WIPO Assemblies: Heavy Agenda With Potential Decisions On Normative Issues 22/09/2014 by Catherine Saez, Intellectual Property Watch Leave a 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)The Assemblies of the World Intellectual Property Organisation member states opened this morning in a new conference hall for a 10-day marathon with many decisions to be taken on the programme of work of the organisation for the year to come, its governance, and the need to address issues left opened by several committees. WIPO Director General Francis Gurry opened the week by highlighting the successes of the organisation while underlining the challenges in the normative agenda. He mentioned platforms of cooperation developed by WIPO as a parallel track presenting opportunities for advancing international cooperation. The 54th Assemblies of the Member States of WIPO is taking place from 22-30 September. At the outset of the meeting, Gurry presented the director general’s report to the member states. He underlined the healthy financial situation of WIPO, and said the 2012-2013 biennium ended with an overall surplus of CHF34.6 million (about US$36.8 million), with an income of CHF680 million (about US$723 million). For the current biennium, he said the first eight months show that the organisation is on target to meet budget expectations. The financial wealth of the organisation relies mostly from the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), the Madrid System for trademarks and the Hague System for design, he said, which over the last ten years, have all shown significant increases in applications. Over 200,000 international applications were received under the PCT in 2013, he said. The success of those systems is an example of successful international cooperation, said Gurry, adding “these are good reasons to say that WIPO’s Global IP Systems should be one of the essential priorities of the organization in the coming six years.” Gurry has been re-elected for a six-year mandate starting next month (IPW, WIPO, 8 May 2014). However, he remarked on the challenges met by the WIPO normative agenda, after the successes in recent years of the Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performances and the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons who are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled. “I would urge you to use the present session of the Assemblies to try to set concrete schedules of work that will guide the organisation towards successful completion of the mature projects that have been under discussion for some years now,” he said, noting in particular the proposed design law treaty, the work on the protection of broadcasting organisations, and the negotiations on genetic resources, traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions. “Looking ahead, I believe that we are all aware that the normative agenda will remain a challenging area in the coming years,” he said, adding later that any reform of the operating framework for committees and meetings “will strengthen, rather than reduce, the political will to advance multilateral cooperation.” Less visible but nonetheless fruitful, Gurry said newer platforms of cooperation have been developed by WIPO over the past few years. He cited in particular the global IP databases: Patentscope and the Global Brands Database; WIPO CASE (Centralized Access to Search and Examination), the DAS (Digital Access Service); and platforms for public-private cooperation such as WIPO Re-Search, the Accessible Books Consortium, and ARDI (Access to Research for Development and Innovation). The platforms are voluntary, he said, and “rely on the involvement of member states and we have witnessed very significant and positive engagement from the member states in the various platforms,” adding that those platforms are also “extremely effective vehicles for achieving a number of shared policy objectives….” “We are sometimes too pessimistic about the achievements of international cooperation,” Gurry said. “We tend to focus in this pessimism on the difficult area of norm-making and too often overlook that platforms can, in certain contexts, be as effective in advancing international cooperation as treaties.” Heavy Agenda Looming The agenda of the WIPO Assemblies is several-fold. It includes many different items such as the report of the different committees, the report of the External Auditor, the decisions [pdf] (A/54/5) taken by the Program and Budget Committee, the Annual Financial Report 2013 [pdf] (A/54/10), the Coordination Committee, the Annual Report on Human Resources (WO/CC/70/1), and the appointment of the new Deputy Directors General and Assistant Directors General [pdf] (A/54/2). Last year, the work could not be completed at the General Assembly, and an Extraordinary General Assembly had to be convened in December to finish the work. Despite calls to try to tie decisions in committees rather than leave them open for the General Assembly to deal with the open issues, several committees were unable to achieve that goal. The development dimension of the UN specialised agency was at the heart of many dissensions (IPW, WIPO, 18 September 2014). At the outset of the session this morning, the Chair of the Assembly, Päivi Kairamo, Permanent Representative of Finland to the United Nations in Geneva, announced that two tracks of informal consultations would be taking place. One is focused on the issue of establishing future WIPO external offices [pdf] (A/54/12), for which guidelines are under discussions (annex 1 of the document). German Ambassador Thomas Fitschen has been tasked with conducting those consultations. The other track of informal discussions will be headed by Ian Goss of Australia, and will address the situation of the protection of genetic resources, traditional knowledge, and traditional cultural expressions [pdf] (WO/GA/46/6). The Intergovernmental Committee on Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore (IGC) could not agree on the work programme for 2015 or on the potential convening of a high-level negotiating meeting to agree on an international instrument (or instruments) (IPW, WIPO, 9 July 2014). Also in the agenda of the assemblies are: the Report by the External Auditor [pdf] (A/54/4), the Programme Performance Report [pdf] (A/54/6 REV), the WIPO Accountability Framework [pdf] (A/54/7), the Financial Management Report [pdf] for the 2012/2013 Biennium (A/54/8), the Report [pdf] by the WIPO Independent Advisory Oversight Committee (IAOC) (WO/GA/46/1), and the Summary Annual Report [pdf] of the Director of the Internal Audit and Oversight Division (IAOD) ( (WO/GA/46/2). Several committees are expected to give their reports to the General Assembly, such as the Report [pdf] of the Committee on Development and Intellectual Property (CDIP) and Review of the Implementation of the Development Agenda Recommendations (WO/GA/46/3), the Report [pdf] on the Work of the Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (WO/GA/46/5), and the Reports [pdf] on other WIPO Committees (WO/GA/46/7 REV). Development-related issues also will be addressed with discussions on a Decision [pdf] on the Committee on Development and Intellectual Property (CDIP) Related Matters (WO/GA/46/10), in relation to WIPO committees reporting to the General Assembly about their development-related activities, and a Description [pdf] of the Contribution of the Relevant WIPO Bodies to the Implementation of the Respective Development Agenda Recommendations (WO/GA/46/4), pertaining to the same subject. Member States will also have to discuss Matters Concerning the Convening of a Diplomatic Conference [pdf] for the Adoption of a Design Law Treaty ( (WO/GA/46/9), which decision is hung up by the inability of member states to agree on how to deal with technical assistance to developing countries in the context of the treaty. Proposed Amendments [pdf] to the Financial Regulations and Rules (FRR) (WO/GA/46/11) are also expected to be discussed, as well as Amendments to Staff Regulations [pdf] (WO/CC/70/3). A number of executive committees and Assemblies are expected to be held on several WIPO-managed instruments, such as the Berne Union (60th Session), the Hague Union (34th Session), the Madrid Union (48th Session), the Paris Union (54th Session), the PCT Union (46th Session), and the PCT Union – PCT Committee for Technical Cooperation (27th Session). The Assembly of the Lisbon Union will also take place (31st Session). The United States has tabled a proposal [pdf] (WO/CC/70/4) for a supplementary agenda item entitled, “The WIPO Coordination Committee to Provide Advice to the Lisbon Union Assembly Regarding the Convening of a Diplomatic Conference for the Adoption of a Revised Lisbon Agreement on Appellations of Origin and Geographical Indications in 2015.” The United States has voiced opposition to the convening of a diplomatic conference to amend the Lisbon Agreement to include geographical indications. Admission of New Observers WIPO member states also will have to examine a list of potential new observers (A/54/2), one intergovernmental organisation (Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC)), and 10 non-governmental organisations: . Agence pour la Protection des Programmes (APP) . Center for Responsible Enterprise and Trade (CREATe.org) . Innovation Insights . Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO) . International Authors Forum . IP Federation . Patent Information Users Group (PIUG) . Pirate Parties International (PPI) . The Egyptian Inventor Syndicate . Traditions pour Demain 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 Catherine Saez may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org."WIPO Assemblies: Heavy Agenda With Potential Decisions On Normative Issues" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.