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Archived updates for Thursday, September 20, 2007

WIPO Director General Under Fire As General Assembly Opens

Item No. 12 on the Draft Agenda for the WIPO General Assembly Meetint starting September 24, 2007, entitled "Internal Audit Report Number IAOD/INV/2006/2 of November 2006, and Appropriate Follow-up Thereto As requested by the United States of America," is reportedly generating quite the controversy in international IP circles over whether WIPO Director General Kamil Idris has lost the confidence of member states for allegedly misrepresenting his age during his tenure at the organization.

William New of Intellectual Property Watch reported that the assembly agenda is in draft form until the meeting when, after the election of officers, the member states vote on it:

Developing countries are generally unenthusiastic about targeting a leader from one of their own, especially in an organisation that handles rights mainly owned by developed countries and that was led for many years by a developed country official before Idris. Several officials said there may be discussions about the vote related to countries’ goals or views outside of WIPO, such as the World Trade Organization or World Bank.

Developed countries such as Switzerland, Japan, Canada, Australia, and several in the European Union apparently support the Idris agenda item, but there are some developed countries, particularly the United Kingdom, that did not push for this approach, perhaps because they see the potential for more harm than good for the organisation in holding such a high-profile discussion, sources said.

Some developing country officials and advocates suggested the Idris age issue could be an unnecessary distraction to the General Assemblies’ more important issues, such as endorsing the Development Agenda.

“I would prefer this matter not contaminate the work of the General Assemblies,” Argentine Ambassador Alberto Dumont told Intellectual Property Watch.

PCT fee levels have also drawn crticisim in light of WIPO's current level of reserves. Although WIPO’s preliminary financial report for 2006-2007 showed a surplus in the tens of millions of Swiss francs, the "Proposal by the United States of America to Reflect a 15% Reduction in the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) International Filing and Handling Fees Effective January 1, 2008" was reportedly noted without action during the earlier meeting of the Program and Budget Committee on September 11-14.
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April 07, 2009 1:34 AM  

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