WIPO Assembly Strikes Short-Term Deal On Director General Issue 25/09/2007 by William New, 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)By William New The member states of the World Intellectual Property Organization on Tuesday reached an agreement on how to address concerns raised about Director General Kamil Idris during this week’s annual General Assembly. According to participants, a broad agreement was struck to set up a “Friends of the Chair” group on the issue. The chair of the assembly, elected at the outset, is Martin Ihoeghian Uhomoibhi, the ambassador of Nigeria to the United Nations, who is expected to invite various ambassadors to form the group, which should report back during the assembly. Uhomoibhi did not specify to the assembly how he would make his selections, nor how the process would work. There appears to be some confusion among member states on the details of the group. Participants said they expect the group will read and discuss reports and information from recent years that found possible wrongdoing on the part of Idris, the most poignant being a confidential internal auditor’s report on Idris’ age correction (IPW, WIPO, 20 September 2007). In 2006, Idris moved to change his birth date from 1945 to 1954 in the WIPO records after 24 years. The chair’s friends group would report back to the assembly with recommendations, and member states would have the right to respond, sources said. A slight standoff occurred in the assembly when US Ambassador Warren Tichenor sought to clarify that the group would report before the end of the assembly, a point reinforced by Switzerland and the United Kingdom, who asked that the report be completed by Friday to allow sufficient time to review and discuss it. The assembly runs from 24 September to 3 October. This suggestion was opposed by a number of countries mainly from Africa but also including Brazil, apparently out of concern that it would interfere with discussions on substantive policy matters on the agenda, especially the Development Agenda. Africa has been supportive to Idris in this process. The United States appears to be satisfied with the agreement as it would result in a review and discussion of reports of alleged misconduct by Idris that they insist should be addressed. A preliminary agreement late Monday to put the issue to the WIPO Audit Committee and then to the Coordination Committee, possibly with 60 days turnaround, was ultimately rejected, sources said. Some said the Audit Committee declined the task, while others said it did not fall in the committee’s jurisdiction. It was also suggested that the proponents of a review of Idris’ behaviour showed concern that this approach would not lead to a decision until the next General Assembly, in September 2008. The issue held up the assembly from its start on Monday morning, and a small group including Algeria on behalf of the African Group, the United States, which requested the agenda item, and others on Tuesday morning reached the accord, sources said. As of Tuesday afternoon, regular work on the agenda had begun. Some participants said the working group might consist of the countries holding the chairmanships of the WIPO regional groups. These include: Algerian (African Group), Italy (Group B developed countries), Brazil (Group of Latin American and Caribbean ), Korea (Asian), Russia (Eastern European and Central Asian), Poland (Central European and Baltic States), and China, which is its own group. Some predicted that Group B would have more than one member, such as the United States as well. On Tuesday, the assembly chair also announced a change to an agenda item on the Patent Cooperation Treaty to add to the reference to proposals from the United States and Brazil, proposals brought forward by other member states. The issue is whether to reduce patent fees. William New may be reached at email@example.com. 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 "WIPO Assembly Strikes Short-Term Deal On Director General Issue" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.