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Archived updates for Thursday, October 06, 2005

WIPO Concludes General Assembly

The Assemblies of the member states of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) concluded on Wednesday, October 5, 2005, following a review of activities over the past year and agreement on the agenda of the Organization for the next year. Here are some of the highlights from the WIPO press release:

Member states agreed to continue efforts to enhance the development dimension in all of the Organization’s work by establishing a provisional committee to accelerate and complete discussions on proposals relating to a WIPO development agenda. This committee will build on the results of three inter-sessional intergovernmental meetings (IIMs) which were held earlier this year following a decision by member states at the 2004 General Assembly. For more information, please see http://www.wipo.int/edocs/prdocs/en/2005/wipo_pr_2005_425.html.

Member states agreed on a work plan for talks on the draft Substantive Patent Law Treaty (SPLT) which aims to simplify and achieve greater convergence among national and regional patent laws and practices. The decision calls for a 3-day informal open forum to be held in Geneva in the first quarter of 2006 on all issues that have been raised in the draft SPLT or that member states wish to include in that draft. These issues will be discussed with contributions from speakers "reflecting a balance of geographical representation and perspectives and technical expertise."

Member states may submit proposals for issues and speakers for the forum until November 15, 2005 and the final program will be published in January 2006 following consultations that will be conducted by the Chair of the WIPO General Assembly with interested member states. A three-day informal session of the SCP will be convened shortly after the open forum to agree on a work program – taking into account the discussions in the open forum – for the SCP. Thereafter, an ordinary session of the SCP will be held to initiate this work program. The General Assembly will consider the progress made in September 2006. For more information, please see http://www.wipo.int/edocs/prdocs/en/2005/wipo_pr_2005_426.html.

The General Assembly extended the mandate of the Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore (IGC) for two years and agreed to continue accelerated work on IP and traditional knowledge, genetic resources and folklore with a focus on the international dimension. The renewed mandate, in line with the General Assembly’s 2003 directions to the IGC, excludes no outcome, including the possible development of an international instrument or instruments in this field. For more information, please see http://www.wipo.int/edocs/prdocs/en/2005/wipo_pr_2005_421.html and http://www.wipo.int/edocs/prdocs/en/2003/wipo_pr_2003_362.html.

Member states also reviewed the status of reform of the PCT and considered proposals concerning future work in this regard. They also endorsed a number of proposed amendments to PCT regulations to help applicants avoid loss of rights in certain circumstances while maintaining an appropriate balance between the interests of applicants and third parties. These amendments will take greater advantage of modern information and communications technology in the publication of PCT applications and will strengthen the international search with the addition of patent documents from the Republic of Korea to the PCT minimum documentation used in carrying out international searches.

This move is a response to the ever-increasing number of first patent filings being made with the Korean Intellectual Property Office, particularly in the fields of information technology and biotechnology, making these documents a valuable source of technical information. Member states also agreed to include Arabic as a language of publication of the PCT, thereby making the system more accessible to a wider range of applicants from developing countries. Delegates also reviewed other recent developments in PCT minimum documentation, in particular, the inclusion of a wide range of traditional knowledge-related periodicals in the non-patent literature and the status of a project aimed at developing a Search Guidance Intellectual Property Digital Library (SGIPDL) to help examiners in the choice of documentation to be considered when conducting an international search.

The General Assembly also reviewed WIPO's activities in relation to the protection of intellectual property in the Internet Domain Name System (DNS) and took note of the status of its 2002 recommendations in relation to the Second WIPO Internet Domain Name Process, which process concerned the relationship between domain names and certain types of identifiers other than trademarks. Recommendations for the protection in the DNS of the names and acronyms of international intergovernmental organizations (IGOs) and the names of countries continue to be under consideration by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) which is responsible for management of the DNS. A number of delegations expressed concern about the lack of progress on this matter at ICANN.

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