Idris’s Age Corrected At WIPO Amidst Speculation Of Benefit-Seeking13/07/2006 by William New, Intellectual Property Watch Leave a CommentShare 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.Kamil Idris, director general of the World Intellectual Property Organization, has acted to correct his age as it is recorded at WIPO after 20 years, setting off speculation that he stands to gain handsomely from the change. In addition, some governments and others are checking for instances of his misreporting to determine whether there was a pattern, one official said.When he joined WIPO 20 years ago, Idris’s birthdate was recorded inversely, as 1945 instead of 1954, a WIPO spokesperson confirmed, adding that this has been corrected with all necessary authorities.It is unclear why Idris allowed the error to exist for 20 years, or why he chose now to correct it. The spokesperson said there is no age limit for candidates for the post of WIPO director general, which would appear to remove the motivation of staying on after reaching the standard UN retirement age of 60 or 61.A letter sent last month to WIPO by the UN Joint Inspection Unit, and seen by Intellectual Property Watch, said that the independent body had received whistleblower reports that Idris’s age had been misrepresented on numerous occasions.Perhaps the bigger question is what he stands to gain by correcting it. The WIPO secretariat insists that he will not gain from the correction. But officials from WIPO and member states expressed upset at the news in recent weeks, and speculated widely as to its significance, many suggesting that he stood to gain some CHF1 million from being nine years younger in the UN system.The basis for this assertion remains unclear, and appears to stem from the argument that Idris would continue to receive pay after leaving WIPO until reaching retirement age, so that the younger age would have netted him nine years more pay. A proposal to include such an indemnity appeared to be included in a WIPO secretariat proposal to the June meeting of the Coordination Committee, which in effect is the executive body of WIPO member states. The member states stripped it out. WIPO argued, however, that this already exists in the WIPO staff rules.Another possibility is that being younger could help him to remain in office beyond his current term, which ends in 2009. If he wants to stay on, it will take a three-quarters vote of the member governments to oust him by passing a rule that directors general be limited to two terms. Idris was named director general in 1997 (at age 43).The WIPO spokesperson flatly countered the speculation about benefiting, stating that there is no age limit for director general. “The rectification will not result in an extension of the director general’s mandate,” which is decided by member states, the spokesperson said.In addition, “There is no financial gain for Dr. Idris from the fact that he corrected an administrative error – an inversion of the figures in his date of birth from 1945 to 1954,” she said. “All necessary requirements and formalities were met and this has already been corrected by the relevant bodies, namely, the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund and the competent Swiss authorities.”The spokesperson said that, in fact, the rectification “will result in a considerable financial reduction in the pension of the director general.” She also pointed out that “far from profiting financially from his position as director general of WIPO,” Idris has, since his appointment in 1997, refused to accept the salary to which he is entitled as secretary general of Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV), also housed at WIPO.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"Idris’s Age Corrected At WIPO Amidst Speculation Of Benefit-Seeking" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.