Convention Establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization, WIPO was created to promote and protect intellectual property (IP) across the world by cooperating with countries as well as international organizations.[5] It began operations on 26 April 1970 when the convention entered into force. The current Director General is Singaporean Daren Tang, former head of the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore, who began his term on 1 October 2020.[6]

World Intellectual Property Organization
Emblem of the United Nations.svg
World Intellectual Property Organization Logo.svg
AbbreviationWIPO
Formation14 July 1967; 54 years ago (1967-07-14)
TypeUnited Nations specialised agency
Legal statusActive
HeadquartersGeneva, Switzerland
Head
Daren Tang
Director General
Parent organization
United Nations Economic and Social Council
Websitewww.wipo.int
A coloured voting box.svg Politics portal
The United Nations Office at Geneva (Switzerland) is the second biggest UN centre, after the United Nations Headquarters (New York City).

WIPO's activities include hosting forums to discuss and shape international IP rules and policies, providing global services that register and protect IP in different countries, resolving transboundary IP disputes, helping connect IP systems through uniform standards and infrastructure, and serving as a general reference database on all IP matters; this includes providing reports and statistics on the state of IP protection or innovation both globally and in specific countries.[7] WIPO also works with governments, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and individuals to utilize IP for socioeconomic development.

WIPO administers 26 international treaties that concern a wide variety of IP issues, ranging from the protection of broadcasts to establishing international patent classification.[8] It is governed by the General Assembly and the Coordination Committee, which together set policy and serve as the main decision making bodies. The General Assembly also elects WIPO's chief administrator, the Director General, currently Daren Tang of Singapore, who took office on 1 October 2020.[9] WIPO is administered by a Secretariat that helps carry out its day-to-day activities.

Headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, WIPO has "external offices" around the world, including in Algiers (Algeria); Rio de Janeiro (Brazil); Beijing (China), Tokyo (Japan); Abuja (Nigeria); Moscow (Russia); and Singapore (Singapore).[10] Unlike most UN organizations, WIPO does not rely heavily on assessed or voluntary contributions from member states; 95 percent of its budget comes from fees related to its global services. [11]

WIPO currently has 193 member states,[12] including 190 UN member states and the Cook Islands, Holy See and Niue; Palestine has permanent observer status.[13] The only non-members are the Federated States of Micronesia, Palau and South Sudan.

HistoryEdit

Pre BIRPIEdit

1883 – Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial PropertyEdit

The Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property was adopted in 1883 and was one of the first intellectual property treaties. It established a Union for the protection of industrial property. It applies to a wide range of industrial property including patents, trademarks, utility models, industrial designs, trade names, service marks, geographical indications as well as the ‘repression of unfair competition’. The Paris Convention was the first international agreement to protect the works of creators in other countries.[14]

The Convention was adopted in diplomatic conferences held in Paris, France in 1880 and 1883,  it was then signed on March 20, 1883, on behalf of Brazil, France, Guatemala, Netherlands, Portugal, Serbia, Spain and Switzerland, Belgium, Italy and El Salvador. It consisted of the Convention proper, which contains 19 articles, and the Protocole de clôture (Final Protocol), which is almost the same length as the Convention proper.[15]

The "International Bureau" established by the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property later became part of BIRPI and later WIPO.

1886 - Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic WorksEdit

The Berne Convention was adopted in 1886, it deals with the protection of works and rights of authors. It provides creators including writers, poets, painters, musicians with ways to control how and by who their works are used and the terms of use. It also contains provisions on minimum protections and special provisions for developing countries.[16] The "International Bureau" was created to oversee the Berne Convention and later became part of BIRPI and later WIPO.

1891 - Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of MarksEdit

In 1891 nine of the 14 States to the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property created the first "special arrangements for the protection of industrial property". Along with the  Protocol Relating to the Madrid Agreement (1989) it created the Madrid System, the primary international system for facilitating the registration of trademarks in multiple jurisdictions around the world.[17]

BIRPIEdit

The Bureaus created to administer the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works and the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property were under "the high supervision" (haute surveillance) of the Government of the Swiss Confederation. In 1893 the Swiss government combined them with the same director and same staff as United International Bureaux for the Protection of Intellectual Property, Bureaux internationaux reunis pour la protection de la propriete intellectuelle’ (BIRPI).[18] BIRPI was the predecessor of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) which superseded it 87 years later, in 1970.[19]

Formation of WIPOEdit

WIPO was formally created by the Convention Establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization, which entered into force on 26 April 1970.[20] WIPO allowed members who were part of the Berne Convention, Paris Convention or a member of the United Nations system including the United Nations, any of its specialized agencies, the International Atomic Energy Agency or the International Court of Justice.[21]

That date is commemorated annually as World Intellectual Property Day, which raises awareness of the importance of IP. Under Article 3 of this convention, WIPO seeks to "promote the protection of intellectual property throughout the world". WIPO became a specialized agency of the UN in 1974. The Agreement between the United Nations and the World Intellectual Property Organization[22] notes in Article 1 that WIPO is responsible

for promoting creative intellectual activity and for facilitating the transfer of technology related to industrial property to the developing countries in order to accelerate economic, social and cultural development, subject to the competence and responsibilities of the United Nations and its organs, particularly the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, the United Nations Development Programme and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, as well as of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization and of other agencies within the United Nations system.

The Agreement marked a transition for WIPO from the mandate it inherited in 1967 from BIRPI, to promote the protection of intellectual property, to one that involved the more complex task of promoting technology transfer and economic development.[23][need quotation to verify]

WIPO joining the United NationsEdit

 
WIPO headquarters, Geneva

In 1974 WIPO became a specialized agency of the United Nations through a bilateral agreement between WIPO and the United Nations.This was approved by the General Assembly of WIPO on September 27, 1974, and by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 17, 1974. A protocol was signed by Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kurt Waldheim and Director General of WIPO Árpád Bogsch, on January 21, 1975 with the Agreement starting on December 17, 1974.[24]

The Patent Cooperation Treaty systemEdit

The (PCT) was created in 1978 with, initially, 18 states to enable the filing of international (PCT) patent applications, assist patent offices in different countries with patent granting decisions[clarification needed] and give public access information relating to patents. An international (PCT) application has the potential to lead to patent protection in a large number of countries.[25][26]

WIPO Arbitration and Mediation CenterEdit

The WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center was established in 1994, it offers Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) options to resolve international commercial disputes between private parties. It is based in Based in Geneva, Switzerland, with an office in Singapore.

Developed by leading experts in cross-border dispute settlement, the arbitration, mediation and expert determination procedures offered by the Center are widely recognized as particularly appropriate for technology, entertainment and other disputes involving intellectual property. Since 2010 the Center has an office at Maxwell Chambers in Singapore.[27]

WIPO Development agendaEdit

In October 2004, WIPO agreed to adopt a proposal offered by Argentina and Brazil, the "Proposal for the Establishment of a Development Agenda for WIPO"—from the Geneva Declaration on the Future of the World Intellectual Property Organization.[28] This proposal was well supported by developing countries. The agreed "WIPO Development Agenda"[29] (composed of over 45 recommendations) was the culmination of a long process of transformation for the organization from one that had historically been primarily aimed at protecting the interests of rightholders, to one that has increasingly incorporated the interests of other stakeholders in the international intellectual property system as well as integrating into the broader corpus of international law on human rights, environment and economic cooperation.

A number of civil society bodies have been working on a draft Access to Knowledge (A2K)[30] treaty which they would like to see introduced.

In December 2011, WIPO published its first World Intellectual Property Report on the Changing Face of Innovation, the first such report of the new Office of the Chief Economist.[31] WIPO is also a co-publisher of the Global Innovation Index.[32]

Recent eventsEdit

 
WIPO members
  Members
  Non-members

In September 2020 China blocked the Wikimedia Foundation from observer status at the WIPO citing the existence of a Wikimedia affiliate in Taiwan. According to the Chinese statement "there is reason to believe that this foundation has been carrying out political activities through its member organizations which could undermine the state's sovereignty and territorial integrity."[33][34]

Global servicesEdit

Patent Cooperation Treaty systemEdit

The Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) (1970) established a service which assists individuals, companies, and institutions in seeking patent protection internationally for their inventions.[35][36] It also helps patent offices with their patent granting decisions and facilitates public access to technical information relating to those inventions. 153 countries are currently party to the PCT.[37]

Under the PCT system, an applicant can file one PCT application in one language, at one patent office, within 12 months from the date of the earliest patent application which has been filed for the same invention (the “priority date”).[38] This one PCT application has the same legal effect as filing separate regional or national patent applications in all PCT member countries.

PCT applications are processed in a standardized manner as provided in the Treaty and Regulations, including an international search for documents relevant to the potential patentability of the invention and international publication.[39] Granting patents remains under the control of the regional or national patent Offices in the “national phase”.

Using the PCT system, patent applicants can postpone paying national and regional patent-related fees while they learn about the likelihood of obtaining a patent, benefitting from the additional time and information to help them decide whether, and in which countries, to pursue patents.

Lisbon SystemEdit

The Lisbon System for the International Registration of Appellations of Origin and Geographical indications provides a means of obtaining international protection for a geographical indication or an appellation of origin.[40][41][42][43] Geographical indications and appellations of origin are intellectual property rights which identify a product that originates from a specific geographical area and that has characteristics that are attributable to its geographical origin.[44] Comté cheese (France), Chulucanas pottery (Peru), Tequila (Mexico), Porto (Portugal), Herend porcelain (Hungary), and Kampot pepper (Cambodia) are examples of appellations of origin and geographical indications registered under the Lisbon System.[45][46][47][48][49][50][51] Through a single registration and one set of fees, protection can be obtained in the other countries (and intergovernmental organizations, such as the European Union) covered by the Lisbon System.[52][53][54]

The Lisbon System includes the Lisbon Agreement for the Protection of Appellations of Origin and their International Registration of 1958 (‘the Lisbon Agreement’) and, its latest revision, the Geneva Act of the Lisbon Agreement on Appellations of Origin and Geographical Indications of 2015 (‘the Geneva Act’) form the Lisbon System.[55][56][57][58] Registrations under the Lisbon System are published in the official bulletin and can be searched through the Lisbon Express Database.[59][60][61][62]

FundingEdit

Unlike other branches of the United Nations, WIPO has significant financial resources independent of the contributions from its Member States. In 2018, WIPO's revenue amounted to CHF 430.6 million.[63] 74.6% of WIPO's 2018 revenue was generated from its Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) fees.[citation needed]

WIPO administered treatiesEdit

WIPO administers 26 treaties, including the WIPO Convention.[64]

Intellectual property protection treatiesEdit

Intellectual property protection treaties define internationally agreed basic standards of intellectual property (IP) protection in each country.[64]

Name Description Treaty text
Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performances
The Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performances is a multilateral treaty which regulates copyright for audiovisual performances and expands the performers' rights. It was adopted on 26 June 2012 by the Diplomatic Conference on the Protection of Audiovisual Performances of the World Intellectual Property Organization, in which 156 WIPO member states, six intergovernmental, and six non-governmental organizations participated. Forty-eight countries signed the treaty on 26 June, followed by 19 other countries in 2012 and 2013. The treaty has 37 parties and entered into force on 28 April 2020 following the receipt of the 30th ratification.[65]
Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performances
Berne Convention
The Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, usually known as the Berne Convention, is an international agreement governing copyright, which was first accepted in Berne, Switzerland, in 1886.[66]
Berne Convention
Brussels Convention Relating to the Distribution of Programme-Carrying Signals Transmitted by Satellite Brussels Convention Relating to the Distribution of Programme-Carrying Signals Transmitted by Satellite
Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks
Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works by Visually Impaired Persons and Persons with Print Disabilities
The Marrakesh VIP Treaty (formally the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works by Visually Impaired Persons and Persons with Print Disabilities, colloquially MVT[67]) is a treaty on copyright adopted in Marrakesh, Morocco, on 27th June 2013.[68][69][70] It achieved the deposit of 20 instruments of ratification or accession by eligible parties needed for entry into force on June 30, 2016. The Treaty date of entry into force is three months later, on September 30, 2016.[68]
Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works by Visually Impaired Persons and Persons with Print Disabilities
Nairobi Treaty on the Protection of the Olympic Symbol Nairobi Treaty on the Protection of the Olympic Symbol
Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property
The Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, signed in Paris, France, on 20 March 1883, was one of the first intellectual property treaties. It established a Union for the protection of industrial property. The Convention is currently still in force. The substantive provisions of the Convention fall into three main categories: national treatment, priority right and common rules.[71]
Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property
Patent Law Treaty
The Patent Law Treaty (PLT) is a patent law multilateral treaty concluded on 1 June 2000 in Geneva, Switzerland, by 53 States and the European Patent Organisation (an intergovernmental organization). It aims at harmonizing formal procedures such as the requirements to obtain a filing date for a patent application, the form and content of a patent application, and representation.
Patent Law Treaty
Convention for the Protection of Producers of Phonograms Against Unauthorized Duplication of Their Phonograms
The Convention for the Protection of Producers of Phonograms Against Unauthorized Duplication of Their Phonograms, also known as the Geneva Phonograms Convention, is a 1971 international agreement relating to copyright protection for sound recordings.
Geneva Phonograms Convention
Rome Convention for the Protection of Performers, Producers of Phonograms and Broadcasting Organisations
The Rome Convention for the Protection of Performers, Producers of Phonograms and Broadcasting Organisations, 496 U.N.T.S 43, was accepted by members of BIRPI, the predecessor to the modern World Intellectual Property Organization, on 26 October 1961. The agreement extended copyright protection for the first time from the author of a work to the creators and owners of particular, physical manifestations of intellectual property, such as audiocassettes or videocassettes.
Rome Convention for the Protection of Performers, Producers of Phonograms and Broadcasting Organisations
Singapore Treaty on the Law of Trademarks
The Singapore Treaty on the Law of Trademarks was adopted in Singapore on 28 March 2006.[72] It entered into force on 16 March 2009,[73] following the ratification or accession of ten countries, namely Singapore, Switzerland, Bulgaria, Romania, Denmark, Latvia, Kyrgyzstan, United States, Moldova, and Australia.[74] The treaty establishes common standards for procedural aspects of trademark registration and licensing.
Singapore Treaty on the Law of Trademarks
Trademark Law Treaty Trademark Law Treaty
Washington Treaty on Intellectual Property in Respect of Integrated Circuits Washington Treaty
WIPO Copyright Treaty
The World Intellectual Property Organization Copyright Treaty (WIPO Copyright Treaty or WCT) is an international treaty on copyright law adopted by the member states of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in 1996. It provides additional protections for copyright to respond to advances in information technology since the formation of previous copyright treaties before it.[75] The WCT and WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty, are together termed WIPO "internet treaties".[76]
WIPO Copyright Treaty
WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty
The WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (or WPPT) is an international treaty signed by the member states of the World Intellectual Property Organization and was adopted in Geneva on 20 December 1996.[77] It came into effect on 20 May 2002. As of December 2014, the treaty has been ratified by 94 states.[citation needed]
WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty

Global protection system treatiesEdit

Global protection system treaties govern WIPO’s services, ensuring that one international registration or filing will have effect in any of the relevant signatory States.[64]

Name Description Treaty text
Budapest Treaty on the International Recognition of the Deposit of Microorganisms for the Purposes of Patent Procedure
The Budapest Treaty on the International Recognition of the Deposit of Microorganisms for the Purposes of Patent Procedure, or Budapest Treaty, is an international treaty signed in Budapest, Hungary, on April 28, 1977. It entered into force on August 19, 1980,[78] and was later amended on September 26, 1980. The treaty is administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).
Budapest Treaty on the International Recognition of the Deposit of Microorganisms for the Purposes of Patent Procedure
Hague Agreement Concerning the International Deposit of Industrial Designs
The Hague Agreement Concerning the International Deposit of Industrial Designs, also known as the Hague system provides a mechanism for registering an industrial design in several countries by means of a single application, filed in one language, with one set of fees. The system is administered by WIPO.
Hague Agreement Concerning the International Deposit of Industrial Designs
Lisbon Agreement for the Protection of Appellations of Origin and their International Registration
The Lisbon Agreement for the Protection of Appellations of Origin and their International Registration, signed on 31 October 1958, ensures that in member countries, appellations of origin receive protection when are protected in their country of origin. It lays down provisions for what qualifies as an appellation of origin, protection measures and establishes an International Register of Appellations of Origin, run by the World Intellectual Property Organization. The agreement came into force in 1966, and was revised at Stockholm (1967) and amended in 1979 and 2015. As of May 2015, 30 states are party to the convention and 1000 appellations of origin has been registered.[79]
Lisbon Agreement for the Protection of Appellations of Origin and their International Registration
Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks
Protocol Relating to the Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks Protocol Relating to the Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks
Patent Cooperation Treaty
The Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) is an international patent law treaty, concluded in 1970. It provides a unified procedure for filing patent applications to protect inventions in each of its contracting states. A patent application filed under the PCT is called an international application, or PCT application.
Patent Cooperation Treaty

Classification treatiesEdit

Classification treaties that create classification systems that organize information concerning inventions, trademarks and industrial designs.[64]

Name Description Treaty text
Locarno Agreement Establishing an International Classification for Industrial Designs Locarno Agreement Establishing an International Classification for Industrial Designs
Nice Agreement Concerning the International Classification of Goods and Services for the Purposes of the Registration of Marks
International Classification of Goods and Services also known as the Nice Classification was established by the Nice Agreement (1957),[80] is a system of classifying goods and services for the purpose of registering trademarks. It is updated every five years and its latest 11th[81] version of the system groups products into 45 classes (classes 1-34 include goods and classes 35-45 embrace services), and allows users seeking to trademark a good or service to choose from these classes as appropriate. Since the system is recognized in numerous countries, this makes applying for trademarks internationally a more streamlined process. The classification system is specified by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).
Nice Agreement Concerning the International Classification of Goods and Services for the Purposes of the Registration of Marks
Strasbourg Agreement Concerning the International Patent Classification
The Strasbourg Agreement Concerning the International Patent Classification (or IPC), also known as the IPC Agreement, is an international treaty that established a common classification for patents for invention, inventors' certificates, utility models and utility certificates, known as the "International Patent Classification" (IPC).[82] The treaty was signed in Strasbourg, France, on March 24, 1971, it entered into force on October 7, 1975,[83] and was amended on September 28, 1979.
Strasbourg Agreement Concerning the International Patent Classification
Vienna Agreement Establishing an International Classification of the Figurative Elements of Marks Vienna Agreement Establishing an International Classification of the Figurative Elements of Marks

WIPO Judicial InstituteEdit

The WIPO Judicial Institute was established in 2019 to coordinate and lead WIPO’s work with national and regional judiciaries. This work includes convening international meetings between judges, implementing judicial capacity building activities, producing resources and publications for use by judges, and administering the WIPO Lex database that provides free public access to intellectual property (IP) laws, treaties and judicial decisions from around the world. WIPO has also established an Advisory Board of Judges, currently comprising 12 members who serve in their personal capacity.[84]

WIPO AcademyEdit

The WIPO Academy is the training arm of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), it was established in 1998.[85] It offers intellectual property (IP) education, training and IP skills-building to government officials, inventors, creators, business professionals, small and medium enterprises (SMEs), academics, students and individuals interested in IP.[86] The Academy hosts IP courses through its four programs: the Professional Development Program, University Partnerships, Distance Learning and WIPO Summer Schools.[87][88][89]

World Intellectual Property DayEdit

World Intellectual Property Day is an annual global public awareness campaign to “highlight the role and contribution of intellectual property in the economic, cultural and social development of all countries as well as to raise public awareness and understanding in this field of human endeavor.” In 2000, WIPO's Member States formally designated April 26 – the day on which the WIPO Convention came into force in 1970 – as World Intellectual Property Day. The first World Intellectual Property Day was held in 2001.[90]

Economics and Statistics DivisionEdit

WIPO's Economics and Statistics Division gathers data on intellectual property activity worldwide and publishes statistics to the public. The Division also conducts economic analysis on how government IP and innovation policies affect economic performance.[91]

World Intellectual Property IndicatorsEdit

Since 2009, WIPO has published the annual World Intellectual Property Indicators, providing a wide range of indicators covering the areas of intellectual property.[92] It draws on data from national and regional IP offices, the WIPO, the World Bank, and UNESCO.[93]

Directors GeneralEdit

WIPO Directors General[94]
No. Term Name From
1 1970–1973 Georg Bodenhausen   Netherlands
2 1973–1997 Árpád Bogsch   United States
3 1997–2008 Kamil Eltayeb Idris   Sudan
4 2008–2020 Francis Gurry   Australia
5 2020–present Daren Tang   Singapore

On 1 October 2020, Daren Tang of Singapore succeeded Gurry as Director General.[95] His candidacy was backed by the United States and 54 other countries over China's preferred candidate, Wang Binying,[96] who received 28 votes out of the 83 voting members. [97]

See alsoEdit

NotesEdit

  1. ^ In some sources,[3][4] the UN indicates that there are 17 specialized agencies, when counting the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), the International Finance Corporation (IFC), and the International Development Association (IDA), all part of the World Bank Group (WBG), as individual specialized agencies.

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