Musical chairs: WIPO unveils new leadership team

UPDATE: On Friday, 27 November 2020, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) published document WO/CC/79/2, Appointment of Deputy Directors General and Assistant Directors General, in all six United Nations languages (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish) confirming the information KEI revealed the day before.

Document WO/CC/79/2 provided extensive detail on the selection process for WIPO’s senior management team.

Following the invitation issued on August 3, 2020 by the then Director General-Elect for Member States to nominate candidates for the posts of DDG and ADG, a total of 49 applications were received, of which 26 per cent were female and 74 per cent were male. Each of these applicants were then invited to individual meetings with the Director General, which took place between October 13 and November 20, 2020. The applicants were considered carefully in order to evaluate their requisite experience, intended contribution to the Organization, technical and managerial competence, as well as leadership qualities and ability to work as a team, with due regard to equitable geographic and gender balance.

In relation to the posts of Deputy Directors General, WIPO provided the following information.

    7. The successful candidates for the posts of Deputy Director General will take responsibility for the following sectors:

    a) The Patents and Technology Sector, which will administer the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) and the Organization’s programs relating to the law of patents, as well as their full practical application. This Sector will be assigned to Ms. Lisa Jorgenson (United States of America).

    (b) The Brands and Designs Sector, which will administer the Madrid System for International Trademark Registrations; the Hague System for International Design Registrations; the Lisbon System for International Registrations of Appellations of Origin; and the Organization’s programs relating to the law of trademarks, industrial designs and geographical indications, as well as their full practical application. This Sector will be assigned to Ms. Wang Binying (China).

    (c) The Copyright and Creative Industries Sector, which will cover the Organization’s programs relating to copyright and related rights; and its work in supporting creators and the creative industries. This Sector will be assigned to Ms. Sylvie Forbin (France).

    (d) The Regional and National Development Sector, which will cover the Organization’s programs relating to the WIPO Development Agenda; the use of IP to support the growth and development, in an impactful manner, of developing countries and their relevant regions and sub-regions, and support, in particular, to least developed countries (LDCs). This Sector will be assigned to Mr. Hasan Kleib (Indonesia).

WIPO provided the following information on the posts of Assistant Directors General, including the creation of a new sector,IP and Innovation Ecosystems Sector to be led by Marco Alemán of Colombia.

    8. With regard to the posts of Assistant Directors General, work across the Organization has increased substantially since 2014, as evidenced by the growing demands from Member States for its services, as well as increased requests from Member States for the Organization to support them in using innovation and creativity as tools for economic and social development.

    9. Member States are keen to tap into the expertise of the Organization for the development of their intellectual property (IP) and innovation ecosystems to drive enterprise growth, especially for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), and more broadly as a catalyst for economic growth. As such, the Organization will need to develop a specific focus on programs that look at IP not just from a legal perspective, but also from the enterprise and economic perspectives, supporting the movement of ideas to the market. It is therefore proposed to regularize the fourth post of an Assistant Director General, with responsibility over these substantive areas.

WIPO provided the following names regarding successful candidates for the posts of Assistant Directors General.

    10.The successful candidates for the posts of Assistant Director General will take responsibility for the following sectors:

    (a) The Infrastructure and Platforms Sector, which will cover developing, implementing and maintaining the various databases, tools and platforms of the Organization that are targeted at and used by IP offices, IP professionals, researchers, and other specialized users in national, regional and global IP and innovation ecosystems. It will also include the use of technologies such as Artificial Intelligence to enhance and support the effectiveness and impact of these databases, tools and platforms. This Sector will be assigned to Mr. Kenichiro Natsume (Japan).

    (b) The Global Challenges and Partnerships Sector, which will cover issues relating to traditional knowledge, traditional cultural expressions and genetic resources; lead efforts to work with other UN agencies and international organizations on cross-cutting global issues; build on and expand partnerships with stakeholders, including those from international, business and civil society sectors; and reach out to new stakeholders such as youths. This Sector will be assigned to Mr. Edward Kwakwa (Ghana).

    (c)The IP and Innovation Ecosystems Sector, which will cover the issues highlighted in paragraph 9 above, including support for researchers and SMEs in commercializing IP and using it for business growth; the emergence of IP as an asset class; and the development of legislative and policy advisory expertise in these areas and beyond. This Sector will be assigned to Mr. Marco Aleman (Colombia).

    (d) The Administration, Finance and Management Sector, which will cover key administrative functions that underpin the operational success and financial viability of the Organization, including: Legal; Finance; Program Performance and Budget; Information and Communication Technology, Digitalization and Data; Procurement and Travel Services; Conference and Language Services; Safety and Security; and Premises and Infrastructure. This Sector will be assigned to Mr. Andrew Staines (United Kingdom).

Thursday, 26 November 2020

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is convening an extraordinary session of the WIPO Coordination Committee on Thursday, 3 December 2020 to formally appoint the senior management team to lead WIPO’s activities on, inter alia, patents, copyright, trademarks, development, and global challenges. According to sources close to the organization, WIPO convened a small, high-level meeting today (26 November 2020) to communicate Director General Daren Tang’s decision on his choices for the senior management team of Deputy Directors General and Assistant Directors General.

According to informed sources, WIPO’s senior management team will be comprised of the following individuals. The formal list of appointees is expected to be published on Friday, 27 November 2020 on WIPO’s webpage.

  • Deputy Director General – Patent and technology: Lisa Jorgensen, United States of America
  • Deputy Director General – Brands and Designs: Binying Wang, China
  • Deputy Director General – Copyright and creative industries: Sylvie Forbin, France
  • Deputy Director General – Regional and national development sector: Hassan Kleib, Indonesia
  • Assistant Director General – Infrastructure and platforms: Kenichiro Natsumi, Japan
  • Assistant Director General – Global challenges and partnerships: Edward Kwakwa, Ghana
  • Assistant Director General – IP and innovation ecosystems: Marco Alemán, Colombia
  • Assistant Director General – Administrative finance sector: Andrew Staines, United Kingdom
  • Thiru

    Thiru Balasubramaniam is the Geneva Representative of Knowledge Ecology International. Prior to his post as KEI’s Geneva Representative, Mr. Balasubramaniam worked at Health Action International in Colombo and at the World Health Organization in Geneva as a technical officer in the Department of Essential Drugs and Medicines Policy dealing with access to medicines and intellectual property. He began his career with CPTech working on issues related to health care and intellectual property. Mr. Balasubramaniam holds a B.A. in Economics and a Minor in European History from the University of Pennsylvania.