WIPO General Assemblies 2018: External Offices, Treaties, New African Collaborations 21/09/2018 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)World Intellectual Property Organization members gather next week for their annual General Assemblies. Among the topics to be discussed is which countries will host new WIPO external offices in 2018-2019. Also on the agenda are the reports from various WIPO committees, with some raising the prospect of convening high-level final negotiations on international treaties next year. A number of side events and exhibitions are also scheduled, focusing on issues like health, women, and innovation. WIPO headquarters The 58th WIPO General Assemblies will take place from 24 September to 2 October. The draft consolidated agenda is here [pdf]. Treaty Proposals for Broadcasting, Designs, Genetic Resources? During the WIPO General Assembly, WIPO committees report on their work, and the progress made during the year. The General Assembly is invited to take note of the Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) report [pdf], and according to a recommendation made by the SCCR, consider “appropriate action towards convening a Diplomatic Conference [high-level negotiating meeting] for the adoption of a treaty on the protection of broadcasting organizations subject to reaching consensus on fundamental issues, that is, objectives, specific scope and object of protection.] Another potential treaty in the making, which has been on hold for several years, is a Design Law Treaty. The General Assembly is invited to take note of the report [pdf] of the Standing Committee on the Law of Trademarks, Industrial Designs, and Geographical Indications (SCT), and to decide [pdf] whether to convene a diplomatic conference for the adoption of a Design Law Treaty at the end of the first half of 2019. The General Assembly is also invited to take note of the report [pdf] of the Standing Committee on the Law of Patents (SCP), and the report [pdf] of the Committee on Development and Intellectual Property (CDIP). The latter contains the review of the implementation of the WIPO Development Agenda Recommendations by the WIPO secretariat. The report [pdf] of the Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore (IGC) also hints at the possibility that the IGC, after a stocktaking exercise in the summer of 2019, might recommend the convening of a diplomatic conference, after consideration of progress made until that date. The IGC also asked that the General Assembly consider alternative means of funding the participation of indigenous peoples at the IGC meetings, with the WIPO Voluntary Funds being chronically underfunded and now completely depleted. At the last session of the IGC, indigenous peoples proposed that the WIPO general budget be allowed to contribute to the Voluntary Fund. This was supported then by some member states, including Brazil and South Africa (IPW, WIPO, 3 September 2018). External Offices: Candidates Knocking at the Door The opening of new WIPO external offices has been a political issue for some years, ever since WIPO proposed to open five new offices in 2013 (IPW, WIPO, 9 July 2013), and announced that Russia and China would be among them without prior member state approval. Since then, a list of countries have declared candidacy and Guiding Principles regarding WIPO External Offices have been established. Last year, no agreement was found on which countries should be awarded an external office (IPW, WIPO, 13 October 2017). At that time, Latvian Ambassador Jānis Kārkliņš, chair of the WIPO General Assembly, said that one element missing from the conversation was the vision of WIPO director general or of the secretariat on the presence of a WIPO network of external offices in the world. At present, according to the meeting document [pdf], nine member states have submitted proposals to open an external office during the 2018/2019 biennium: Azerbaijan, India, Iran, Oman, South Korea, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates. Following the discussions at the 2017 General Assembly, the proposal to open a WIPO external office in Colombia (which was the designated candidate for Latin America), should also be considered for the 2018/2019 biennium. New Cooperation with Africa The WIPO Coordination Committee is invited to approve two memoranda of understanding [pdf] (MoUs). One of them concerns a tripartite cooperation framework between WIPO, the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO), and the African Intellectual Property Organization (OAPI). The first MoU provides that the three organisations will enhance cooperation through regular exchange of technical support. This could include “coordinating and conducting joint studies on regional and international developments on the IP landscape, organising joint seminars and workshops to build capacity of stakeholders and address topical IP rights (IPRs) issues, including on management and administration of IPRs.” The second MoU is between WIPO and the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA). The MoU aims at “facilitating the use of intellectual property for the economic, social and cultural development of WAEMU Member States.” According to the MoU, “the organization of activities or projects concerning the protection and promotion of intellectual property may entail cooperation between WIPO and WAEMU. Accordingly, outreach on the socio-economic value of intellectual property might be organized jointly for representatives of WAEMU Member States.” WAEMU members are Benin, Bissau Guinea, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, Niger, Senegal, and Togo. Coordination Committee Vacant Seats [Updated] The Chair of the WIPO General Assembly, Ambassador Duong Chi Dung from Viet Nam, is expected to undertake consultations with member states in search of a compromise on filling the five seats presently vacant at the WIPO Coordination Committee, according to the meeting document [pdf]. The composition of the Coordination Committee will be decided in an election in 2019 for the 2019-2020 period. The Coordination Committee, effectively the committee that decides on staff matters,is composed of the members of the Paris Union Executive Committee, the Berne Union Executive Committee and those designated by the WIPO Conference. The Coordination Committee currently comprises 83 members. [end of update] External Auditor, Internal Oversight The General Assembly will consider the report [pdf] by the Independent Advisory Oversight Committee (IAOC), the report [pdf] by the External Auditor, and the report [pdf] by the Director of the Internal Oversight Division (IOD). All those reports already went through the WIPO Program and Budget Committee (PBC) at the beginning of September. The list of decisions adopted by the PBC is here [pdf]. Side Events: Health, SMEs, Women, IP and Innovation A number of side events to the General Assembly have been scheduled. Among those is the launch of Pat-INFORMED, a global gateway to patent information about medicines, on 25 September. A panel discussion is organised on the topic by WIPO and the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA). On 26 September, WIPO is organising a side event to present new projects developed by the SME [small and medium-sized enterprises] and Entrepreneurship Support Division. On 27 September, WIPO will hold an interactive session on WIPO External Offices. Also on 27 September, the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center will present the alternative dispute resolution for intellectual property and copyright offices. Still on 27 September, the WIPO Global Challenges Division will hold a panel discussion and presentation on WIPO Re:Search and in particular on collaborative innovation for health. On 28 September, the WIPO Human Resources Management Department and the Copyright and Creative Industries Sector are organising a panel discussion on empowering women in the creative industries, and on 29 September, the same WIPO department will organise a leadership workshop for female delegates on empowering women in intellectual property. Several exhibitions are organised by countries. The Baltic States are presenting The Baltic States Centenary: Creativity and Innovation Inspired by Nature; Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrghyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan and WIPO organised an exhibition on “Cultural Convergence: Unity in Diversity”; South Korea and WIPO are putting together an exhibition “Getting Creative with Pororo’s Arabic Version and New Episodes Premiere.” Croatia and WIPO are organising a multisensory exhibition for the blind and visually impaired by Nataša Jovičić and the Modern Gallery Zagreb. Japan and WIPO will celebrate the 10th anniversary of Japan Funds-in-Trust for Africa and Least Developed Countries; India will present “Creative India, Innovative India;” and an exhibition on “Designing Lifestyle” will be presented by Moldova. Portugal and WIPO will organise a discussion on appellations of origin and the history of port wine; and Peru will hold an exhibit on “El Gusto es Nuestro.” The United Arab Emirates will hold an exhibition on innovation art and intellectual property; while Argentina’s exhibition will focus on fuelling growth through innovation. Image Credits: Catherine Saez 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 Assemblies 2018: External Offices, Treaties, New African Collaborations" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.