The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) - Structure

The Paris and Bern unions each have an assembly consisting of the member states, meeting biennially. An executive committee elected by the General Assembly, consisting of one-fourth of the member states, meets annually. The other unions, in most cases, have an assembly but no executive committee.

WIPO itself has four organs: the General Assembly, the Conference, the Coordination Committee, and a secretariat called the International Bureau.

General Assembly

The General Assembly consists of all states party to the WIPO Convention that are also members of any of the unions. It meets biennially and has the highest authority of all the organs.


The Conference consists of all states party to the WIPO Convention, whether or not they are members of one or more of the unions. It meets biennially to discuss matters of general interest in the field of intellectual property, as well as to establish WIPO's program of technical legal assistance and the budget for that program.

Coordination Committee

The Coordination Committee meets annually. It consists of executive committee members of the Paris or the Bern union or both.

International Bureau

The International Bureau, located in Geneva, is the secretariat of the various governing bodies of WIPO and the unions. In 2002 it consisted of a staff of 859 people from 86 different countries, headed by a Director General. Arpad Bogsch, of the US, was elected to successive terms as Director General since the establishment of WIPO in 1974. In 1997 he was replaced by Kamil Idris of Sudan as Director General.

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