Intellectual property WIPO refers to intangible property that is created with mental effort and protected by treaties administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the intellectual property (IP) laws of the Member States of the WIPO. The main purpose of WIPO is to promote the protection of IP throughout the world via collaboration and cooperation with countries and international organizations. It helps creators of inventions and other creative works prevent their IP rights from being infringed.

What Is Intellectual Property?

IP is a creation of the mind, such as an invention, artistic or literary work, design, or a symbol, name, or image used for commercial purposes. The purpose of IP laws is to encourage the development of new technologies, inventions, and artistic expressions while facilitating economic growth.

Since IP is protected by law, it enables creators to gain and maintain recognition or benefit financially from their creations. The IP law system can foster an environment that supports the flourishing of innovation and creativity by balancing the interests of creators and the general public. There are many different types of IP rights, and the most common ones are:

  • Copyrights
  • Patents
  • Trademarks
  • Industrial designs
  • Geographical indications and appellations

What Is WIPO?

WIPO is an international organization that serves to promote the global protection of copyrighted materials and industrial property, such as:

  • Musical works
  • Literary works
  • Photographic works
  • Artistic works
  • Inventions
  • Designs
  • Trademarks

Headquartered in Geneva, the organization was established in 1967, started operations in 1970, and became a United Nations specialized agency in 1974. With a membership consisting of over 180 countries, it establishes IP-related policies mainly through the General Assembly, which takes place once every two years. In addition, it holds a conference biennially to determine its budget and programs.

Core Areas of the World Intellectual Property Organization

The activities of WIPO are divided into three main areas:

  • Progressive development of global IP law
  • Provision of assistance to developing nations in the development of IP capacity at regional and national levels, and promotion of the use of IP as an effective tool for economic development
  • Provision of services to the private sector and industries to facilitate the process of attaining IP protection in multiple countries

The World Intellectual Property Organization works closely with its member countries to promote IP around the world and ensure that every member is able to reap the benefits of an affordable and effective IP protection system to enhance economic development and wealth creation.

With the emergence and growth of the knowledge economy, IP issues are becoming more critical to regional, national, and international policy-making in many aspects of the economic endeavor. Demystifying IP is one of its most important objectives of WIPO as it attempts to create consensus and inclusive dialogue with every stakeholder. The long-term goal of the organization is to develop an IP culture founded on broad-based knowledge of IP and true respect for IP rights.

WIPO's Engagement with External Actors

The World Intellectual Property Organization has liaison offices in Washington D.C., New York, Brussels, and Singapore to act as strategic channels for strengthening contacts with the global IP community, nongovernmental organizations, industry leaders, and the civil society.

The offices have established mutually-beneficial working relationships and work closely with organizations outside WIPO's traditional scope of cooperation and consultation. They are now proving to be valuable partners of the organization. The activities of these offices typically involve briefing industry representatives, business and professional associations, nongovernmental organizations, and the civil society on IP in general, as well as specific areas of IP of concern to them and WIPO's role in promoting and protecting IP. Briefings are typically delivered through seminars, workshops, and symposia.

Since its establishment, WIPO has been cooperating with non-governmental organizations working in the IP field. Currently, more than 250 national and global nongovernmental organizations have observer status in WIPO meetings. They include a wide variety of groups from different industries and the civil society.

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