World Intellectual Property Organization

World Intellectual Property Organization
Emblem of the United Nations.svg
WIPO Logo New.png
AbbreviationWIPO
OMPI
Formation14 July 1967
TypeUN Specialized Agency
Legal statusActive
HeadquartersGeneva, Switzerland
Head
Director-General of the WIPO Francis Gurry
Parent organization
wipo.int
WIPO members
  Members
  Non-members
WIPO HQ, Geneva.

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO; French: Organisation mondiale de la propriété intellectuelle (OMPI)) is one of the 15 specialized agencies[1][2][notes 1] of the United Nations (UN). WIPO was created in 1967 "to encourage creative activity, to promote the protection of intellectual property throughout the world".[5]

WIPO currently has 191 member states,[6] administers 26 international treaties,[7] and is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. The current Director-General of WIPO is Francis Gurry, who took office on 1 October 2008.[8] 188 of the UN member states as well as the Cook Islands, Holy See and Niue are members of WIPO. Non-members are the states of Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Solomon Islands and South Sudan. Palestine has permanent observer status.[9]

History

The predecessor to WIPO was the United International Bureaux for the Protection of Intellectual Property (Bureaux Internationaux Réunis pour la Protection de la Propriété Intellectuelle, with the French acronym for "BIRPI"), which had been established in 1893 to administer the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works and the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property.

WIPO was formally created by the Convention Establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization, which entered into force on 26 April 1970.[10] Under Article 3 of this Convention, WIPO seeks to "promote the protection of intellectual property throughout the world". WIPO became a specialized agency of the UN in 1974. The Agreement between the United Nations and the World Intellectual Property Organization[11] notes in Article 1 that WIPO is responsible

for promoting creative intellectual activity and for facilitating the transfer of technology related to industrial property to the developing countries in order to accelerate economic, social and cultural development, subject to the competence and responsibilities of the United Nations and its organs, particularly the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, the United Nations Development Programme and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, as well as of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization and of other agencies within the United Nations system.

The Agreement marked a transition for WIPO from the mandate it inherited in 1967 from BIRPI, to promote the protection of intellectual property, to one that involved the more complex task of promoting technology transfer and economic development.[12][need quotation to verify]

Unlike other branches of the United Nations, WIPO has significant financial resources independent of the contributions from its Member States. In 2006, over 90 percent of its income of just over CHF 250 million[13] was expected to be generated from the collection of fees by the International Bureau (IB) under the intellectual property application and registration systems which it administers (the Patent Cooperation Treaty, the Madrid system for trademarks and the Hague system for industrial designs).

Development agenda

In October 2004, WIPO agreed to adopt a proposal offered by Argentina and Brazil, the "Proposal for the Establishment of a Development Agenda for WIPO"—from the Geneva Declaration on the Future of the World Intellectual Property Organization.[14] This proposal was well supported by developing countries. The agreed "WIPO Development Agenda"[15] (composed of over 45 recommendations) was the culmination of a long process of transformation for the organization from one that had historically been primarily aimed at protecting the interests of rightholders, to one that has increasingly incorporated the interests of other stakeholders in the international intellectual property system as well as integrating into the broader corpus of international law on human rights, environment and economic cooperation.

A number of civil society bodies have been working on a draft Access to Knowledge (A2K)[16] treaty which they would like to see introduced.

In December 2011, WIPO published its first World Intellectual Property Report on the Changing Face of Innovation, the first such report of the new Office of the Chief Economist.[17] WIPO is also a co-publisher of the Global Innovation Index.[18]

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