WIPO Members Debate Top Management Positions To Be Filled In June02/05/2006 by Tove Iren S. Gerhardsen for Intellectual Property Watch 2 CommentsShare this Story:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Much of our best content is available only to IP Watch subscribers. We are a non-profit independent news service, and subscribing to our service helps support our goals of bringing more transparency to global IP and innovation policies. To access all of our content, please subscribe now.[Editor’s Note: Croatia also has advanced a candidate for a WIPO deputy director general post. Click here to read the IP-Watch story.]At least five of the highest management positions at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) will change hands or be renewed at a June meeting, and debate is roiling over a firm request for a post by China and a late request from Japan, according to sources.The positions up for change are four deputy director general (DDG) positions (which are second only to the director general), currently held by Francis Gurry (Australia), Rita Hayes (United States), Philippe Petit (France) and Geoffrey Yu (Singapore), as well as one assistant director general (ADG) position currently held by Ernesto Rubio (Uruguay).The 19-20 June meeting of the Coordination Committee will approve appointments based on proposals from the director general. A WIPO spokesperson said that as with all appointments at WIPO, geographical distribution will be taken into consideration. Senior officials at WIPO are appointed for three-year terms, and the current terms end in December 2006.Candidates for DDGs or ADGs have been put forward by Cameroon, China, Japan, Nigeria, United States, and Zambia, while India has already secured the DDG spot held by Yu. Consultations are actively being held with WIPO Director General Kamil Idris.China has proposed Wang Binying, a WIPO director, for a deputy director general post, which has resulted in some discussion of creating a new DDG position, sources close to the discussions said. In 2001, the number of DDG posts went from three to four, a source noted.Another option under discussion for China is to upgrade an existing director post to assistant director general, but the question is whether China would settle for such a post given that they asked for the DDG, the source said. China apparently is prepared to leave it to a committee vote if it does not get what it wants, the source said. China did not comment by press time.Japan also has proposed a candidate, Yoshiyuki Takagi, also a WIPO director, but a source said that Japan had indicated that it would be ready to accept the assistant director general post if necessary.Japan is part of Group B of developed countries at WIPO. Three of the current DDGs are from Group B (Gurry, Hayes and Petit). There has been speculation that if China were to get a DDG post, Group B could lose one, one source said. Group B held a meeting on the issue on 1 May, and one source said there was some resistance to the creation of a new upper eschelon position at WIPO at a time when it is in a hiring freeze and undergoing an intensive desk-to-desk review of jobs.There also are three African candidates for an assistant director general position, sources said. These are Herman Ntchatcho (Cameroon), Geoffrey Onyeama (Nigeria) and Mpazi Sinjela (Zambia), all of whom are also WIPO directors.The United States has proposed Michael Keplinger of the US Patent and Trademark Office for Hayes’ position (IPW, WIPO, 13 April 2006). Hayes is a Democrat while Keplinger is a Republican, the party of the Bush administration. [Editor’s Note: Please see below for Keplinger’s biography]Hayes is in charge of copyright and related rights and industry relations; Petit of external relations and cooperation with certain countries in Europe and Asia; Gurry of Patent Cooperation Treaty patents, the Arbitration and Mediation Centre, and global intellectual property issues; Yu of the economic development sector; and Rubio of trademarks, industrial designs and geographical indications.State of PlayHayes and Petit were appointed deputy directors general in December 2001 and their terms were extended in September 2003. Gurry and Yu were appointed deputy directors general in 2003, according to WIPO.China has proposed that Wang should take over one of the deputy director general posts, according to several sources. Wang is executive director of administrative support services and general assembly affairs at WIPO’s international office. China sent out a note to member states about the proposal on 5 April this year, one of the recipients said. But one developed country said it seemed like it would be difficult for China to get this through in this round.It is not clear which deputy director general post China would like Wang to get, especially considering that China forms its own geographical group at WIPO and does not formally belong to the Asian Group. It was also noted at the 1 May Group B meeting that Idris may only make recommendations for three years as his term as director general is up in 2009.Narendra Kumar Sabharwal of India was approved at a 2003 meeting of the Coordination Committee as the new deputy director general taking over for Yu on 1 December 2006, the WIPO spokesperson said. Sabharwal will serve until 30 November 2009. This post has been filled by representatives from Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Asia on a rotating basis, according to a WIPO paper.The two three-year terms for the development post had been a compromise as there had been two proposals for this position in 2003, one Asian source said.That leaves the posts of Petit and Gurry. One developed country source said that Gurry’s native Australia as well as “a number of other members” strongly support the reappointment of Gurry considering his “experience, expertise and strong management credentials.” Another developed country official said Gurry “still enjoys widespread support and might remain for three additional years.”The source did not believe Petit would be challenged by another European Union official, and Petit has indicated that he was keen to continue in his position.WIPO Director General Kamil Idris’ second six-year mandate ends on 30 November 2009, according to the spokesperson. One developing country source said that theoretically the Coordination Committee could suggest that he resign before the end of this period, but as this had not happened last year when WIPO was under the most scrutiny by various audit committees and the pressure had been heavier, the source did not think it would happen this year (IPW, WIPO, 21 December 2005).Also, such a suggestion would require a wide consultation among member states and so far this has not happened, the source said.Ongoing ConsultationsAt the moment Idris is “in the process of undertaking informal consultations ahead of making proposals to the Coordination Committee,” the WIPO spokesperson said. On 19-20 June, the committee will then approve the appointments based on the proposals from the director general, who then will formally make the appointments. Several sources said that the committee approval is more procedural as most concerns are resolved in the consultations before the director general makes his selection.The current appointment process started on 30 January 2006 when Idris sent out a note to all WIPO member states indicating his intention to convene the extraordinary meeting of the Coordination Committee in June, the developed country source said.The appointments made at the June meeting will take effect as of 1 December 2006 according to Article 9(7) of the WIPO Convention, the source said, adding that the note also invited interested parties to hold meetings with the director general about the appointment process.Article 9(7) of the WIPO Convention “provides that the Director General shall appoint the deputy directors general after approval of the Coordination Committee. Since the establishment of the grade of assistant director general, a similar procedure to that set out in Article 9(7) for deputy directors general has been followed in practice for the appointment of assistant directors general,” according to WIPO paper WO/CC/50/2.The Coordination CommitteeAccording to Article 4(a) and 4(b) under Article 8 of the WIPO Convention, the Coordination Committee is supposed to meet once a year in ordinary session, but may also meet in extraordinary session, the spokesperson said.The June extraordinary session appears to be aimed at separating this appointments process from the other issues of the committee. It is expected to meet again in the autumn around the time of the WIPO General Assembly, they said.The Coordination Committee consists of members of three bodies: the Executive Committee of the Paris Union (protection of industrial property; 41 members), the Executive Committee of the Berne Union (protection of literary and artistic works; 37 members) and one-quarter of the states that have signed up to the WIPO Convention but that are not members of any of the WIPO unions, according to WIPO paper A/41/9 Rev from the 2005 General Assembly. In addition, Switzerland as a host state is an ex officio member of the committee, WIPO said.The members of the Coordination Committee are elected every second year at the General Assembly, according to the WIPO paper, adding that 82 members will serve until September 2007. It also has administrative tasks such as preparing the draft agenda for the WIPO General Assembly, according to Article 8 of the convention.Biography of Michael S. Keplinger (source: US Patent and Trademark Office)Positions:• United States Patent and Trademark Office. May 1984 – Present, Senior Counselor, Office of Legislation and International Affairs.• United States Copyright Office. September 1983 – May 1984, Policy Planning Advisor, Office of the Register of Copyrights. April 1980 – September 1983, Chief Information and Reference Division. September 1978 – April 1980, Special Legal Assistant to the Register of Copyrights.• National Commission on New Technological Uses of Copyrighted Works. January 1976 – September 1978, Assistant Executive Director and Senior Attorney.• National Bureau of Standards (now National Institutes of Standards and Technology). June 1971 – January 1976, Staff Assistant, Institute for Computer Sciences and Technology. June 1967 – June 1971, Computer Scientist, Institute for Computer Sciences and Technology.• Military Service. U.S. Army Ordnance Corps, July 1963 – May 1967, Logistics Officer, attained rank of Captain.Experience:Extensive experience in US and international copyright. Copyright negotiator for the United States in the TRIPS negotiations. Represented the United States in a number of international meetings dealing with legal protection for computer software, computer uses of copyrighted works, legal protection for semiconductor chips and special copyright problems of developing countries. Alternate Head of Delegation for the 1996 Diplomatic Conference on Certain Copyright and Neighboring Rights questions, and for the 1989 Diplomatic Conference on the Legal Protection of Intellectual Property in Respect of Integrated Circuits. Consultant to the World Intellectual Property Organization on the legal protection of computer programs. Has negotiated numerous bilateral agreements on copyright protection as part of Administration teams under Special 301 investigations. Participated in the development of legislative proposals and the implementation of a variety of intellectual property laws. Was responsible for developing the legislation that recognized that computer software was protected by copyright.Share this Story:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Related"WIPO Members Debate Top Management Positions To Be Filled In June" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.