WIPO General Assembly Agrees On Two New WIPO Offices; No Deal On Design Treaty 12/10/2016 by Catherine Saez, 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)The somewhat puzzling suspense around which countries would be home to new country offices of the World Intellectual Property Organization was partially resolved as the annual WIPO General Assembly came to end yesterday after working till dawn on the bureaucratic issue. Only two candidates out of six could be agreed upon, both in Africa: Algeria and Nigeria. WIPO member states also agreed to amend the organisation’s oversight charter. But they had no luck on the decision to hold a high-level meeting to conclude a treaty on industrial designs. The WIPO General Assembly took place from 3-11 October. The Summary Report [pdf] of the meeting and decisions taken was issued and adopted last night. Decisions on items which were still pending on 11 October were issued separately: Decision approving [pdf] a new electoral cycle for the General Assembly chair and vice-chairs [pdf]; Decisions made [pdf] on the report of the WIPO Program and Budget Committee, which includes the decision on external offices; Decision [pdf] on the report of the Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights; and the decision [pdf] on the convening of a high-level meeting to conclude a treaty on industrial designs. Countries taking the floor congratulated Algeria and Nigeria for being designated as the next hosts of a WIPO external office. Unlucky candidates expressed their wish to stay in the race as one candidate country still has to be chosen for the 2016/2017 biennium, and three candidates for the 2018/2019 biennium (IPW, WIPO, 10 October 2016). Delegations such as India, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Iran, and Colombia remarked on their ongoing interest in hosting a WIPO external office. Delegates also spoke on the decision on 10 October to amend WIPO Internal Oversight Charter. The amendments are expected to rectify procedures for investigations of high-ranking WIPO officials, and facilitate access to documents by WIPO member states in case of an investigation. The decision also includes approval to follow WIPO’s Coordination Committee to review WIPO’s Whistleblower Protection Policy and its implementation (IPW, WIPO, 10 October 2016). They also underlined the much-acclaimed Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled which entry into force was celebrated during the General Assembly (IPW, WIPO, 6 October 2016). The decision to modify the election cycle of the WIPO General Assembly’s chair and vice-chairs states that “The Chair of the General Assembly and its two Vice-Chairs will be elected at the first meeting of the Assembly considering approval of the biennium program and budget, for the period of two years, and their term of office will begin following the final meeting of the said Assembly.” Under the current terms, the chair and vice-chairs of the General Assembly were elected at the start of the assembly. To facilitate the transition to the new electoral cycle, the current chair and vice-chairs will preside over the 2017 WIPO General Assembly. General Assembly Chair Latvian Ambassador Jānis Kārkliņš “changing hat” and speaking on behalf of Latvia said the main reason for this modification, which was suggested by Latvia, is to strengthen the intergovernmental machinery and increase efficiency in the preparation and the running of the General Assembly. By this change he has made it possible for him to serve again as the chair of the General Assemblies next year too. Industrial Designs Despite long informal consultations during the General Assembly, two issues prevented delegates from reaching consensus on the convening of a diplomatic conference, or high-level meeting, to adopt a new treaty on industrial designs. The draft text of the treaty has been under negotiation for a couple of years but two remaining issues have been in the way of consensus. The first of those issues is whether to include an article in the text of the treaty on technical assistance. Most developing countries have been requesting that article while the United States proposed that technical assistance be kept separate from the treaty body. According to sources, this issue could find a solution this week. The second issue has proven intractable. The African Group has been asking for a disclosure requirement be included into the treaty so that countries wishing to include it into their legislation have the possibility to do so. Many more developed countries have steadfastly refused to consider this. [Note: some additional reporting on the Assemblies may be added here shortly.] 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."WIPO General Assembly Agrees On Two New WIPO Offices; No Deal On Design Treaty" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.