Croatia Advances Candidate For A Top Position At WIPO 03/05/2006 by Tove Iren S. Gerhardsen for Intellectual Property Watch Leave a Comment IP-Watch is 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. You also have the opportunity to offer additional support to your subscription, or to donate. Croatia has proposed a candidate for a senior management position at the World Intellectual Property Organization, and has the backing of the Central European and Baltic States group. The Croatian proposal was made at the same time as proposals from a number of other countries. The candidate is Zeljko Topiç, director general of the State Intellectual Property Office of the Republic of Croatia, a source from the group told Intellectual Property Watch, adding that the proposal was put forward on 10 March. Croatia has asked for one of the deputy directors general (DDG) posts or the assistant director general (ADG) post, the source said. But the problem is that there are “more candidates than posts,” the source said. Candidates for DDGs or ADGs have been put forward by Cameroon, China, Croatia, Japan, Nigeria, United States, and Zambia (IPW, WIPO, 2 May 2006). A decision will come at the June meeting of the WIPO Coordination Committee, based upon recommendations from WIPO Director General Kamil Idris, who is holding consultations on the matter. The current DDGs at WIPO are: 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). In 2003, it was decided that Narendra Kumar Sabharwal of India would take over Yu’s position at the end of this year. All of the other posts are up for renewal or replacement. The United States has proposed Michael Keplinger, who is said to be targeted for Hayes’ post, and sources say this position will be kept by the United States. But for the remaining two positions (Gurry and Petit), China, Croatia and Japan have put forward proposals. Cameroon, Nigeria and Zambia have put forward proposals for the ADG position, sources say. Except for the Croatian proposal, all of the other candidates currently work at WIPO. Seeking Regional Distribution One source from the Central European and Baltic States group said that the Croatian proposal was about “regional distribution” as three of the four DDG positions at WIPO are currently held by representatives of the non-geographical Group B of developed countries, despite there being six geographical groups at WIPO: The African Group, the Asian Group, China, the Central European and Baltic States, the Group of Central Asian, Caucasus and Eastern European Countries, and the Group of Latin America and Caribbean Countries (GRULAC), the official said. Another source from the group agreed, saying that this group has never had any DDG or ADG position at WIPO and the proposal is an attempt to get “better representation of our group.” There are 15 member countries in the Central European and Baltic States Group, including eight of the 10 new accession states in the European Union except Cyprus and Malta (which is part of Group B), a source said. “Something is not very correct in the headquarters of WIPO,” the source said. The source said that the Central European and Baltic States had had Petit’s position in mind when the Croatian candidate had been proposed as at that time this seemed to be the “only post in play.” But as France and the rest of Group B have indicated that they support Petit, it looks like he will stay. The source also indicated that it appears that Gurry will stay as he had only been three years in his post. Meeting with Idris On 3 May, the regional coordinators met with Idris to address the problem of having more nominees than posts, one source said. No names of candidates or outgoing officials were specified at the meeting. The conclusion was that further consultations have to be held both bilaterally and in groups, the source said, adding that this was the second consultation of this kind. The meeting was also a chance for the coordinators to inform each other about their positions, the source said. One question is whether Idris should solve the issue on his own or with the groups, the source said, emphasising that this was not an election process but an appointment process. The source believed, however, that it would be solved within the next weeks and in time for the 19-20 June meeting of the WIPO Coordination Committee. That meeting is to approve the proposals made by Idris, to which they have “in principle agreed” before the meeting, the source said. 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