New Offices, Strategic Plan, GIs, Oversight Among Focus Of WIPO Committee 29/08/2016 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 choice of hosting countries for new WIPO external offices and the Medium Term Strategic Plan 2016-2021 are among the hottest subjects of the week, according to several regional groups speaking at the opening today of the World Intellectual Property Organization Program and Budget Committee. Separately, the United States again called the attention to a 2015 treaty protecting geographical indications which they said should not be automatically administered by WIPO. And members called attention to audit and oversight issues at WIPO. WIPO Director General Francis Gurry (second from left) and PBC Chair Amb. Janis Karklins (center) at opening session. The 25th session of the WIPO Program and Budget Committee (PBC) is taking place from 29 August to 2 September. The documents for the session are here. Opening the session, WIPO Director General Francis Gurry, remarked on the fact that 2016 is a non-budget year and therefore there is only one session of the PBC in 2016. Gurry highlighted the organisation’s healthy financial situation for the 2014-2015 biennium. The organisation was able to achieve over 72 percent of its biennial targets, he said. The Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), which is WIPO international patent registration system, provides over 76 percent of the revenue of the organisation, while the Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks represents 16 percent, he said. Fees paid by patents and trademark applicants make up the bulk of WIPO revenue. Group B developed countries, in their opening statement, said the demand for intellectual property titles is influenced by the weak performance of the global economy, adding that WIPO operates under a fragile international financial system, and called for prudence and cautious management. The PBC reviews several reports of audit and oversight committees, such as the Independent Advisory Oversight Committee (IAOC), and the Annual Report by the Director of the Internal Oversight Division (IOD). Separately, Latvian Amb. Janis Karklins was elected chair of the weeklong PBC meeting. Later in the day, Maria Inés Rodríguez of Argentina, was named vice chair. New Items: External Offices, Medium Term Strategic Plan Gurry underlined new items of the PBC agenda [pdf] this week. These include potential new WIPO external offices, with 18 proposals from countries (IPW, WIPO, 25 August 2016). Three external offices are expected to be agreed upon for the biennium 2016/2017. Nigeria, on behalf of the African Group, said the group agreed on two countries in the region to host external offices: Nigeria and Algeria. It said that following the recognition at the last WIPO General Assembly that Africa did not have a WIPO representation on the continent, called the PBC to recommend that Nigeria and Algeria be designated as two new WIPO external offices. India, for the Asia and Pacific Group, which has three candidates, also underlined in its statement the importance of external offices, as well as the importance of governance at WIPO. The Group of Central European and Baltic States (CEBS) remarked that priority should be given to regions without any external offices. Chile, on behalf of the Group of Latin American and Caribbean Countries (GRULAC) underlined the “genuine interests” of several of its members to host an external office and said it would be beneficial for the organisation. Gurry also pointed to the Medium Term Strategic Plan 2016-2021 [pdf], which gives the organisation’s general orientation for the next five-plus years. Discussions on this issue were expected to begin this afternoon, he said. Another subject of discussions this week, Gurry said, is a WIPO study commissioned by member states on the Review of Allocation Methodology for the Income and Budget by Union [pdf]. The US said they would be unable to provide a positive recommendation to the Medium Strategic Plan relating to the administration of a new system for the international registration of geographical indications, “and the lack of any mention of a broader discussion for the protection of geographical indications in all aspects.” Geographical indications are signs used on products which have a specific geographical origins and advertise qualities or reputation which derive from that geographical origin. They can be protected in several ways. A number of countries, such as the US, protect them through trademarks. Some other countries, mainly France and Italy, protect them through a sui generis system. The 2015 Geneva Act of the Lisbon Agreement on Appellations of Origin and Geographical Indications was adopted by the 28 members of the Lisbon Agreement, raising concerns from some members who are not part of the agreement. There is no consensus, the US delegate said, on WIPO administering the Geneva Act. During the last WIPO General Assembly, he said, the WIPO director general said WIPO “was not in a position to decide whether the administration of the Geneva Act was automatic” or had to go through a separate approval process. The issue is expected to come up later in the meeting. 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 email@example.com."New Offices, Strategic Plan, GIs, Oversight Among Focus Of WIPO Committee" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.