WIPO Election: Two Candidates For Director So Far, More Could Follow 29/09/2013 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)Two candidates to lead the UN World Intellectual Property Organization from 2014 to 2020 have been formally nominated by their governments in the past week. And according to sources, others are being considered. The first candidate is the incumbent, WIPO Director General Francis Gurry of Australia, whose first term ends in September 2014. The only challenger so far is WIPO Deputy Director General Geoffrey Onyeama, who was formally nominated by Nigeria this week. WIPO member governments have until 6 December to put forward nominations. According to sources, countries in other regions are mulling possible candidates, including Latin America and Europe. Meanwhile, the United States is not expected to put forward a candidate from the US, though there are signs of its discontent with the current situation, according to sources. This would put to rest the rumoured candidacy of WIPO Deputy Director General James Pooley of the United States (IPW, WIPO, 20 September 2013). Intellectual Property Watch reported on the election process here (IPW, WIPO, 17 July 2013). Francis Gurry Australia nominated Gurry for a second term in its opening statement on the first day of the annual WIPO General Assembly, taking place from 23 September to 2 October. “Dr Gurry has an excellent record in leading WIPO; implementing important institutional reforms; improving the delivery of WIPO’s global systems, and; getting its normative agenda back on track,” the statement said. “Australia would welcome favourable consideration of his candidacy by Member States.” As evidence of a “well-functioning organisation” under Gurry, Australia pointed to the 2012 Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performances and the 2013 Marrakesh Treaty on copyright exceptions for the blind and other visually impaired. They also said there have been “significant improvements to internal capacity and capability within WIPO.” Australia suggested that staying the course under Gurry will solidify “ongoing reform and steady improvements in governance,” which, it said, “are now starting to bear welcome fruit.” And it said that the Strategic Realignment Program led by Gurry “has brought focus to the organisation’s culture and values, and has significantly improved both efficiency and alignment of structure.” An Australian government press release was issued here. Gurry has been at WIPO for nearly 30 years, having joined in 1985. During his time, he has served as director general since 2008, oversaw the creation of the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Centre, served as WIPO legal counsel, and was in charge of patent policy, the area which contributes the majority of WIPO’s revenues. As head of WIPO, Gurry also has automatically been head of the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV), which is housed in WIPO. During his time, UPOV has announced an initiative to become more transparent. Gurry holds a Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge. Gurry’s official biography is here. Geoffrey Onyeama The Nigerian government nominated Onyeama in its opening statement to the Assemblies, though it had to wait to do so until a late evening session on the second day of the Assemblies (24 September), with few member states in the room. The opening statement of Nigeria appears to be missing from the list of general statements on the WIPO website, see here (scroll to bottom). In its remarks to the plenary, Nigeria commended Gurry on his efforts, but put forward Onyeama, citing his qualification and experience, and saying he has the personal and professional qualities to be successful. Nigeria said it would seek member state support. Some sources noted that the African region also had the director general immediately prior to Gurry, but it does not appear that WIPO has a strict code on the order of geographical representation. Onyeama also joined WIPO in 1985. He is deputy director general in charge of the Development Sector. That sector includes oversight of the WIPO Development Agenda, cooperation with developing countries, the WIPO Academy, technical assistance database projects, and the WIPO external offices in Brazil and Singapore. He previously headed a WIPO section on Africa, and the Coordination Sector for External Relations, Industry, Communications and Public Outreach. Onyeama’s official biography is here. 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 Election: Two Candidates For Director So Far, More Could Follow" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.