Taubman Of WIPO Picked To Head WTO IP Division

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By Kaitlin Mara and William New
Antony Taubman, acting director and head of the Global Intellectual Property Issues Division at the World Intellectual Property Organization, has been named to the top IP position at the World Trade Organization, the WTO has confirmed.

Taubman is slated to start on 1 May in the lakeside post down the hill from WIPO in Geneva. As director of the WTO IP Division, he will be responsible for overseeing all of the WTO’s IP-related activities, including the 1994 Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement, technical cooperation and capacity-building activity, and related dispute settlement matters. He also will be responsible for managing WTO activity related to government procurement and trade and competition policy, as these are in the same division at WTO.

The position was vacated last summer by Adrian Otten, who had directed the IP division since 1993 when it was first created, and who played a key role in the TRIPS negotiation. Hannu Wager of Finland, an official in the IP Division, has been acting head during the search but reportedly did not seek the leadership post.

Taubman brings to the WTO years of experience in international intellectual property law. He joined WIPO in 2002 after three years as director of international intellectual property at the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and one year as a senior lecturer at Australian National University as a part of the Australian Centre Intellectual Property in Agriculture. His division in WIPO has overseen years of policy work on traditional knowledge, genetic resources and folklore. He also had a hand recently in the preparation of a document on IP and climate change that WIPO circulated throughout the United Nations. Another Australian, Francis Gurry, was appointed director general of WIPO last October.

Taubman has published widely on the topic of international intellectual property, writing papers on such topics as TRIPS and compulsory licensing; the public domain and intellectual property law treaties; public-private management of IP for public health in developing countries [pdf]; and the international patent system and biomedical research [requires subscription], and co-authored a guide to public sector IP management in the life sciences.

The WTO position, description here, [pdf] is a two-year fixed term with the possibility of extension, typical of WTO posts.

Kaitlin Mara may be reached at kmara@ip-watch.ch.

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