[A2k] WIPO General Assemblies Statement by U.S. Ambassador Betty E. King
thiru at keionline.org
Mon Sep 27 23:25:18 PDT 2010
WIPO General Assemblies Statement by Ambassador Betty E. King
WIPO General Assemblies Statement
by Ambassador Betty King
September 21, 2010
Thank you, Mr Chairman,
Allow me to begin by welcoming and thanking the President of the World
Intellectual Property Organization General Assembly, and also your
vice-chairs. We are confident that you will ably guide our discussions
this week. The US Delegation would also like to thank the
International Bureau of WIPO for its hard work in preparing for these
meetings. The documentation before us is both well drafted and
comprehensive. I would also like to underline our support of the
statement made by the distinguished delegate of Switzerland on behalf
of Group B.
WIPO’s ongoing strategic re-alignment (SRP) process has worked to
reform the Organization’s programs, resources and structures with a
new set of strategic goals. These have enabled WIPO to respond more
effectively to the rapidly evolving technological, cultural and geo-
economic environment, as well as to respond to the urgent global
challenges of today, which IP can have a role in addressing.
Through the use of four-core values, the Strategic re-alignment will
enable WIPO to achieve its strategic goals and to provide global
leadership on intellectual property (IP) issues. In particular, the
core-value concerning accountability for results, will be key for WIPO
in its work to achieve results and improve tracking of results and
The United States underlines its complete support on the recent
actions WIPO has taken to build a responsive and efficient
Organization that is to meet its mandate in providing global
leadership on intellectual property issues. In particular, the Medium
Term Strategic Plan (MTSP) for 2010 – 2015, the on-going result’s-
based management framework initiative, and the Enterprise Resource
Planning System (ERP) which this past Program and Budget Committee
(PBC) took a decision on to devote significant resources to improving
WIPO’s management and administration performance.
The United States greatly welcomes these efforts, and in particular,
DG Gurry’s MTSP as it is an important contribution to this overall
important process at WIPO to have accountability for results.
At a time when governments and businesses around the globe are
struggling with economic difficulties, the U.S. also realizes it is
more important than ever that WIPO continue to work to maintain tight
fiscal discipline in the budget, and to include initiatives to
The United States also welcomes the agreement reached from the second
session of the Working Group on the Audit Committee concerning the
composition of the new Audit Committee. This will enable WIPO and its
Member States to continue to benefit from the oversight services of
this new Committee next year.
The U.S. plans to continue to work with Member States and Director
General Gurry to assist in the creation of a better functioning, more
effective World Intellectual Property Organization that will improve
its substantive work; establish its primacy on Intellectual Property
Rights (IPR) policy issues in the UN; and increase its IPR-related
development activities, while making sure staffing and spending are
streamlined, and respect for IPR continues to be the major emphasis of
The U.S. is increasing our coordination on IPR outreach with WIPO’s
Communications and Outreach Section, and with several WIPO member
countries. We believe that improved awareness and education about the
use and protection of IP is critical for improving the IPR system, and
we are working with WIPO to better connect Member States, NGOs, the
private sector and U.S. officials engaged in IPR outreach efforts.
With regard to the work of IP offices, the U.S. believes that Global
Worksharing is key to helping us meet the increasing challenge of
efficiently managing the workloads faced by offices throughout the
world, while at the same time delivering the highest possible quality.
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) currently has a
number of worksharing projects underway with international offices.
For example, the Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) framework is one
important step toward the goal of maximizing reutilization of work
done by other offices.
We are looking to increase participation in these worksharing projects
by orders of magnitude so that we can truly see the benefits of
worksharing, including genuine time and cost savings for applicants as
well as patent offices worldwide.
How? By looking for and removing unnecessary burdens for
participation; by finding new office-led worksharing initiatives; and
by listening to our applicants for new and better ways to reutilize
the work of other offices.
To accomplish the goal of reutilizing work and maximizing the use of
Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) work products, we have established a
PCT Task Force within the USPTO that is looking into how the PCT can
function more effectively.
For the USPTO to maximize its timeliness and quality, the Task Force
will examine the USPTO’s actions as receiving Office, International
Searching Authority, and International Preliminary Examination
With the Task Force’s review of our procedures, and input from PCT
applicants and others, we hope to improve the USPTO’s PCT operations
internally, as well as have further ideas on how to improve the PCT as
We are aiming to integrate the PCT into all of our worksharing
efforts, including Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) and SHARE.
The U.S. Copyright Office and WIPO presented a joint International
Training in March 2010 in Washington, D.C. for developing countries
and countries in transition on emerging issues in copyright and
related rights pertaining to persons with print disabilities.
The agenda included training on the relevant international legal and
business frameworks, case studies on existing exceptions for the print
disabled worldwide, technical standards for accessible materials, the
role of trusted intermediaries, market considerations, and information
reports on the Word Blind Union treaty proposal and WIPO’s
Stakeholders Platform. The Copyright Office plans to offer a similar
training program on copyright issues affecting developing countries
and countries in transition during the upcoming year.
The United States was honored that one of our own living cultural
treasures – Mr. Stevie Wonder – was asked by Director-General Gurry to
address the assembly on an issue that is very important to the United
States in its work at the Standing Committee on Copyright and Related
Rights (SCCR): the establishment of proper, effective international
legal norms to provide copyrighted materials to persons with print
disabilities. This is one of several issues before the SCCR, but we
believe it is one on which progress can and should be achieved quickly.
The United States believes profoundly that copyright law fosters
creativity, supports economic development and is, in the words of our
Supreme Court, an “engine of free expression.” At the same time, we
are committed to policies – domestic and international — that ensure
everyone has a chance to get the information and education they need,
to live independently as full citizens in their communities, and to
participate in cultural life.
After extensive consultations domestically, the United States
Government concluded that new legal norms are needed in international
copyright law to address the needs of persons with print disabilities.
It has become clear to us that the most pressing problem – the one
identified repeatedly by experts – is the cross-border distribution of
special format materials made for persons with print disabilities,
whether these special format materials are made under copyright
exceptions in national law or special licensing arrangements.
Therefore, the United States believes that WIPO’s first goal should be
to reach international consensus on the cross-border exchange of
special format materials for persons with print disabilities in all
To this end, in June 2010, the United States proposed a “consensus
instrument” that could unequivocally establish new international norms
for the exportation and importation of special format copies – first,
as a Joint Recommendation of these General Assemblies.
We further believe this initial Joint Recommendation could be a step
toward the development of a treaty establishing basic copyright
limitations and exceptions for persons with print disabilities.
The United States acknowledges the other proposal that have been made,
all demonstrating WIPO’s genuine engagement on this issue. These
include [a] the introduction in 2009 by Brazil, Ecuador, and Paraguay
of a proposed treaty for copyright exceptions for persons with print
disabilities that had been drafted by Knowledge Ecology, the World
Blind Union, the DAISY consortium, and other, [b] the European Union’s
2010 proposal for a General Assemblies Joint Recommendation, and [c]
the African Group’s own broader proposal in 2010 for a protocol on
copyright exceptions and limitations.
Stevie Wonder’s songs are full of optimism and hope, seasoned by
realism and having known life’s challenges. His songs reminds us that
“every problem has an answer” and that we should all be living for and
working toward a “future paradise.” Building that better future for
persons with print disabilities will require commitment and compromise
from all WIPO Members, but the United States believes that we can and
should make immediate progress on answers to this problem.
Mr. Chairman, be assured that the United States will constructively
engage in our discussions this week with the aim of finding outcomes
that are acceptable to all WIPO Member States.
We wish you every success in your role as Chairman of this Assembly.
Thank you Mr. Chairman.
Knowledge Ecology International (KEI)
thiru at keionline.org
Tel: +41 22 791 6727
Mobile: +41 76 508 0997
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