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The WIPO. Its functions and capabilities

April 3, 2019

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) was established by the United Nations Organization to resolve various conventions for the protection of intellectual property. The main activity of the WIPO is dedicated to the development of the balanced and available international system of intellectual property, which provides rewards for creative activities, stimulates innovation and contributes to an economic development, while observing the interests of the society.

The WIPO determines intellectual property as a result of a person’s particular creative activity. It covers two main sections – industrial property and copyright. In accordance with the WIPO provisions, inventions, utility models, industrial designs, trademarks, collective marks, service marks shall be referred to the industrial property, and literary, musical, artistic, photographic, cinematographic and other works shall be referred to the copyright.

The WIPO main functions shall be: promoting the development of the activities designed to improve the protection of intellectual property throughout the world and to harmonize the national legislation in this area; performing the administrative functions of the Paris Union, the special Unions formed in connection with this Union, and the Berne Union; assuming the administration of the implementation of any other international treaty designed to promote the protection of intellectual property, or participating in such administration; facilitating the conclusion of the international treaties designed to promote the protection of intellectual property; offering cooperation to the states requesting legal and technical assistance in the field of intellectual property; collecting and disseminating the information relating to the protection of intellectual property, implementing and promoting the research in this field and publishing the results of such research; ensuring the activities of the services implementing the international protection of intellectual property, and, if appropriate, implementing the registration in this area, as well as publishing the information relating to this registration.

As it follows from the said list of the WIPO functions, its activities are diversified. The most important activity of the WIPO is the administrative management for the Unions included in it. Currently, the WIPO administers 26 treaties and agreements related to the protection of industrial property: the Locarno Agreement; the Nice agreement; the Strasbourg Agreement; the Vienna Agreement; the Budapest Treaty; the Hague Agreement; the Lisbon Agreement; the Madrid Agreement for Trademarks; the Madrid Protocol; the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT); the Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performances; the Berne Convention; the Brussels Convention; the Madrid Agreement for an Indication of the Origin; the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired, or Otherwise Print Disabled; the Nairobi Treaty; the Paris Convention; the Patent Law Treaty; the Phonograms Convention; the Rome Convention; the Singapore Treaty on the Law of Trademarks; the Trademark Law Treaty; the Washington Treaty; the WIPO Copyright Treaty; the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty.

In accordance with the founding documents, the WIPO has four governing authorities: the General Assembly, the Conference, the Coordination Committee and the International Bureau.

The General Assembly is the WIPO international authority, which has the authority to solve the main issues of the activities of this organization. In particular, the General Assembly solves the following issues: appoints the Director General of the WIPO; reviews and approves the reports of the WIPO Director General, the Coordination Committee and gives them all necessary instructions; adopts a three-year budget of expenses common to the Unions; approves the measures proposed by the WIPO Director General concerning the implementation of the international treaties; adopts the WIPO Financial Regulations; determines the working languages of the Secretariat; invites states to become the parties to the Convention. The General Assembly is composed of the states that are the parties to the Convention, which establishes the WIPO, and that are the members of any of the Unions, which are administered by the WIPO.

The Conference is the WIPO authority composed of the states that are the parties to the Convention, which establishes the WIPO, regardless of their membership in any Union, which is administered by the WIPO. The Conference solves the following issues: discusses the issues of a common interest in the field of intellectual property, and may adopt appropriate recommendations, taking into account the competence and independence of the Unions; adopts within the budget of the Conference a three-year program of the legal and technical assistance; adopts amendments to the Convention, which establishes the WIPO; identifies the states that are not the member of the WIPO, as well as the intergovernmental and international organizations that may be admitted to the Conference sessions as observers.

The Coordination Committee serves as an advisory and executive authority of the General Assembly and the Conference. The Coordination Committee solves the following issues: provides advices to the authorities of the Unions, the General Assembly, the Conference and the Director General of the WIPO on all administrative, financial and other issues of a common interest for two or more Unions or for one or more Unions and the WIPO; prepares a draft agenda for the General Assembly; prepares a draft agenda, as well as the drafts of the program and the budget of the Conference; adopts the corresponding annual budgets and programs on the basis of the three-year budget of expenses common to the Unions, and the three-year budget of the Conference, as well as on the basis of the three-year program of the legal and technical assistance; before the expiration of the term of powers of the WIPO Director General, or when his post becomes vacant, submits to the General Assembly a candidate for his appointment to this post; if the post of the Director General of the WIPO becomes vacant during the period between two sessions of the General Assembly, appoints the Acting Director General for the period until the WIPO new Director General of takes office.

The International Bureau performs the functions of the WIPO Secretariat. It is headed by the Director General of the WIPO and prepares the drafts of the budgets and programs, the reports on the WIPO activities, brings them to the attention of the governments of the interested states and the competent authorities of the Unions and the WIPO. The International Bureau acts as a depositary of the majority of the agreements, administered by the WIPO.

The WIPO spares major efforts to ensure the recognition of the existing international treaties in the field of intellectual property, to update and to revise them, to develop new international treaties.

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Author of article

Marianna Boykova

Marianna Boykova

Patent Attorney