WIPO Roving Seminars Reach Out To Stakeholders In Developed Countries 18/06/2015 by Eimear Murphy for 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)The World Intellectual Property Organization has initiated a programme of reaching out to stakeholders in developed countries with “roving seminars” on WIPO services and initiatives. The programme targets potential WIPO customers, promotes local IP services and offices, and promotes intellectual property protection. Intellectual Property Watch spoke with Victor Vazquez Lopez, Head of Section for Coordination of Developed Countries at WIPO, about WIPO’s series of Roving Seminars on WIPO Services and Initiatives for developed countries. The programme began in summer of 2013 and most of the seminars are free of charge. The Idea behind the Roving Seminars Vazquez said the idea for the roving seminars came from WIPO Director General Francis Gurry. The idea behind the roving seminar is to have a one-day (or half-day) event in locations where potential users of WIPO services are found and present the whole layer of WIPO services and initiatives to them with a team of four WIPO colleagues. This face- to- face approach helps stakeholders to better understand and link to WIPO services and initiatives. While WIPO provides “very important services to the industry,” collaboration with member states frequently takes place in the form of technical cooperation with developing countries. Now, the “roving seminars” are directly addressing local stakeholders, opening up a new line of communication in developed countries that provide an important source of revenue for WIPO even as developing nations like China increasingly use WIPO services, he said. While WIPO is “reaching out to customers, the seminars are also a promotion for the local IP services, for the local IP office, and it is a promotion of intellectual property protection in general.” These “three levels have been well appreciated in the different locations.” Programme Development and Format When WIPO travels to a country it does so in collaboration with the local IP office and often in cooperation with local stakeholders. Stakeholders, as explained by Vazquez, include industry associations, licensing executives, trade associations, and other organisations relevant at the local level. WIPO Assistant Director General Yoshiyuki Takagi speaks at a roving seminar on March 6, 2015 in Wellington, New Zealand. (Photo by Mark Tantrum/ mark tantrum.com) After each presentation, there is a roundtable including the perspective of local stakeholders, for instance on the use of the Madrid System or the PCT. It is a “very interactive programme, very inclusive, and done in cooperation with local stakeholders,” he said. In order to develop the programme for each roving seminar, there is discussion among the local IP office, local stakeholders and WIPO. This is mediated through the local IP office, Vazquez said. The three main groups of speakers at the events include: (i) WIPO officials usually at director level, presenting on the different WIPO services and initiatives; (ii) participation from the local IP office explaining the connection between the local services and WIPO services; and (iii) interventions from local stakeholders that “present a perspective of the use of WIPO services from the country of concern.” WIPO presents on issues such as: normative development; a short introduction to WIPO; major economic studies; IP systems such as the Patent Cooperation Treaty (the international patent system); the Madrid System (the international trademark system); and the Hague System (the international design system); and the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center. WIPO also discusses IP infrastructure, which Vazquez said is “increasingly relevant” as it is “important not only to establish the rights by means of registration services” but also to be able to exercise those rights in an efficient manner.” In this context, IP infrastructure enables “locating who owns what by means of databases,” he said, plus being “able to exchange information by means of platforms for exchange,” such as Digital Access Services (DAS), WIPO Green, WIPO Re:Search, and to “treat information by means of standards, technical norms, classification systems and other tools.” These main elements are to be presented to an audience composed of all types of potential users. WIPO seeks a “broad audience” including academia, companies, agents and lawyers. This is in order to “create synergies amongst different types of potential users,” he said. Promotion, Statistics The events are promoted in collaboration with the local office, as they are considered to know best how to address the stakeholders in their own jurisdiction. It is also promoted by local stakeholders, as they are involved from the very beginning in the definition of the event. WIPO supports these efforts by means of social media and newsletters. According to Vazquez, the seminars have been “very well received.” Since its inception in April 2013 and until the end of May 2015, the Section for Coordination of Developed Countries has held 39 roving seminars in 21 countries. More than 3,000 stakeholders have attended these seminars, he said, and “over 90 percent of all survey respondents either agreed or strongly agreed that the seminar was relevant for their professional work. More than 85 percent either agreed or strongly agreed that the seminars made it more likely that they will use/recommend the use of IP services offered by WIPO in the future.” Participation Vazquez stated that the level of participation in the seminars varies depending on location. For instance, events in Japan and Australia have had over 200 participants, while other events may have 60 or 70 participants. The average number of participants is around 100. Location is a factor in these numbers. “The idea is to reach out to stakeholders that are not exposed to the message of WIPO,” he said, so very often WIPO will go to places that may not be frequently visited. This year so far, events have been held in Brussels, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Wellington, Auckland, Haifa, Beersheba, Turin, Helsinki and Toulouse. Upcoming events include Stuttgart, New York, Spain (Barcelona and two other locations), and Switzerland. Eimear Murphy is a researcher at IP-Watch. She is an LL.M. graduate from American University Washington College of Law in Washington, DC with a specialty in Intellectual Property and Information Policy issues. 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 Eimear Murphy may be reached at email@example.com."WIPO Roving Seminars Reach Out To Stakeholders In Developed Countries" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.