Viet Nam’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Duong Chi Dung, is chairing the General Assembly of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) in Geneva.
WIPO is the global forum for intellectual property policy, services, information and cooperation. It is a specialised agency of the UN, assisting its 192 member states in developing a balanced international IP legal framework to meet society’s evolving needs.
Gurry said new tools were needed to assist IP offices around the world to deal with the massive increase in the volume of IP applications, noting that the organisation has been “at the forefront of the development and deployment of new artificial intelligence (AI) applications for this purpose.”
Gurry welcomed a conversation among member states on AI and IP, saying: “We are getting to the stage where we can see a process going forward for the identification of the issues that are important in the intellectual property field in this very challenging area of a new general purpose technology in the form of artificial intelligence.”
He said neglect of the multilateral system could lead to incoherence in the regulatory framework that applies to these internationally deployed technologies. “Ultimately, a race to develop the global rule or solution through national or regional regulatory competition, as opposed to a multilateral approach, will erode the value of the technologies themselves and their useful economic and social deployment. Technical operability depends on regulatory operability.”
He accordingly presented a comprehensive written report to the Assemblies but in his opening statement highlighted a few of the organisation’s many achievements, including:
- In a positive sign for multilateralism, a record year in 2018 for accessions to WIPO-administered treaties, with 59 new accessions.
- Record use of WIPO’s global IP systems, notably the international patent, trademark and design systems.
- Significant growth of the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center, which is handling a growing number of domain name disputes and has recently become the only non-Chinese entity providing dispute resolution services for the .CN and .中国 ccTLDs.
- The recent launch of a new Global IP Portal that provides a more uniform customer experience for the full range of services offered by the Organization in a single interface.
- Widening participation in the Organization’s databases, IT platforms, systems and services.
- Growth in participation in the WIPO Academy programs.
- Growth in the Organization’s public-private partnerships, in particular WIPO Re:Search and the Accessible Books Consortium.
- Growing interest and audiences for WIPO’s flagship publications, including the Global Innovation Index.
- Implementation of a number of projects relating to appropriate technology for least developed countries.
Speaking to the agenda of the Assemblies, Gurry called on member states to adopt the program and budget for the 2020/21 biennium. He said major progress had been made in the Program and Budget Committee in preparation for the Assemblies and only one item was outstanding.
He also urged member states to agree on the convening of a diplomatic conference to adopt the proposed Design Law Treaty. The agreement would benefit designers seeking design protection by simplifying and harmonizing a number of filing rules that currently vary greatly by country.
Further, Gurry welcomed reaction to a proposed new and improved system for record management of meetings as well as a digital time stamping service providing IP services that are appropriate for the digital age and hoped these would be adopted by member states.
He thanked WIPO staff for their “dedicated professionalism” and ability to adapt to the digital transformation of the organisation. He also underlined the organisation’s commitment to geographical and gender diversity.
The WIPO Assemblies are meeting from September 30 to October 9, 2019.