WIPO Seeks To Open New Offices Around The World 09/07/2013 by William New, Intellectual Property Watch 4 Comments 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 UN World Intellectual Property Organization is proposing to open five new regional offices around the world next year, with more envisioned in the future. In a move it says is in response to requests from its members, WIPO aims to open offices in China, Russia, the United States and two in unnamed African countries. And doing so will help defend the global intellectual property system from cyber attacks by the likes of Anonymous, it says. Offices in Latin America and the Caribbean and India may not be far behind, according to a “white paper” circulated by the WIPO secretariat at the 8-12 July meeting of the Program and Budget Committee (PBC). All PBC documents are available here. The PBC is reviewing the draft programme and budget for the next biennium 2014/2015. So-called external offices should only be opened if it is “prudent” to do so, and they should be “small, tight, strategically placed, [and] geographically representative,” WIPO Director General Francis Gurry told the PBC today. “We are a global organisation and require global buy-in,” he said, adding that the external offices are important for that buy-in. “IP is not territorial,” Gurry said. Rather, it travels around the world. WIPO currently has external offices in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Singapore, and Tokyo, Japan. It also has a “liaison office” in New York. Some 20 countries have applied for external offices in their countries. The choice of which two countries in Africa is under discussion with and within the African Group, WIPO said. Reasons given for the need to expand include: to help provide services locally, handle phone calls and emails from customers, and create “mirror sites” for WIPO’s information technology systems. “At the same time as the Organization’s dependence on online IT platforms and systems has grown, intellectual property has assumed a higher public profile, increasing the vulnerability of the Organization’s IT systems to cyber attacks,” the white paper says. “In the past year, for example, the group ‘Anonymous’ has carried out multiple DDOS (distributed denial of service) attacks on the websites of agencies of Member States in protest over various intellectual property policies or initiatives.” Other functions of external offices are to help implement technical assistance, as well as capacity building, reducing the cost of travel by officials from the Geneva headquarters. Some observers have considered the creation of national/regional offices to also have a political side. For instance, an office in Washington, DC several years ago (before Gurry took office) was managed by the wife of the US patent commissioner. And the Brazil external office was created after the competing candidate for head of WIPO from Brazil, an employee at the Geneva headquarters, lost to Gurry by a one-vote margin (IPW, WIPO, 13 May 2008). The new office conveniently moved him out of Geneva. With Director Gurry’s term ending in 2014, election season at WIPO is beginning again. Separately, according to the white paper, the Brazilian government has kicked in its own funds to boost the activities of the Rio office. These include working on mediation of trademark oppositions and disputes, and a series of South-South activities and projects. Algeria, on behalf of the African Group, today welcomed the proposal for two offices in Africa, saying it is the only region in the world without a single WIPO office. 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 email@example.com."WIPO Seeks To Open New Offices Around The World" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.