World Intellectual Property Organization

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO; French: Organisation mondiale de la propriété intellectuelle (OMPI)) is one of the 15 specialized agencies[1][2][notes 1] of the United Nations (UN). WIPO was created in 1967 "to encourage creative activity, to promote the protection of intellectual property throughout the world".[5]

World Intellectual Property Organization
Formation14 July 1967 (1967-07-14)
TypeUnited Nations specialised agency
Legal statusActive
HeadquartersGeneva, Switzerland
Francis Gurry
Parent organization
United Nations Economic and Social Council
Politics portal

WIPO currently has 192 member states,[6] administers 26 international treaties,[7] and is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. The current Director-General of WIPO is Francis Gurry, who took office on 1 October 2008.[8] 188 of the UN member states as well as the Cook Islands, Holy See and Niue are members of WIPO. Non-members are the states of Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Palau and South Sudan. Palestine has permanent observer status.[9]


The predecessor to WIPO was the United International Bureaux for the Protection of Intellectual Property (Bureaux Internationaux Réunis pour la Protection de la Propriété Intellectuelle, with the French acronym for "BIRPI"), which had been established in 1893 to administer the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works and the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property.

WIPO was formally created by the Convention Establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization, which entered into force on 26 April 1970.[10] Under Article 3 of this Convention, WIPO seeks to "promote the protection of intellectual property throughout the world". WIPO became a specialized agency of the UN in 1974. The Agreement between the United Nations and the World Intellectual Property Organization[11] notes in Article 1 that WIPO is responsible

for promoting creative intellectual activity and for facilitating the transfer of technology related to industrial property to the developing countries in order to accelerate economic, social and cultural development, subject to the competence and responsibilities of the United Nations and its organs, particularly the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, the United Nations Development Programme and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, as well as of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization and of other agencies within the United Nations system.

The Agreement marked a transition for WIPO from the mandate it inherited in 1967 from BIRPI, to promote the protection of intellectual property, to one that involved the more complex task of promoting technology transfer and economic development.[12]

Unlike other branches of the United Nations, WIPO has significant financial resources independent of the contributions from its Member States. In 2006, over 90 percent of its income of just over CHF 250 million[13] was expected to be generated from the collection of fees by the International Bureau (IB) under the intellectual property application and registration systems which it administers (the Patent Cooperation Treaty, the Madrid system for trademarks and the Hague system for industrial designs).

Development agenda

In October 2004, WIPO agreed to adopt a proposal offered by Argentina and Brazil, the "Proposal for the Establishment of a Development Agenda for WIPO"—from the Geneva Declaration on the Future of the World Intellectual Property Organization.[14] This proposal was well supported by developing countries. The agreed "WIPO Development Agenda"[15] (composed of over 45 recommendations) was the culmination of a long process of transformation for the organization from one that had historically been primarily aimed at protecting the interests of rightholders, to one that has increasingly incorporated the interests of other stakeholders in the international intellectual property system as well as integrating into the broader corpus of international law on human rights, environment and economic cooperation.

A number of civil society bodies have been working on a draft Access to Knowledge (A2K)[16] treaty which they would like to see introduced.

In December 2011, WIPO published its first World Intellectual Property Report on the Changing Face of Innovation, the first such report of the new Office of the Chief Economist.[17] WIPO is also a co-publisher of the Global Innovation Index.[18]

Information network

WIPO has established WIPOnet, a global information network. The project seeks to link over 300 intellectual property offices (IP offices) in all WIPO Member States. In addition to providing a means of secure communication among all connected parties, WIPOnet is the foundation for WIPO's intellectual property services.[19]

Economics and Statistics Division

WIPO's Economics and Statistics Division gathers data on intellectual property activity worldwide and publishes statistics to the public. The Division also conducts economic analysis on how government IP and innovation policies affect economic performance.[20]

World Intellectual Property Indicators

World Intellectual Property Indicators is an annual report published by the WIPO, providing a wide range of indicators covering the areas of intellectual property. It draws on data from national and regional IP offices, the WIPO, the World Bank, and UNESCO.[21] The WIPO have published the reports annually since 2009.[22]


WIPO Directors-General[23]
11970–1973Georg Bodenhausen Netherlands
21973–1997Árpád Bogsch United States
31997–2008Kamil Eltayeb Idris Sudan
42008–Francis Gurry Australia

See also


  1. In some sources,[3][4] the UN indicates that there are 17 specialized agencies, when counting the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), the International Finance Corporation (IFC), and the International Development Association (IDA), all part of the World Bank Group (WBG), as individual specialized agencies.


  1. "REPERTORY OF PRACTICE OF UNITED NATIONS ORGANS SUPPLEMENT No. 10 (2000-2009) - ARTICLE 17(3)" (PDF). United Nations. Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 October 2013. Retrieved 18 September 2013. The number of specialized agencies thus rose to fifteen.
  2. "What are UN specialized agencies, and how many are there?". Dag Hammarskjöld Library. Retrieved 11 March 2018. There are currently 15 specialized agencies: ...
  3. "UN Specialized Agencies". Dag Hammarskjöld Library. Retrieved 11 March 2018. There are 17 Specialized Agencies: ...
  4. "World Bank Group". Dag Hammarskjöld Library / UN System Documentation. Retrieved 11 March 2018. ... IBRD, IFC and IDA are Specialized Agencies of the UN ...
  5. "Convention Establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization signed at Stockholm on 14 July 1967, Preamble, second paragraph".
  6. WIPO. "List of members states of WIPO". Retrieved 4 May 2019.
  7. WIPO. "Treaties administered by WIPO – Consulted 26 June 2013". Retrieved 18 October 2013.
  8. "Francis Gurry is appointed Director General of WIPO – News Archive 2008". Retrieved 27 September 2008.
  9. WIPO (25 November 2011). "Palestine WIPO status". Retrieved 18 October 2013.
  10. "World Intellectual Property Day – 26 April". WIPO. Retrieved 20 April 2011.
  11. WIPO. "Agreement between the United Nations and the World Intellectual Property Organization". Retrieved 18 October 2013.
  12. "Shabalala et al. A Citizen's Guide to WIPO" (PDF). 2007. p. 12.
  13. "WO/PBC/8/3 – Proposed program and budget 2006/2007 estimates 456m fee income out of total 531m income for the biennium" (PDF).
  14. "Consumer Project on Technology web site, ''Geneva Declaration on the Future of the World Intellectual Property Organization''". Retrieved 18 October 2013.
  15. WIPO (6 August 2009). "The 45 Adopted Recommendations under the WIPO Development Agenda". Retrieved 18 October 2013.
  16. "Consumer Project on Technology web site, ''Access to Knowledge (A2K)". Retrieved 18 October 2013.
  17. WIPO (14 November 2011). "World Intellectual Property Report". Retrieved 18 October 2013.
  18. "The Global Innovation Index 2014 – The Human Factor in Innovation". Global Innovation Index.
  19. "World Intellectual Property Organization". United Nations Multilingual Terminology Database. Retrieved 24 February 2008.
  20. "Economics and Statistics Division". WIPO. Retrieved 1 May 2018.
  21. "Launch of World Intellectual Property Indicators – 2015 Edition".
  22. "World Intellectual Property Indicators". World Intellectual Property Organization. 2018. Retrieved 8 July 2019.
  23. Birkbeck, Carolyn Deere (25 March 2016). The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO): A Reference Guide. Edward Elgar Publishing. p. 39. ISBN 9781785364785. Retrieved 24 April 2018.
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