BY, INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY WATCH
Attracting a World Intellectual Property Organization external office appears to be a critical priority for a number of countries that have put forward their candidacy for four possible new openings. During the WIPO Program and Budget Committee this week, some of those candidates delivered presentations highlighting their most striking assets, such as bridging continents, region, and economic blocs. But discussions could not lead to the chosen winners this week.
According to WIPO, external offices (EOs) add “clear value, efficiency and effectiveness to program delivery and respond to the specific needs and priorities of the countries and regions they serve.”
“The External Offices provide cost-effective support services in relation to the PCT [Patent Cooperation Treaty], Madrid [Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks], and Hague [Hague Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs] systems; arbitration and mediation; collective management; and development and capacity building,” the WIPO webpage explains.
After intense negotiations, last October the annual WIPO General Assembly reached a decision on some much-coveted offices (IPW, WIPO, 12 October 2016). At that time, the candidacies of Algeria and Nigeria, which were designated as candidate countries by the African Group (IPW, WIPO, 25 August 2017) were accepted.
In 2015, the General Assembly agreed [pdf] on the number of external offices to be opened in the two next biennia (2016/2017 and 2018/2019), and on a set of “guiding principles” (page 5 of the decision) to help member states decide on which external office to open.
The 2015 General Assembly decided that no more than three external offices should be opened in a biennium.