The Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), Dr. Kamil Idris, and the President of the Inter-American Association of Intellectual Property (ASIPI), Mr. Martín Michaus, met at WIPO's Geneva headquarters on June 12, 2007 to review bilateral cooperation and outline a program of joint activities for ASIPI member states. The talks between Dr. Idris and the high level ASIPI delegation related to issues of mutual concern including possible collaboration between the two organizations to promote use and further development of intellectual property (IP), particularly with respect to the international patent and trademark systems, in the Americas.
Dr. Idris reviewed WIPO's on-going activities in the field of international IP standard-setting. In relation to patents, they discussed efforts to reform the international patent system which aim to simplify, streamline and achieve greater convergence among national law and practice in the examination and grant of patents. In the area of trademarks, the Director General referred to ongoing work within WIPO's Standing Committee on the Law of Trademarks, Industrial Designs and Geographical Indications (SCT), which recently decided to step up work on a number of topical issues including representation of new types of marks and trademark opposition procedures which offer third parties the opportunity to object to a trademark either before or after it was registered with a trademark office.
The ASIPI delegation was also briefed on the on-going work of the Intergovernmental Committee (IGC) on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge (TK) and Folklore. The IGC first met in 2001 to advance understanding of how IP systems can work more effectively to protect TK and TCEs (folklore), and to deal with IP aspects of genetic resources.
The meeting reviewed efforts to foster an open debate among policy-makers and business sectors in the Latin American region to promote better understanding of the potential commercial advantages of using trademarks and other distinctive signs (collective marks, certification marks and geographical indications), particularly in the context of expanding market access and export promotion. ASIPI also praised the work being done by WIPO to revise the international classification for distinctive signs and urged the Organization to complete the trilingual database for registering goods and services. Discussions also covered ways to boost use of the IP system by small and medium-sized enterprises to enhance their commercial development and improve their competitiveness in a highly integrated marketplace.
The Director General and the President of ASIPI also emphasized the importance of enforcement of IP rights. The ASIPI delegation was briefed on the Third Global Congress on Combating Counterfeiting and Piracy, convened earlier this year by WIPO, the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) and the World Customs Organization (WCO), with the support and cooperation of a number of private sector organizations including the International Trademark Association (INTA) and the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC). This high level international gathering called for an even greater marshalling of efforts and resources to counter the escalation in counterfeiting and piracy which threatens consumer health and safety and undermines economic development. ASIPI invited WIPO to coordinate the organization of joint activities and programs to train officials involved in IP enforcement, in particular judges.
The meeting also discussed alternative dispute resolution (ADR) for IP related disputes, which is gaining importance in the regulatory process for the settlement of disputes. WIPO's Arbitration and Mediation Center was established in 1994 to offer ADR for the resolution of international commercial disputes between private parties. Developed by leading experts in cross-border dispute settlement, the arbitration, mediation and expert determination procedures offered by the Center are widely recognized as particularly useful for technology, entertainment and other disputes involving IP. The Center is also the leading services provider for disputes relating to the abusive registration of trademarks as domain names.
ASIPI is a non-profit organization which brings together concerned IP professionals to study, disseminate and develop IP issues. It groups more than 1,000 members from the Americas. The visiting ASIPI delegation also included, Mr. Fernando Triana (Colombia), Vice President of ASIPI, Mr. Hugo Berkemeyer (Paraguay), Former President, ASIPI, Mr. Juan Vanrell (Uruguay), Secretary of ASIPI, Mr. Rafael Covarrubias (Chile), Treasurer of ASIPI, Mr. José Barreda (Peru), President of the International Committee of ASIPI, and Mr. Marino Porzio (Chile), Attorney-at-law and former Deputy Director General of WIPO.