World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO)

World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO)


Basics and Background:
  • WIPO is one of the oldest specialised agencies of United Nation’s (UN).
  • WIPO was created in 1967 “to encourage creative activity, to promote the protection of intellectual property throughout the world”.
  • WIPO currently administers 26 international treaties.
  • It is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.
  • Every year World Intellectual Property Day” is being celebrated on 26th April.

Intellectual Property (IP)
  • Intellectual Property (IP) is a category of property that includes intangible creations of the human intellect, and primarily encompasses copyrights, patents and trademarks.
  • It also includes other types of rights, such as trade secrets, publicity rights, moral rights, and rights against unfair competition.


Types of Intellectual Properties:
  • Copyrightcovers literary works (such as novels, poems and plays), films, music, artistic works (e.g., drawings, paintings, photographs and sculptures) and architectural design. Rights related to copyright include those of performing artists in their performances, producers of phonograms in their recordings, and broadcasters in their radio and television programs.
  • Industrial Propertyincludes patents for inventions, trademarks, industrial designs and geographical indications.


Patents: Patents are exclusive rights granted by the Government to a company/individual for an invention. Patents are time bound. For ex: In India patents are granted for a period of 20 years from the date of filing of the patent application. It is also to be noted that the patents are valid only within the territory where they have been granted. Once a patent expires, protection ends and the invention enters the public domain.
Trademark: Trademark is a word, or symbol, or phrase, or design, or any combination of these, which identifies and distinguishes the source or origin of a product or service. Other forms of identifying features which have come to be recognised as trademarks include particular colour combinations, smells and sounds (for example, an advertisement jingle), textures, packaging, shapes, etc. The period of protection varies, but a trademark can be renewed indefinitely upon payment of the corresponding fees.
Design: Design refers to the features of shape, configuration, pattern, ornamentation or composition of lines or colours applied to any article, in two or three dimensional (or both) forms. It may be applied by any industrial process or means (manual, mechanical or chemical) separately or by a combined process, which in the finished article appeals to and is judged solely by the eye. Term of protection granted is generally five years, with the possibility of further renewal, in most cases for a period of up to 15 years.
Geographical Indication: A geographical indication is a sign used on goods that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation due to that place of origin. Most commonly, a geographical indication consists of the name of the place of origin of the goods.

Timeline of WIPO:
1883 Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial property First step taken to protect intellectual work in other countries.

It covers:

· Inventions(patents),

· Trademarks,

· Industrial Designs.

1886 Berne Convention For the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works.

It covers:

· Novels, short stories, poems, plays;

· Songs, opera, musicals;

· Drawings, paintings, sculptures, architectural works.

1891 Madrid Agreement The first international IP filing service is launched.
1893 BIRPI established Two secretariats set up to administer the Paris and Berne Conventions combine to form the United International Bureaux for the Protection of Intellectual Property (BIRPI).
1970 BIRPI becomes WIPO WIPO becomes a member state-led intergovernmental organization.
1974 WIPO joins the United Nations WIPO become one of the agencies of UN.
1978 Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) system launched By filing one international patent application under the PCT, applicants can simultaneously seek protection for an invention in a very large number of countries.
1994 Arbitration and Mediation Centre (AMC) established The Centre offers alternative dispute resolution services to help solve international commercial disputes between private parties.


Membership of WIPO:
  • WIPO currently has 191 member states.
  • All member states of the UN are entitled, though not obliged, to become members of the specialized agencies like WIPO.
  • 188 of UN member states as well as Cook Islands, Holy See and Niue are members of WIPO.
  • Palestine has permanent observer status.
  • Some 250 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and intergovernmental organizations (IGOs) have official observer status at WIPO meetings.
  • India joined WIPO in 1975.


Functions of WIPO:
  • Policy forum to shape balanced international IP rules for a changing world.
  • Global services to protect IP across borders and to resolve disputes.
  • Technical infrastructure to connect IP systems and share knowledge.
  • Cooperation and capacity-building programs to enable all countries to use IP for economic, social and cultural development.
  • A world reference source for IP information.


Treaties of WIPO:
Name Purpose Acceded/Ratified?
WIPO Performance and Phonograms Treaty Deals with the rights of two kinds of beneficiaries, particularly in the digital environment:

§ Performers (actors, singers, musicians, etc.); and

§ Producers of phonograms (persons or legal entities that take the initiative and have the responsibility for the fixation of sounds).

India has acceded to this agreement.
Budapest Treaty International Recognition of the Deposit of Microorganisms for the Purposes of Patent Procedure. India has acceded to the treaty.
Madrid Protocol for the International Registration of Marks Provides for the international registration of trade marks by way of one application that can cover more than one country. India has acceded to the protocol.
Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works by Visually Impaired Persons and Persons with Print Disabilities The treaty allows for copyright exceptions to facilitate the creation of accessible versions of books and other copyrighted works for visually impaired persons. India has ratified the treaty.
WIPO Copyright Treaty A special agreement under the Berne Convention which deals with the protection of works and the rights of their authors in the digital environment. India has acceded to the treaty.


Publications By WIPO:
  • Global Innovation Index (GII) –an annual ranking of countries by their capacity for, and success in, innovation.
  • It is published by Cornell University, INSEAD, and the WIPO, in partnership with other organisations and institutions.
  • The 2020 edition of the Global Innovation Index (GII) presents the latest global innovation trends and the annual innovation ranking of 131 economies.
  • India has climbed 4 spots and has been ranked 48th (52nd in 2019) by the WIPO in the Global Innovation Index 2020 rankings.


Components of GII
Five input pillars capture elements of the national economy that enable innovative activities under GII are:


1. Institutions,

2. Human capital and research,

3. Infrastructure,

4. Market sophistication, and

5. Business sophistication.

Two output pillars capture actual evidence of innovation outputs: 1. Knowledge and technology outputs and

2. Creative outputs


India’s performance in 2020:
  • In midst of the COVID -19 pandemic, it comes as uplifting news for India and is a testament of its robust R&D Ecosystem.
  • The WIPO had also accepted India as one of the leading innovation achievers of 2019 in the central and southern Asian region, as it has shown a consistent improvement in its innovation ranking for the last 5 years.


World Intellectual Property Indicators 2019:
  • World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has released the World Intellectual Property Indicators 2019.
  • In 2018, patent filings around the world exceeded by around 3 million, representing a 5.2% growth over 2017 figures.
  • The global growth in IP filings was driven by China which accounted for over 50% of IP filings including patents, trademarks and design.
  • The US was ranked second as it witnessed a 1.6% fall in patent filings, which is the first decline for the country in the previous decade.
  • India was among the top ten countries of the total (resident and abroad) Intellectual Property (IP) filing activity by origin.
  • India saw over 20% growth in trademark filing whereas in respect of industrial design filing activity, it witnessed a 13.6% rise.


India’s initiatives for IPR protection
WTO: India has been a member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) since 1995. This requires member nations to establish Intellectual Property (IP) laws whose effect is in line with minimum standards.
Copyright: India is a signatory to the Berne Convention on copyright. Copyrights Act and Information Technology Act, 2000 (for copyright in electronics and digital field) govern the laws for copyright in India.
Patents: India’s Patents Act of 1970 and 2003 Patent Rules govern the law concerning patents. The regulatory authority for patents is the Patent Registrar within the department of the Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trade Marks, which is part of India’s Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
Designs: Law on industrial designs are governed by Designs Act, 2000 under DIPP, Ministry of Commerce and industry.
Geographical Indications: The GIs are governed under Geographical Indications of Goods Act, 1999 under DIPP, Ministry of Commerce and industry.
Traditional Knowledge: A Traditional Knowledge Digital Library has been created to safeguard and bring together traditional knowledge at one platform through collaboration – between the CSIR and the Department of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy (Dept. of AYUSH), Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India.


India’s National Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Policy, 2016

“Creative India; Innovative India: रचनात्मक भारत; अभिनव भारत”


  • The National IPR Policy is a vision document that encompasses and brings to a single platform all IPRs. It views IPRs holistically, taking into account all inter-linkages and thus aims to create and exploit synergies between all forms of intellectual property (IP), concerned statutes and agencies. It sets in place an institutional mechanism for implementation, monitoring and review. It aims to incorporate and adapt global best practices to the Indian scenario.
  • Policy aims to push IPRs as a marketable financial asset, promote innovation and entrepreneurship, while protecting public interest.
  • The plan will be reviewed every five years in consultation with stakeholders.
  • To ensure strong and effective IPR laws, steps would be taken – including review of existing IP laws.
  • The policy is entirely compliant with the WTO’s agreement on TRIPS.
  • Special thrust on awareness generation and effective enforcement of IPRs, besides encouragement of IP commercialisation through various incentives.
  • India will engage constructively in the negotiation of international treaties and agreements in consultation with stakeholders.
  • It suggests making the department of industrial policy and promotion (DIPP) the nodal agency for all IPR issues.
  • Copyrights related issues will also come under DIPP’s ambit from that of the Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry.
  • Films, music, industrial drawings will be all covered by copyright.
  • The Policy also seeks to facilitate domestic IPR filings, for the entire value chain from IPR generation to commercialisation. It aims to promote research and development through tax benefits.
  • The policy left the country’s patent laws intact and specifically did not open up Section 3(d) of the Patents Act, which sets the standard for what is considered an invention in India, for reinterpretation.
  • Compulsory licensing (CL) remains intact and compliant with

Limitations and Exceptions:
  • In order to maintain an appropriate balance between the interests of right holders and users of protected works, copyright laws allow certain limitations on economic rights.
  • These are cases in which protected works may be used without the authorization of the right holder and with or without payment of compensation.
  • Limitations and exceptions is an issue considered in the agenda of the WIPO.
  • The debate has been focused mainly on three groups of beneficiaries or activities in relation to exceptions and limitations – on educational activities, on libraries and archives and on disabled persons, particularly visually impaired persons.

Chronological development of IPR in India:
1947 Patents & Designs Act, 1911
1995 India joins WTO
1998 India joins Paris Convention/PCT
1999 Patent amendment provided EMR retrospectively from 1/1/95
2005 Patents (Amendment) Act 2005
2013 India was the first country to ratify the Marrakesh Treaty 2013 for Access to copyright works for visually impaired persons. India also joins Madrid Protocol.
2016 India’s IPR Policy


Way Forward:
  • India needs a clear and tough stance on intellectual property both in domestic policy and at the multilateral level.
  • Support for innovation has to be accompanied with instruments that guard local companies against the misuse of market power, coercive bargaining and aggressive acquisition strategies.
  • India needs to spread awareness on IPR in public and for its traditional industries to enable fair monetisation of IP Rights.
  • It needs to safeguard its patents, copyrights and traditional knowledge by ensuring easy IPR rules.


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