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 4: WIPO’s legal foundations, mandate and purpose

Carolyn Deere Birkbeck


This chapter sets out WIPO’s legal foundations, as established by the WIPO Convention, and its status as a UN Specialized Agency in line with WIPO’s agreement with the United Nations. On mandate and purpose, it shows that in addition to the WIPO Convention, the UN-WIPO agreement and the WIPO Development Agenda are also relevant. The World Intellectual Property Organization’s founding legal instrument is the 1967 WIPO Convention; it defines the roles and functions of WIPO’s main or ‘principal’ organs through which Member States exercise their governance responsibilities (see Appendix 1). The WIPO Convention is ‘administrative’ in the sense that it does not establish any substantive or procedural standards for various categories of IP (these are taken up by the other 25 treaties administered by WIPO). Further, membership of WIPO does not lead to any obligations concerning other treaties administered by WIPO. The WIPO Convention has been ratified by each of WIPO’s 188 Member States (for WIPO’s membership, see Table 2.2 in Chapter 2).

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