Highlights from the WIPO Consultation with NGOs, November 2019.

FICPI attended the consultation that WIPO Director General, Francis Gurry, led with non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in Geneva on 26 November 2019. About 50 NGOs attended the two-hour meeting.

DG Francis Gurry informed us that 2018 has been a good year for WIPO: surplus 42.5 MCHF/revenue 430 MCHF. There were about 253,000 PCT filings; 61,000 Madrid filings; and 5,500 Hague filings. 

He noted that AI is needed to deal with the huge amount of IP rights: 3.4 million patents; 10 million trademarks and 1.3 million designs. 

WIPO has already launched the WIPO translate program. In the pipeline are brand image search, classification, IP administration and a speech to text program for report delivery.

A digital time stamping service will be launched in March 2020.

Trade issues are strongly influencing the IP landscape. There are some challenges to the development of multilateral agreements – as the old African proverb goes, “when two elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers” and we would hope that the elephants stop fighting and also allow the grass (the smaller nations) to prosper. 

China has accredited the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center for dispute resolution within the free trade zone in Shanghai; discussions with Beijing are ongoing. This could certainly be of great interest for foreign enterprises.

Further, the Lisbon System (for the international registration and protection of appellations of origins and geographical indications) will enter into force (with 32 member states) as EU has now acceded.