Washington, DC. IIPI coordinated a briefing on Capitol Hill today for a delegation including senior officials from the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). More than 50 people, including private sector representatives and Congressional staff members, gathered for a noon luncheon to discuss the policies of the WIPO. The event was hosted by Congresswoman Diane Watson (D-CA) and sponsored by the US Committee for the WIPO with support from the Congressional Economic Leadership Institute ( CELI ).
Bruce Lehman with Congresswoman Watson, Hon. Gerald Mossinghoff (US Committee Board Member), Suzanne Stoll and Yoshiyuki TAKAGI

“To say that I am excited about this briefing would really be an understatement,” said Congresswoman Watson in her opening remarks. Ms. Watson is a former US Ambassador to Micronesia and member of the House Committee on International Relations. “Providing assistance for the global protection of intellectual property is beneficial for the United States and our fellow member nations. Treaties that protect US intellectual property interests are essential in this growing global economy.”

IIPI coordinated the briefing as part of its on-going campaign to raise awareness of the role effective intellectual property enforcement plays in economic development. “The World Intellectual Property Organization is a terribly important institution and the US is by far its largest stakeholder,” said IIPI Senior Consultant Art Sackler.” “It’s critical for US business leaders and policymakers to understand the work and policies of WIPO. We are delighted that Congresswoman Watson has given her time and personal commitment to address the role of this important organization.”

“In the best interest of the international community, we must make sure that the United States contributes its fair share in support of WIPO,” said Congresswoman Watson. “Such resources allow WIPO to provide the technical assistance and legal training necessary to assist nations around the world. Once equipped, these member nations can successfully address such problems as piracy and copyright infringement.”

In 2002 Congresswoman Watson introduced legislation in support of a $1 million dollar voluntary contribution to WIPO, in addition to the annual member state dues of approximately $900,000. This money would be targeted toward assisting developing countries in implementing institutions and building capacity to claim their role in the global intellectual property community. Watson plans to re-introduce the legislation in the 108th Congress. Developing countries “must be encouraged to develop their own export revenues from intellectual property,” she said. “Support from the international community will encourage these nations to invest their resources in IP protection and gain a new positive perspective on intellectual property.”

Based in Geneva, Switzerland, the WIPO is a specialized UN agency that administers over twenty major intellectual property treaties and assists 170 member nations in the global protection of patents, copyright and trademarks. In addition, WIPO also helps countries build their intellectual property institutions, such as their local Patent Registration Office. The WIPO delegation included Mr. Yoshiyuki Takagi, Senior Director of the Office of Strategic Planning and Policy Development; Mr. Joachim Muller, Controller; Mr. José Blanch, Deputy Controller; Mr. Jay Alan Erstling, Director of the Office of the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), and Suzanne Stoll, Washington Coordinator for WIPO.