WIPO Buzzing With Possible Names For Top Cabinet Posts 05/05/2009 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)Behind the day-to-day policy and technical work at the World Intellectual Property Organization, member governments’ lobbying of new Director General Francis Gurry to obtain top positions for national officials at WIPO has been intensive in recent weeks and is near conclusion, according to sources. Among the pack of possible names is a recent former director of the US Patent and Trademark Office, according to sources. [Editor’s update: N.N. Prasad, Joint Secretary at India’s Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, Ministry of Commerce, has been chosen as the Chef de Cabinet (chief of staff) to the WIPO director general, according to Indian sources. This was first reported in the SpicyIP blog.] Any government may put forward a name, and upwards of nearly 20 candidates’ names are said to have been in consideration for four posts of deputy director general – who are second only to Gurry – or three assistant director general spots. Positions are usually for six years, though there is a precedent for splitting them into two three-year terms in order to resolve political conflicts. This time, the full terms for DDGs and ADGs may only be 5 years, a source said, as Gurry will already be one year into his six-year appointment when they come on board due to unusual circumstances at WIPO last year. There are four deputy director general positions to be filled. Under the pre-existing WIPO structure these included: patents, Arbitration and Mediation Centre, and global IP issues (left open by Gurry, of Australia), copyright and enforcement (Michael Keplinger, United States), administrative matters (Philippe Petit of France, who is completing his term despite illness), and economic development (Narendra Sabharwal of India). It was noted the last time, in 2006, that three out of four of the DDG positions came from a single regional group – Group B of developed countries (Australia, France, United States). There were some calls for better representation of the membership (IPW, WIPO, 1 June 2006). It should be noted that WIPO also has not yet named a chief economist or top official for global issues. Gurry and Petit had been recommended by previous Director General Kamil Idris, who left one year early in 2008 after a lack of confidence among members arising from doubts about his employment record. Keplinger served three years after replacing another American, Rita Hayes, in 2006. Sabharwal completed the second half of the term started by Geoffrey Yu of Singapore, as pre-arranged. The assistant directors general (ADGs) completing their terms this year are from China (Wang Binying), Nigeria (Geoffrey Onyeama), and Uruguay (Ernesto Rubio). All three appear to be seeking to continue or elevate their positions in WIPO, according to sources. Rubio has served two terms. Wang Binying was given a newly created position in 2006, giving China its highest post in WIPO since joining in 1980. Onyeama was named in 2005 to fill a post vacated by Tanzanian Khamis Suedi, who resigned after being investigated for financial concerns related to an earlier renovation of a WIPO office building. Gurry, who took office last October, is expected any day now to send his recommendations to the 83-member Coordination Committee, the member state executive body. The committee will then meet in June to decide on his recommendations and pass them on to the September assemblies for final approval of the full 184 members. [Correction: the appointments become final with Coordination Committee approval, according to WIPO sources.] The new officials would take office by the end of the year. Gurry reportedly has been choosing from among about 17 names of senior officials, several already employed within WIPO, whose names have been put forward by their governments. There is a loose emphasis on geographic representation in the selection process. A Crowded Stage Countries of origin of possible candidates may include, according to sources: Argentina, Barbados, Cameroon, China, Croatia, Germany, Ghana, Japan, Macedonia, Nigeria, Philippines, Russia, United States, and Uruguay. Note that many of these names could not be confirmed by press time, and this list may be non-exhaustive. The United States is said to be considering putting forward Q. Todd Dickinson as the US candidate for deputy director general. He was formerly undersecretary of Commerce and director of the US Patent and Trademark Office in President Clinton’s second term. The US was said to have been considering more than one possible candidate, such as Matthew Bryan, director of the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) legal division sector of the PCT and Patents, Arbitration and Mediation Centre, and Global Intellectual Property Issues. Other US names said to be in consideration include: Richard Wilder, associate general counsel for IP policy at Microsoft, a former director of the WIPO Global IP Issues Division; Jon Santamauro, an attorney at Sidley Austin who was the lead US delegate on IP issues in Geneva; and Jim Pooley, a partner at Morrison and Foerster law firm who is also said to be a candidate for USPTO director. [Editor’s update: US industry sources say Pooley has been selected for backing by the US government for the DDG patent role, which signals he was not chosen for the USPTO director position. This has yet to be confirmed with official sources.] From the Latin American and Caribbean region, a potential nominee is Barbados Ambassador Trevor Clarke, chair of the WIPO Committee on Development and Intellectual Property. Ernesto Rubio, head of trademarks at WIPO, is another possible candidate from the Latin America and the Caribbean region, sources said. A third potential Latin American candidate is Marcelo di Pietro Peralta of Argentina, who is a senior advisor in the Office of the Director General at WIPO. From Africa, there at least three, sources said, all from within WIPO: Onyeama of Nigeria, a current ADG; Edward Kwakwa of Ghana, who is WIPO general counsel; and Herman Ntchatcho of Cameroon, senior director of the technical assistance and capacity building bureau for Africa. The names appear to include a few who competed with Gurry in last year’s election for director general. According to a source this may include Yoshiyuki Takagi of Japan, executive director of the WIPO Global IP Infrastructure Department and Boris Simonov of Russia, director general of the Federal Service for Intellectual Property, Patents and Trademarks (Rospatent). Gurry’s closest competitor in last year’s election, Jose Graça Aranha of Brazil (who lost by one vote), has moved out of the WIPO headquarters in Geneva to head the WIPO Latin America office based in Rio de Janeiro. Joining Japan and the United States from the non-geographic Group B of developed countries is Germany, which has put forward former WIPO official Johannes Wichard. From Asia, the Philippines has put forward a candidate for deputy director general, Adrian Cristobal, director general of the WIPO office in the Philippines with the rank of undersecretary. Indonesia was considering a potential candidate but has decided against it, sources said. China, its own regional group at WIPO, may be seeking to extend Wang Binying, a source said. WIPO also has regional groups representing central and eastern Europe. The Eastern European group is headed by Russia. Two countries from the Central European and Baltic States group are said to be putting forth candidates: Georgi Avramchev, the Ambassador of Macedonia to the United Nations and World Trade Organization, and Zeljko Topić, director of the IP office of Croatia. The central European group sees itself as more western European-leaning in IP and is trying to move faster than some of its eastern neighbours to adopt European-style IP policies, Avramchev told Intellectual Property Watch. Currently, the group has only one representative in senior WIPO management, Michel Svantner of the Slovak Republic, according to a regional source. Bojan Pretnar of Slovenia, who was a candidate in the WIPO director general election last year, was expected to retire this year. The 17-member central European group consists of: Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovak Republic and Slovenia. Summary of existing officials completing terms: Philippe Petit (DDG) – general affairs and administration sector Francis Gurry (DDG) – Patent Cooperation Treaty, arbitration and mediation centre and global intellectual property issues Narendra Sabharwal (DDG) – economic development sector Michael Keplinger (DDG) – copyright and related rights Ernesto Rubio (ADG) – sector of trademarks, industrial designs and geographical indications Geoffrey Onyeama (ADG) – coordination office for external relations and industry relations Wang Binying (ADG) – office of administrative support services, security matters and general assembly affairs. 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 William New may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org."WIPO Buzzing With Possible Names For Top Cabinet Posts" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.