Members Of US Congress Urge US To Oppose Re-Election Of WIPO Director Gurry 20/09/2013 by William New, Intellectual Property Watch 7 Comments Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (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)A handful of influential members of the United States Congress have sent a letter to US Secretary of State John Kerry, urging the Obama administration not to support the re-election of World Intellectual Property Organization Director General Francis Gurry. “Gurry’s erratic and secretive behavior and colossal lack of judgment must disqualify him from receiving support from the U.S. government,” the letter said. “We call on the Administration to work diligently to identify and support an alternate candidate for leadership of this most important agency.” The letter from five members of the House of Representatives, dated 19 September, is available here [pdf], as circulated by US patent attorney Harold Wegner of Foley & Lardner. The letter “outlines the manifest friction between the Director General and his Deputy, Jim Pooley,” Wegner said on his email list. Pooley is a longtime Silicon Valley patent attorney and has been rumoured to be in consideration for nomination by the US. Neither Pooley nor US officials have confirmed this to Intellectual Property Watch, however. The WIPO re-election process is underway, and names can be put forward by WIPO members until 6 December. So far, Nigerian candidate and senior WIPO official Geoffrey Onyeama has been circulated. But there have been indications of dissatisfaction with Gurry on the part of the United States in recent weeks (IPW, WIPO, 17 July 2013). Gurry, a long-time patent expert from Australia who has been at WIPO for some 30 years, will finish his 6-year first term on 30 September 2014, and has said he plans to stand for re-election. The signing members of Congress include Reps. Zoe Lofgren, a Democrat from around the Silicon Valley region of California and strong high-tech supporter; Ileana Ros Lehtinen, a Cuban-born Republican from south Florida who is chair of a House Foreign Affairs subcommittee and has been critical of the United Nations; Melvin Watt, a Democrat from North Carolina, a high-tech state; Anna Eshoo, also from the Silicon Valley region of California; and Howard Coble, a Republican from North Carolina. The one-page letter gives one example of concern: the high-profile shipments of computers and equipment to Iran and North Korea that WIPO authorised as part of its programme to provide technical assistance to its members (see IP-Watch reporting here, here and here). Iran and North Korea are highly sanctioned by the US, and the WIPO shipments involved US computer technology. The House Foreign Affairs committee attempted to hold a hearing on the Iran-North Korea shipments last year but cancelled it after they said Gurry obstructed them from getting access to certain witnesses (IPW, WIPO, 24 July 2012). The effort came at the high point of the US presidential campaign and was seen by some as having domestic political overtones. But among the requested witnesses denied permission by Gurry was Pooley. The United States and Australia are in the same regional group at WIPO, along with Western Europe and Japan (Group B developed countries). Gurry took over leadership of WIPO after the tumultuous early departure of the previous director general. The letter cites the importance of patents to the US economy, claiming that some 30 percent of US jobs are somehow associated with “IP-intensive industries.” It notes that the global IP systems are the responsibility of WIPO and that US companies pay more fees to WIPO than any other nation. The timing of the letter coincides with the start of the annual WIPO General Assemblies taking place from 23 September to 2 October. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (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 William New may be reached at email@example.com."Members Of US Congress Urge US To Oppose Re-Election Of WIPO Director Gurry" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.