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December 15, 2017 Vol. 72 No. 21 Back to Bulletin Main Page

Highlights of the 2017 WIPO Assemblies


INTA was represented in the 57th series of meetings of the Assemblies of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the Unions administered by WIPO, held in Geneva from October 2–11 by INTA President Joe Ferretti (PepsiCo, Inc., USA) and Bruno Machado, INTA Geneva Representative. In the general statements segment of the plenary, INTA drew attention to restrictions being imposed on brands without due consideration of the need to balance diverse policy objectives. This statement is available here.

Among the decisions and conclusions reached by the Assemblies, a summary of which is available here on the WIPO website under meeting document number A/57/11, ADD 1 through 7, the following may be of particular interest to members.

Program and Budget for the 2018‒2019 Biennium


For the first time in the organization’s history, the income forecasted in the Program and Budget of WIPO as adopted for the 2018‒2019 biennium reaches, and exceeds, the 800 million Swiss Francs mark. Some 95 percent of such income is expected to come from fees paid by users of the international registration systems (mainly the Patent Cooperation Treaty (76.4 percent) and Madrid (17 percent)), and just over 4 percent from contributions paid by WIPO member states.

Divergences of views nevertheless remain regarding the methodology for the allocation of income and expenditure among the unions. Discussions on the methodology will continue in the WIPO Program and Budget Committee next year.

Madrid Union

On the first day of the Assemblies (October 2), Indonesia deposited its instrument of accession to the Madrid Protocol, bringing the membership of the Protocol to 100.

In the plenary, several delegations, namely the delegations of Canada, Ethiopia, Jamaica, Malawi, Samoa, Sri Lanka, and Trinidad and Tobago, mentioned steps being taken by their governments to accede to the Madrid Protocol. Moreover, the delegation of China referred to the decision of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) to implement the international trademark registration system under the Madrid Protocol in the Hong Kong SAR.

In the Assembly of the Madrid Union, the delegation of the EU drew attention to the changes that entered into force on October 1 in the requirements for the reproduction of nontraditional marks (particularly sound marks) under the EU Trade Mark Regulation and stated that the EU and its member states stood ready to work with WIPO and the members of the Madrid Union to find solutions so that such requirements may be met in international applications designating the EU and that international applications originating from the EU and meeting those requirements may be accommodated within the Madrid system.

Hague Union


In the plenary, a number of delegations, namely the delegations of Canada, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Madagascar, Thailand, and the UK, expressd the intention of their governments to accede to the Geneva Act of the Hague Agreement.

Lisbon Union

The Assembly of the Lisbon Union adopted common regulations under the Stockholm (1967) Act of the Lisbon Agreement for the Protection of Appellations of Origin and their International Registration and the Geneva (1915) Act of the Lisbon Agreement on Appellations of Origin and Geographical Indications, and decided that those regulations would enter into force on the date of entry into force of the Geneva Act.

Design Law Treaty

Much to the dismay of user groups, the political deadlock over the convening of a diplomatic conference for the adoption of the Design Law Treaty, a draft of which was finalized by the Standing Committee on the Law of Trademarks, Designs and Geographical Indications in 2014, could, once more, not be overcome. The matter will be considered again by the General Assembly of WIPO at its next session, in the autumn of 2018, with a view to convening the diplomatic conference at the end of the first half of 2019.

External Offices

Currently, WIPO has five external offices, in Rio de Janeiro, Beijing, Tokyo, Moscow, and Singapore. At its 2015 session, the General Assembly of WIPO decided to establish three new external offices in each of the 2016‒2017 and 2018‒2019 bienniums, at locations to be determined by the Assembly; and at the 2016 session it was decided that two of these offices would be established in Algeria and Nigeria, respectively.

No agreement could be reached this year on the selection of the seats of the four remaining external offices. Candidates for the 2016‒2017 biennium were Azerbaijan, Colombia (supported by all Latin American countries), India, Iran, the Republic of Korea, Romania, and Turkey. Candidates for the 2018‒2019 biennium were Azerbaijan, India, Iran, Oman, the Republic of Korea, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates. It was decided that the 2018 General Assembly will consider opening up to four WIPO External Offices for the 2018‒2019 biennium, including in Colombia.

Although every effort has been made to verify the accuracy of items in the INTA Bulletin, readers are urged to check independently on matters of specific concern or interest.

© 2017 International Trademark Association