Article: WIPO Director Gurry In Hot Seat On Eve Of Election Deadline 18/11/2013 by William New, Intellectual Property Watch 1 Comment 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)An article in the local Geneva press today asserts that World Intellectual Property Organization Director General Francis Gurry is in the hot seat over the inability of member states to pass a budget for the UN agency. The article ties the budget delay in part to member states’ concern over Gurry’s signing of a deal to set up an external WIPO office in Moscow following a 2011 meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. It also raises serious issues over alleged DNA gathered from the offices of several WIPO employees without their knowledge during the tumultuous transition of Gurry’s WIPO predecessor, who stepped down a year early in 2008. The 18 November article, which appeared in the Tribune de Geneve, is available here (in French). The article includes a rebuttal from Gurry, who answers to some of the assertions broadly. Gurry said WIPO is more focussed on technical issues than geopolitical issues. He also said there is a small minority of employees who are discontent but it does not reflect the vast majority of employees. And he said his record over the past five years shows his success to date. The article comes at a critical time, as Gurry is up for re-election in 2014 for another six years. The deadline to submit candidates for the election is 6 December. So far, only Nigeria has put forward a candidate to challenge Gurry (IPW, WIPO, 29 September 2013). The WIPO General Assembly was unable to agree on the 2014-2015 biennium budget in late September (IPW, WIPO, 3 October 2013), and will continue its work at a special session in December, ironically just after the election deadline (IPW, WIPO, 4 November 2013). Gurry is originally from Australia. Any doubts about Gurry put developed countries, which operate as a regional group in WIPO, in a difficult situation, as it forces governments to consider not supporting close partner Australia in a key international post, as well as to potentially open the door to an unknown successor. The United States in particular had questions in 2012 when it came to light (in a US election year) that WIPO had been providing high-tech equipment to sanctioned North Korea and Iran (a practice which began before he arrived). Other large economies, such as France and South Korea, have also signalled dissatisfaction with his performance. Gurry came under fire from some US congressional members when he prevented some WIPO officials from testifying in a committee hearing on the highly political issue (IPW, WIPO, 24 July 2012), and more recently for general questions of management (IPW, WIPO, 20 September 2013). Questions may come up this week as Gurry travels to Washington, DC to speak on 21 November at George Washington University, and to meet with various US industry trade associations. The question of DNA, related to a threatening 2007 letter in relation to Gurry investigated by Swiss police, is even more delicate as it potentially brings old ghosts back to haunt the UN agency that thought it had moved on with Gurry’s election for a first term. At the time of his election (by a narrow one-vote margin), and after the Iran/North Korea issue, Gurry had signalled that there would be no retaliation against whistleblowers or those he perceived to have opposed him. 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."Article: WIPO Director Gurry In Hot Seat On Eve Of Election Deadline" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.