Candidates From Australia, Africa, Europe, Latin America, Vie For WIPO Director Seat 06/12/2013 by William New, Intellectual Property Watch 4 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)The names are in: four candidates will compete to be the next director general of the UN World Intellectual Property Organization. In addition to Australia’s nomination of incumbent Francis Gurry to lead for a second term, Nigeria, Panama, and at the last minute, Estonia, submitted names. The deadline arrived this evening for countries to put forward candidates to lead WIPO for six years starting in September 2014. As noted in a WIPO press release, the WIPO Coordination Committee, a rotating executive body of 83 WIPO member states, will meet on 6-7 March to nominate a candidate. The nomination will then go to the full WIPO General Assembly, which is scheduled for 8-9 May, 2014. The Candidates (all men, in order of nomination): Francis Gurry has been WIPO director general since 2008, and is a renowned patent expert with nearly three decades of experience at WIPO, having joined in 1985. He oversaw the creation of WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Centre and was formerly legal counsel and deputy director general responsible for patents. He previously studied in Australia and the UK, and practiced law in Australia. Geoffrey Onyeama, from Nigeria, is WIPO deputy director general responsible for development, who also joined WIPO in 1985 and has previously overseen Africa issues, and external and industry affairs. He studied in the US and UK, and previously practiced law in Nigeria. Alfredo Suescum, from Panama, is ambassador to the World Trade Organization and has chaired the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). He has served in government for more than two decades and also has private sector experience and did all of his studies in the United States. Jüri Seilenthal, from Estonia, is ambassador to the United Nations and other organisations in Geneva, and former chair of the WIPO Coordination Committee, and of the Trade and Development Board of the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). He also has been active in the International Telecommunication Union and on UN human rights issues. Discussion Gurry has been considered the easy favourite to return to office, but concerns were voiced privately by some member states, including some in the same regional group as Australia, after various developments arose within WIPO. These developments included the discovery of WIPO computer equipment shipments to Iran and North Korea, quietly signed contracts for external offices in China and Russia, and allegations of retaliation against some employees. So far, no wrongdoing has been found in relation to any of these issues. WIPO does not have a firm rotation for regional representation at the director level, but it is taken into account. The director general before Gurry was from Africa (Sudan), which might come into play for Onyeama. The one before that was from the United States. The Group of Latin American and Caribbean countries (GRULAC) has not had a director at WIPO, and a Brazilian narrowly lost by one vote to Gurry in 2008. But a Brazilian was elected as head of the neighbouring WTO in September, which might be a factor for the region at WIPO. Estonia is part of the Central European and Baltic States (CEBS) group, which has been rising in importance at WIPO as it moves closer to the western European model of IP laws. Western European countries are part of so-called Group B at WIPO, which includes the developed countries from each region, including Australia and the United States. The US and some western European countries have indicated dissatisfaction with Gurry’s leadership, but it would not be possible to get agreement within Group B on an alternative with Australia holding strong on the Gurry nomination. Germany has also been said to not be agitating for change with a German official in place as it holds one of the four deputy directors general under Gurry with a prospect for another term. The 17-member Central European group consists of: Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovak Republic and Slovenia. Eastern European countries are in a separate group that includes Russia, which has signalled support for Gurry – along with China, which is its own regional group. The process of selecting a director general is governed by the Convention Establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization and “The Procedures for the Nomination and Appointment of Directors General of WIPO,” adopted by the General Assembly of WIPO in September 1998. 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."Candidates From Australia, Africa, Europe, Latin America, Vie For WIPO Director Seat" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.