Francis Gurry has been formally endorsed as the new director general of WIPO on the opening day of the UN agency's General Assembly, which is taking place in Geneva. Gurry was nominated for the post back in May following an election process in which he defeated José Graça Aranha, the candidate from Brazil by one vote. Subsequent to the election, the Brazilian government expressed its disquiet at the result and there was talk of a challenge to Gurry's nomination. However, that clearly did not materialise; or, if it did, it was unsuccessful. Gurry will take up his new position on 1st October. He has one hell of a job on his hands.
STOP PRESS: Here is a link to the oficial WIPO report of Gurry's appointmnet. And here is a link to a copy of the speech he made to the Assembly after his position was confirmed. He was appointed by acclaimation, which means there was no challenge from Brazil or anyone else. However, if you read Gurry's speech carefully, it is clear that it has not all been sweetness and light since the May vote. Those who believe WIPO can make a positive contribution to the global IP debate have to hope that the arguments and the controversies of the last few years can now be forgotten. As he makes plain in his speech, Gurry has a huge task ahead of him to bring confidence back to WIPO, both internally and externally. He will need all the help he can get.
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