On November 26th, IFLA was once again at WIPO, at a meeting organised by the secretariat for Non-Governmental Organizations.

The NGOs’ meeting with the WIPO Director-General

Many observers came to share their views on the various fields covered by WIPO including copyright, patents, trademarks, and industrial designs.

Director-General Francis Gurry made a very positive assessment of the organisation in good financial shape. WIPO now has 26 multilateral treaties including the Marrakesh Treaty (on access to adapted works for people with visual impairments), which is currently the organisation’s most successful.

Director-General Gurry also spoke about important issues within WIPO, including artificial intelligence (AI), which is one of the many questions the intellectual property regime faces, and the rapid evolution of disruptive technologies in general. A report will soon be published on this subject (early 2020) to highlight the scientific progress made since 1950. In addition to this, another document will be published at the end of the month on the consequences of artificial intelligence.

The meeting was also an opportunity to underline the importance of the collaboration between WIPO and NGOs.

The upcoming election of a new Director-General

WIPO will see the election of a new Director General in early 2020. Several candidates have already been declared (see the list of candidates). The candidate will be nominated by the Coordination Committee for the post of Director-General in March, and will be formally appointed in May.

IFLA will work to build a strong relationship with the holder of the post from May, in order to underline the contribution libraries make to innovation and access to information, and how WIPO can help.

Next steps for SCCR preparation

IFLA was also able to discuss with delegates the next steps to deliver on the mandate of the International Conference and the Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR): “The objective would be to consider the opportunities and challenges provided by various international solutions including soft law, contractual/licensing and normative approaches, as appropriate.

With European Union countries due to implement new preservation provisions in the next two years, we hope that this will provide the absis for a consensus on similar measures globally at the next SCCR session (29 June – 3 July 2020).

We would like to use this opportunity to thank delegates involved with us for their time.