New WIPO External Offices: Candidates At The Door, But What’s In It For WIPO?13/09/2017 by Catherine Saez, 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.For the last two years, World Intellectual Property Organization delegates have been trying to tackle a seemingly unsolvable equation: too many candidate countries for four new WIPO external offices. Yet more time seems necessary to reduce the number of candidates, which show no sign of stepping down, insisting on the value of a WIPO external office. However, some doubts have begun to arise over the benefits of the expansion of WIPO’s network of field offices. The 27th session of the WIPO Program and Budget Committee (PBC), taking place from 11-15 September, is expected to deliver a recommendation to the annual WIPO General Assembly in early October. Delegates today went into informal setting for discussions after a brief public discussion.WIPO external offices provide support services for WIPO-managed intellectual property protection systems related to patents, trademarks and industrial designs, according to WIPO. They also support arbitration and mediation, collective management, development and capacity building.WIPO currently has five external offices (Brazil, China, Japan, Russia, and Singapore).Guiding principles on new field offices were adopted in 2015, and by summer 2016, 18 countries had declared their candidacy (IPW, WIPO, 25 August 2016), while up to three openings were available for the 2016/2017 biennium, and up to three more openings for the 2018/2019 biennium.After intense negotiations, at the WIPO 2016 General Assembly, Nigeria and Algeria were chosen for the 2016/2017 biennium. Ongoing informal discussions have been carried out since to find a way to designate who will fill the four spots still available.Pakistan: No More External Offices NecessaryPakistan taking the floor today (Pakistan is not a candidate) said the utility of WIPO external offices is questionable. “WIPO is already dispensing its role of enhanced engagement with member states by providing global IP services, capacity building, technical assistance, and ensuring effective IP system adequately without external offices,” the delegate said.“It is time to detach ourselves from the euphoric frenzy of blindly replicating [external offices],” she said, underlining the need for a transparent cost-benefit analysis. She also said that a “fresh” new expert level group be called, without the involvement of the WIPO secretariat to ensure unbiased assessment, she said, adding that the group would be expected to deliver an assessment of the costs and benefits of external offices in metric form.Too many countries have proposed to host an external office, she said, which will cause “political bickering and ill-feelings.”Pakistan does not support this “unhealthy trend, which may subsequently drag WIPO into any kind of country-specific politics, may interfere with its role, and badly affect its repute as technical organisation to protect innovation and creativity,” she said.Instead of expanding the external offices, it might be prudent to review the existing approved ones first, she added.Assembly Chair Asks WIPO Opinion on New OfficesLatvian Ambassador Jānis Kārkliņš, chair of the WIPO General Assembly, said the conversation should be guided by the guiding principles and what WIPO would gain in opening external offices in any given country. Very few candidates, he underlined, explained what WIPO would gain by opening an external office in their country.One element missing from the conservation, he said, is the vision of WIPO Director General or of the secretariat on the presence of a WIPO network of external offices in the world. He wondered if it would be feasible to ask WIPO Director General to provide such vision for the next General Assembly, for example.The candidates for 2016/2017 are: Azerbaijan, Colombia (consensus candidate for Latin America), India, Iran, South Korea, Romania, and Turkey.The candidates for 2018/2019 are: Azerbaijan, India, Iran, Oman, South Korea, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates.BackgroundA proposal at the July 2013 session of the Program and Budget Committee by the secretariat to open five new external offices, one in China, one in Russia, one in the United States, and two in Africa triggered a debate in which member states demanded that guiding principles be established for the opening of new external offices, and that the choice of those offices be made by member states (IPW, WIPO, 9 July 2013). The Beijing and Moscow WIPO external offices opened in 2014. Image Credits: Flickr – Ted Van PeltShare 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)RelatedCatherine Saez may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org."New WIPO External Offices: Candidates At The Door, But What’s In It For WIPO?" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.