New Year Brings Prospect Of New WIPO Leader, Budget Agreement21/12/2007 by William New, Intellectual Property Watch Leave a CommentShare this Story:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (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)IP-Watch is a non-profit independent news service, and depends on subscriptions. To access all of our content, please subscribe now. You may also offer additional support with your subscription, or donate.By William New [Note: Informal DG candidates listed below] The campaign season has begun to fill the top seat at the World Intellectual Property Organization, which is being vacated in 2008, one year early. At the same time, WIPO members have been debating over how and when to try again to end a stalemate over the organisation’s budget for the next biennium.As diplomats left for the holidays in Geneva, many governments appeared to be weighing possible candidates for the next director general. Any one of WIPO’s 184 member states may propose a candidate by the 13 February deadline. And what began as the subject of casual hallway banter last summer appears to have become a serious political issue.When it became apparent earlier this year that WIPO Director General Kamil Idris was under attack from influential member governments seeking his early removal for the fallout of having allowed an incorrect birth date to remain on WIPO records for more than two decades, the campaign wheels quietly started turning.Then the annual WIPO General Assemblies failed to reach agreement on a budget for the first time due to pressure from developed countries pushing to hold a discussion on Idris’ behaviour and ability to govern WIPO. Finally, Idris agreed to a deal to leave in autumn 2008, one year before the end of his term which concludes in late 2009. Idris will be paid his full original contract and benefits, and there does not appear to be any restriction on him continuing to serve within the UN system, according to officials.There have been efforts to resolve differences on the budget since the assemblies ended in early October. Many developing countries hold the view that the budget may proceed now that a deal has been reached with Idris. But some developed countries had pushed for Idris to step down immediately in September or October. After the deal was accepted to allow Idris to stay for another year, these countries showed concern about approving a new, larger budget and putting it in Idris’ hands, so they preferred to approve the budget later in 2008, sources said.The budget issue has mainly been addressed through regional coordinators and the General Assembly Chairman Martin Ohomiobhi, the Nigeria ambassador to the UN, and as recently as 18 December, the groups from Africa, Latin America and Asia appeared to support proceeding on the budget as soon as possible, sources said. Approval of the budget must come through the convening of a special session of the General Assembly. Sources said developed countries were considering agreeing not to block the launch of discussions on the budget, which could come early in the new year, though it was unclear whether this meant they would approve it then.Many of the key policy committees are scheduled to meet beginning in late February. The WIPO Audit Committee, about which no specific meeting information is available to media, will meet from 18 to 21 February. The Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore will meet from 25 to 29 February. The new WIPO Committee on Development, the overseer of the Development Agenda, meets from 3 to 7 March. And the Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights, which may still address broadcasting among other topics, will meet from 10 to 12 March.The WIPO Coordination Committee, the organisation’s executive body which includes about 80 member governments, will accept the nominations for the director general and gradually winnow it down to one name to recommend to the September General Assembly. The Coordination Committee is expected to meet to make its selection in May, according to a letter from committee chair Hilda Skorpen of Norway (IPW, WIPO, 20 November 2007).Informal Candidates ListInformal discussions with diplomatic sources in Geneva revealed seemingly more than a dozen possible names of candidates at least, though none have been officially presented and none were confirmed with the governments themselves. Some countries had more than one name circulating. This list is not intended to be official nor comprehensive. The preliminary list includes:Australia: Francis Gurry, WIPO deputy director general responsible for patents, the Arbitration and Mediation Center, and global IP issues, and former general counselBangladesh: Toufiq Ali, former ambassador to the WTO and UN in GenevaBrazil: Jorge Costa Avila, president, Brazilian Institute of Industrial PropertyJosé Graça Aranha, WIPO director of the international registrations department, sector of trademarks, industrial designs and geographical indicationsFrance: Benoit Battistelli, director general of the French National Institute of Industrial PropertyAlain Pompideau, former president of the European Patent OfficeHonduras: Delmer Urbizo, ambassador to the UNIndia: Hardeep Singh Puri, has been ambassador to Brazil, and to the UN and WTOItaly: Carlotta Graffigna, WIPO executive director of the office of the controllerMauro Masi, professor and Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs delegate for intellectual property in GenevaMexico: Jorge Amigo, director, Mexican Institute of Industrial PropertyPhilippines: Enrique Manalo, ambassador of the Philippines to the UN, former chair of the WIPO General AssemblyPoland: Alicja Adamczak, president of patent officeUruguay: Ernesto Rubio, WIPO assistant director general for trademarks, industrial designs, and geographical indicationsOthers mentioned early in the process:Singapore: Geoffrey Yu, Singapore, former WIPO deputy director generalSwitzerland: Roland Grossenbacher, head of Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual PropertyFrance: Philippe Petit, WIPO Deputy Director General for General Affairs and Administration SectorNote: At least one source suggested candidates also might come from Kenya and Russia, but no names could be verified.William New may be reached at email@example.com.Share this Story:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (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"New Year Brings Prospect Of New WIPO Leader, Budget Agreement" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.