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News on the IP Watchdog website that seven major appointments have just been approved at the headquarters of the World Intellectual Property Organisation. They are:
• Geoffrey Onyeama (Nigeria), Cooperation for Development (including Development Agenda and WIPO Academy) - deputy director general.
• James Pooley (United States), Patents - deputy director general.
• Wang Binying (China), Trademarks, Industrial Designs and Geographical Indications - deputy director general.
• Johannes Wichard (Germany) Global Issues (including enforcement, arbitration/mediation, communications, and the committee on genetic resources, traditional knowledge and folklore) - deputy director general.
• Ambassador Trevor Clarke (Barbados), copyright and related rights - assistant director.
• Ambi Sundaram (Sri Lanka), administration and management - assistant director.
• Yoshiyuki Takagi (Japan) global IP infrastructure - assistant director.
Of the seven, the one that caught my eye was James Pooley's. As the Deputy DG for patents, Pooley, who was until recently seen as a potential Director of the USPTO, will be responsible for the formulation of patent policy at WIPO and will also adminster the Patent Cooperation Treaty, among other things.
This is very good news for patent owners. If there is one area in which the developed countries want to make sure their voice is heard as loudly as possible it is probably going to be in patents. It is the issues around patents that divide WIPO member states more than any other and spark the most controversial debates. With Francis Gurry as WIPO director general and Pooley as the deputy DG, there are now two operators at the very top of the organisaiton with strong patent backgrounds and perspectives that to some extent at least will have been framed by their experiences. And those will be very firmly rooted in the importance of protecting patent rights.
IP politics, Patents