[Ip-health] WIPO General Assemblies Statement by U.S. Ambassador Betty E. King

Thiru Balasubramaniam 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  
increase efficiencies.

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 organization.

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  
a whole.

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.


Thiru Balasubramaniam
Geneva Representative
Knowledge Ecology International (KEI)
thiru at keionline.org

Tel: +41 22 791 6727
Mobile: +41 76 508 0997

More information about the Ip-health mailing list