The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) - Activities



A. Assistance to Developing Countries

One of the main objectives of WIPO is to assist developing countries in the fields of both industrial property and copyright.

In the field of industrial property, WIPO's chief aims are the following: (1) to encourage and increase, in quantity and quality, the creation of patentable inventions in developing countries by their own nationals and in their own enterprises and thereby to increase their technological self-reliance; (2) to improve conditions for the acquisition of foreign patented technology; (3) to increase the competitiveness of developing countries in international trade through better protection of trademarks; and (4) to make it easier and cheaper for developing countries to locate the technological information contained in patent documents.

In the field of copyright, the main objectives are the following:

  1. to encourage and increase the creation of literary and artistic works in developing countries by their own nationals and thereby to maintain their national culture in their own languages and corresponding to their own ethnic and social traditions and aspirations; and
  2. to improve conditions for the acquisition of the right to use or enjoy the literary and artistic works in which copyright is owned by foreigners.

In order to attain these objectives, most developing countries need to create or modernize domestic legislation and governmental institutions, accede to international treaties, and have more specialists in the fields of industrial property and copyright.

Members of WIPO and of the Paris and Bern Unions
(W = WIPO, P = Paris, B = Bern) (as of 15 October 2002)

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)

Albania W, P, B
Algeria W, P, B
Andorra W
Angola W
Antigua and Barbuda W, P, B
Argentina W, P, B
Armenia W, P, B
Australia W, P, B
Austria W, P, B
Azerbaijan W, P, B
Bahamas W, P, B
Bahrain W, P, B
Bangladesh W, P, B
Barbados W, P, B
Belarus W, P, B
Belgium W, P, B
Belize W, P, B
Benin W, P, B
Bhutan W, P
Bolivia W, P, B
Bosnia and Herzegovina W, P, B
Botswana W, P, B
Brazil W, P, B
Brunei Darussalam W
Bulgaria W, P, B
Burkina Faso W, P, B
Burundi W, P
Cambodia W, P
Cameroon W, P, B
Canada W, P, B
Cape Verde W, B
Central African Republic W, P, B
Chad W, P, B
Chile W, P, B
China W, P, B
Colombia W, P, B
Congo W, P, B
Congo, (DRC) W, P, B
Costa Rica W, P, B
Côte d'Ivoire W, P, B
Croatia W, P, B
Cuba W, P, B
Cyprus W, P, B
Czech Republic W, P, B
Denmark W, P, B
Djibouti W, P, B

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)

Dominica W, P, B
Dominican Republic W, P, B
Ecuador W, P, B
Egypt W, P, B
El Salvador W, P, B
Equatorial Guinea W, P, B
Eritrea W
Estonia W, P, B
Ethiopia W
Fiji W, B
Finland W, P, B
France W, P, B
Gabon W, P, B
Gambia W, P, B
Georgia W, P, B
Germany W, P, B
Ghana W, P, B
Greece W, P, B
Grenada W, P, B
Guatemala W, P, B
Guinea W, P, B
Guinea-Bissau W, P, B
Guyana W, P, B
Haiti W, P, B
Holy See (Vatican) W, P, B
Honduras W, P, B
Hungary W, P, B
Iceland W, P, B
India W, P, B
Indonesia W, P, B
Iran, Islamic Republic of W, P
Iraq W, P
Ireland W, P, B
Israel W, P, B
Italy W, P, B
Jamaica W, P, B
Japan W, P, B
Jordan W, P, B
Kazakhstan W, P, B
Kenya W, P, B
Korea, Democratic People's
Republic of W, P
Korea, Republic of W, P, B
Kuwait W
Kyrgyzstan W, P, B
Laos W, P

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)

Latvia W, P, B
Lebanon W, P, B
Lesotho W, P, B
Liberia W, P, B
Libyan Arab Jamahiriya W, P, B
Liechtenstein W, P, B
Lithuania W, P, B
Luxembourg W, P, B
Madagascar W, P, B
Malawi W, P, B
Malaysia W, P, B
Mali W, P, B
Malta W, P, B
Mauritania W, P, B
Mauritius W, P, B
Mexico W, P, B
Moldova, Republic of W, P, B
Monaco W, P, B
Mongolia W, P, B
Morocco W, P, B
Mozambique W, P
Myanmar W
Namibia W, B
Nepal W, P
Netherlands W, P, B
New Zealand W, P, B
Nicaragua W, P, B
Niger W, P, B
Nigeria W, P, B
Norway W, P, B
Oman W, P, B
Pakistan W, B
Panama W, P, B
Papua New Guinea W, P
Paraguay W, P, B
Peru W, P, B
Philippines W, P, B
Poland W, P, B
Portugal W, P, B
Qatar W, B
Romania W, P, B
Russian Federation W, P, B
Rwanda W, P, B
St. Kitts and Nevis W, P, B
St. Lucia W, P, B

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)

St. Vincent and the Grenadines W, P, B
Samoa W
San Marino W, P
São Tomé and Príncipe W, P
Saudi Arabia W
Senegal W, P, B
Seychelles W, P
Sierra Leone W, P
Singapore W, P, B
Slovakia W, P, B
Slovenia W, P, B
Somalia W
South Africa W, P, B
Spain W, P, B
Sri Lanka W, P, B
Sudan W, P, B
Suriname W, P, B
Swaziland W, P, B
Sweden W, P, B
Switzerland W, P, B
Syrian Arab Republic P
Tajikistan W, P, B
Thailand W, B
The Former Yugoslav
Republic of Macedonia W, P, B
Togo W, P, B
Tonga W, P, B
Trinidad and Tobago W, P, B
Tunisia W, P, B
Turkey W, P, B
Turkmenistan W, P
Uganda W, P
Ukraine W, P, B
United Arab Emirates W, P
United Kingdom W, P, B
United Rep. of Tanzania W, P, B
United States of America W, P, B
Uruguay W, P, B
Uzbekistan W, P
Venezuela W, P, B
Vietnam W, P
Yemen W
Yugoslavia W, P, B
Zambia W, P, B
Zimbabwe W, P, B

WIPO's assistance consists mainly of advice, training, and the furnishing of documents and equipment. Advice is given by the staff of WIPO, by experts chosen by WIPO, or at international meetings convened by WIPO. Training may be individual (on-thejob) or collective (in courses, seminars, and workshops) and may take place in the interested developing country, in an industrialized country, or in another developing country. The resources for such activities are provided in WIPO's budget or from donor countries or organizations, particularly UNDP.

In 2001, more than 8,000 men and women from some 140 developing countries benefitted from the 350 courses, seminars, and other meetings held under WIPO's cooperation for development program. In addition, the International Bureau gave advice and assistance to officials from newly independent governments of the former Soviet Union in connection with the preparation and enactment of intellectual property laws, the establishment of industrial property offices, as well as adherence to WIPO-administered treaties. In particular, the International Bureau advised the Interstate Council on the Protection of Industrial Property (which groups nine states from the former Soviet Union: Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, the Republic of Moldova, the Russian Federation, Tajikistan, Ukraine, and Uzabekistan) on a plan to set up a regional patent system under the Eurasian Patent Convention.

B. Other Activities

In order to adapt the treaties administered by WIPO to changing circumstances and needs, a constant watch is kept to see whether they need to be revised. The Paris Convention, for example, has had six revisions, the last in Stockholm in 1967, and the Bern Convention has had five, the last in Paris in 1971. WIPO also keeps international classifications of patents, trademarks, and industrial designs under review in order to keep them up-to-date.

In addition, WIPO observes changes in international industrial, trade, and cultural relations that seem to call for adaptations not only in the treaties administered by WIPO but also in national laws, regional arrangements, contractual practices, and professional activities in the field of intellectual property.

Thus, for example, in the field of industrial property, WIPO is considering the possibilities of uniform provisions in national patent laws, particularly concerning the effects on the patentability of an invention or a public disclosure of the invention by the inventor prior to filing a patent application. It also advocates laws and treaty provisions that would give more efficient protection against the counterfeiting of goods and would protect the intellectual creators of microchips or integrted circuits and inventions in biotechnology, including genetic engineering.

In the field of copyright, WIPO has been engaged, in some cases jointly with UNESCO, in recommending laws for the protection of computer programs, for works created by employee-authors, for expressions of folklore, for more effective protection of authors and performers in connection with cable television, and for protection against piratical editions of books, phonograms, and videotapes and excessive unauthorized reproduction. WIPO is also studying the copyright law aspects of the rental of phonograms and videograms, of direct broadcast satellites, and of electronic libraries and the possibility of creating an international register of audiovisual works.

In 1993, WIPO established the WIPO Worldwide Academy to conduct encounter sessions on current intellectual property issues at the policy level for government officials from developing countries. WIPO also awarded to three nationals from developing countries the first long-term scholarships to institutions in industrialized countries for intellectual property law studies.

The WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center was established in July 1994 to offer enterprises and individuals four dispute-settlement procedures: mediation, arbitration, expedited arbitration (for small-scale disputes), and a combined procedure of mediation and arbitration.

The rise in the use of the Internet in the late 1990s and into the 2000s presented challenges for the intellectual property system in guaranteeing the orderly development of the digital society. WIPO developed the Digital Agenda, a work program to be developed in the new millennium, to respond to the connections between the Internet, digital technologies, and the intellectual property system. The Digital Agenda also aims to integrate developing countries into the Internet environment.

WIPO is also developing a project called WIPOnet, a global intellectual property information network. It will facilitate the digital exchange of intellectual property information between member states, and work to develop global standards and guidelines for the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights.

International Registrations

The International Patent Documentation Center, established in Vienna in 1972 under an agreement between WIPO and the government of Austria, puts on computer the principal bibliographic data of almost 1 million patent documents a year and permits the retrieval of the data required for various purposes by patent offices, industry, and research and development institutions. The financial and operational responsibility lies with the Austrian government, but WIPO assists the center in its contacts with the patent offices of the various countries.

The International Bureau of WIPO, in Geneva, maintains four registration services in the fields of patents, trademarks, industrial designs, and appellations of origin.



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