WIPO Assemblies Close, Marked by Robust Growth in Treaty Accessions, Guidance on Future Work
The WIPO Assemblies meetings ended with robust growth in countries adhering to the treaties that underpin the global intellectual property (IP) system, signaling the strength of multilateral engagement by the membership, while delegates agreed new guidance on WIPO’s future work.
During the September 24-October 2, 2018 meetings, member states agreed to push forward with negotiations on proposed treaties on broadcasting as well as IP and genetic resources, traditional knowledge and folklore, and a Design Law Treaty.
This, together with nine new accessions or ratifications of WIPO treaties, showed member states’ strong engagement with the IP systems administered by WIPO and underlined the member states’ commitment to the multilateral system, said WIPO Director General Francis Gurry.
“Intellectual property rights form the incentive structure for innovators and creators worldwide, while the treaty-based global IP system administered by the WIPO secretariat facilitates orderly cross-border trade in the technological and cultural products that foster growth and improve lives everywhere,” said Mr. Gurry.
During the Assemblies, WIPO member states joined many of the Organization’s treaties, including:
- Azerbaijan joined the Marrakesh Treaty, as the 42nd country to deposit an instrument of accession to the Treaty. The Treaty eases the creation and transfer across national boundaries of texts specially adapted for use by visually impaired people.
- Côte d’Ivoire joined the Geneva Act of the Lisbon Agreement on Appellations of Origin and Geographical Indications as its second contracting party. The Geneva Act will enter into force after five eligible parties accede or ratify it.
- The European Union joined the Marrakesh Treaty, bringing the number of countries covered by the agreement to 70.
- India joined the WIPO Copyright Treaty and the WIPO Performances and Phonogram Treaty – known together as the “Internet Treaties”. India’s accession brings the total number of contracting parties to the “Internet Treaties” to 97 each.
- Japan joined the Marrakesh Treaty, bringing the number of countries covered by the agreement to 71.
- Malawi joined the Madrid System for the International Registration of Marks, bringing the International Trademark System to 118 countries covered.
- Peru joined two WIPO treaties during the WIPO Assemblies: the Singapore Treaty on the Law of Trademarks and as the 21st member of the Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performances, which will enter into force after it is joined by 30 contracting parties.
Throughout the Assemblies, delegates worked together to shape and evolve the global IP system. Among other actions (in agenda order) taken at the WIPO Assemblies, delegates:
- Agreed that the composition of key WIPO committees would be decided at the 2019 WIPO Assemblies;
- Approved the amendments to the WIPO Independent Advisory Oversight Committee Terms of Reference and to the Internal Oversight Charter;
- Decided to request the Chair of the General Assembly to continue consultations with a view to making a recommendation to the 2019 General Assembly on opening up to four WIPO External Offices in the 2018/2019 biennium, including in Colombia;
- Directed the Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) to make its best efforts to achieve consensus on the remaining outstanding issues related to the proposed treaty during its next two meetings. The SCCR was also directed to take stock at the second meeting, and, if consensus is reached, to propose a recommendation to the 2019 WIPO General Assembly with a date and venue for a diplomatic conference to adopt the broadcasting treaty text;
- Decided that it will continue considering the convening of a diplomatic conference on the Design Law Treaty, to take place at the end of the first half of 2020;
- Called on the Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore (IGC) to expedite its work in accordance with the IGC’s mandate for 2018 and 2019;
- Adopted an amendment to the PCT Regulations allowing international preliminary examination to begin earlier in order to give more time for dialogue between the applicant and the examiner;
- Adopted an application form for an Office or intergovernmental organization to use when seeking appointment as an International Searching and Preliminary Examining Authority under the PCT;
- Noted the progress made in 2017 regarding the Madrid System Goods and Services Manager (an online tool that helps applicants and offices in the classification of goods/services) and adopted a set of uniform Regulations for the Madrid Protocol, underscoring that the Protocol is now the sole treaty governing the Madrid System;
- Adopted amendments to the Hague Common Regulations that relaxed the procedures relating to the appointment of representatives before the WIPO Secretariat;
- Adopted amendments to the Schedule of Fees included in the Common Regulations under the Lisbon Agreement for the Protection of Appellations of Origin and their International Registration and the Geneva Act of the Lisbon Agreement on Appellations of Origin and Geographical Indications to introduce a reduction of 50 percent for least developed countries (LDCs) in respect of international registrations and modifications; the fee reductions will start to apply three years after the entry into force of the Geneva Act of the Lisbon Agreement.
In addition, WIPO and the research-based pharmaceutical industry launched a new online tooldesigned to help procurement agencies better understand the global patent status of medicines. The Patent Information Initiative for Medicines (Pat-INFORMED) is a unique resource where patent holders provide information about patents covering approved medicines through a free, open access database.
On the occasion of the Assemblies, the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center agreed with six further member states to work together to develop and promote ways of resolving IP disputes outside the courts. The Center also informed member states that it had received a record number of Internet domain name cases filed by trademark holders.
WIPO Member States organized a series of events and exhibitions on the sidelines of the Assemblies, including those by Poland, the Baltic States, the CACEEC grouping, Republic of Korea, Japan, Moldova, Portugal, United Arab Emirates, Argentina, Peru and Croatia. Full coverage, including a series of WIPO Secretariat informational sessions, can be found on the Assemblies Spotlight page.
The General Assembly was chaired by Ambassador Duong Chi Dung, Viet Nam’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations and other International Organizations in Geneva. In closing remarks, he thanked delegations for their active engagement throughout the Assemblies.