03 October 2017
Reporter: Barney Dixon

IP systems deserve more participation, says WIPO director

Francis Gurry, director general of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), has called for greater global participation in the organisation’s international patent, trademark and design systems.

Speaking at the 57th Series of Assemblies of the Member States of WIPO, Gurry explained that WIPO’s international systems, such as the Patent Cooperation Treaty provide “the best means for managing the growing demand for intellectual property worldwide, as well as for obtaining effective intellectual property protection in the global market”.

Gurry said member states should “consider seriously the benefits of these systems and the possibility of joining them, if they have not already done so”.

WIPO’s IP systems account for 93 percent of its budget, compared to 4 percent from member state contributions.

Gurry also noted WIPO’s “robust” financial situation and looked at potential areas for growth for the organisation.

He suggested that innovation “lies at the heart of the mission of IP”, but noted that innovation brings its own challenges, through rapid advancement of technology, which leaves judiciaries dealing with IP cases related to questions that have gone unaddressed by lawmakers.

Gurry added that WIPO was looking into “the rapidly developing area of big data, the internet of things and artificial intelligence”.

“The area has enormous implications and a multiplicity of dimensions, many of which lie well beyond the focus of IP, and considerable care will need to be exercised to ensure that we do not stray far from the mandate of the organisation.”

He said: “A different side of the coin is the impact of the classical IP system on big data and artificial intelligence. In particular, how is the IP system performing in this area in the discharge of its basic mission of encouraging and diffusing innovation? There are many questions here and our knowledge base is only just developing.”

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