The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)
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The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)

A Reference Guide

Carolyn Deere Birkbeck

Written by a leading WIPO commentator, The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO): A Reference Guide is the first comprehensive reference book to illuminate the nuts and bolts of WIPO governance. This practical guide offers a unique insight into how WIPO is governed, described in clear, readily accessible terms for policymakers, scholars and stakeholders. The Guide reviews the origins of WIPO and sets out its current functions and activities, presenting a framework for analysing WIPO’s complex governance system. The text is accompanied by a number of valuable appendices, including key documents that have to date not been readily available to the public.
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Chapter 3: WIPO’s governance system: an analytical framework

Carolyn Deere Birkbeck


The Member States of WIPO have discussed reform of the organisation’s governance for over 18 years, provoking debates in a number of WIPO’s decision-making and advisory bodies, as well as among stakeholders and within the Secretariat. The discussions have also given rise to a number of reports and reviews of WIPO governance that form part of the organisation’s official records (see Table 3.1) and highlight the shifting focus of debate over time. In this book, the term ‘governance system’ refers to the web of treaty provisions, rules, regulations, policies and practices that impact how WIPO Member States provide strategic direction and oversight of WIPO’s activities; exercise authority and control over the organisation; and with stakeholders, hold the Secretariat to account. Whereas much of the official documentation of WIPO’s governance focuses on the structure for decision-making, this book proposes a broader approach to WIPO’s governance system.

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