Vietnam attends 61st meeting series of WIPO Assemblies

A Vietnamese delegation led by Ambassador Le Thi Tuyet Mai attended the 61st series of meetings of the Assemblies of the Member States of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) that kicked off in Geneva, Switzerland, on September 21.
Vietnamese Ambassador Le Thi Tuyet Mai speaks at the opening session of the 61st series of meetings of the Assemblies of the Member States of WIPO on September 21 (Photo: VNA)
Vietnamese Ambassador Le Thi Tuyet Mai speaks at the opening session of the 61st series of meetings of the Assemblies of the Member States of WIPO on September 21 (Photo: VNA)

This is the first time the annual meeting series has been held both virtually and in person. It is also the last of its kind in the term of incumbent WIPO Director General Francis Gurry.

Its opening ceremony was attended by about 750 delegates from 135 WIPO member states, observer states, inter-governmental organisations, and non-governmental organisations.

In his opening remarks, Director General Francis Gurry reported on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic while warning that the diminished state of multilateralism poses a major challenge to the world.

He said technological progress has connected humanity in never-before-seen ways, but has been accompanied by increasing signs of closure, including protectionism.

Gurry noted that the pandemic has yet to adversely affect the financial position of WIPO, which funds its activities primarily through the provision of global IP services, but that close attention has to be paid to the evolving global economic situation.

For his part, newly appointed WIPO General Director Daren Tang acknowledged member states’ support for him to serve in this post and committed to close cooperation with them in the time ahead.

Tang, who was Chief Executive of the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore, will begin his six-year term on October 1.

Representing ASEAN countries to deliver the bloc’s joint remarks, Ambassador Mai, head of Vietnam’s permanent mission to the United Nations, the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and other international organisations in Geneva, said while responding to Covid-19 and promoting post-pandemic recovery, ASEAN countries have been prioritising digital transformation and innovation, setting up electronic systems for registration and reception of intellectual property (IP) dossiers to improve IP authorities’ efficiency, and maximising teleworking methods to ensure the timely and quality provision of IP services for relevant parties.

She also informed participants about ASEAN’s IP-related achievements this year, including its members’ innovation index, engagement in some international IP agreements, and regional cooperation with WIPO.

ASEAN countries appreciated Director General Gurry’s leadership and substantial contributions to WIPO during his two tenures (12 years), Mai said, adding that they believe the newly appointed Director General will lead the organisation to obtain great achievements in the time to come.

Speaking on behalf of Vietnam at the opening ceremony, the ambassador highlighted some of the country’s attainments in the field of IP since the beginning of 2020, including the growth of applications for the protection of IP rights, an increase in protection certificates of industrial property rights, and the start of implementation of the Hague Agreement Concerning the International Deposit of Industrial Designs.

Vietnam has been effectively carrying out the National IP Strategy and most of WIPO-funded projects, with a focus on digital transformation, innovation and response to the pandemic, she noted.

The diplomat also stressed the country’s wish and belief that WIPO will continue making progress in enhancing the system of IP rules and ensuring balance between promoting innovation and implementing the WIPO development programme for the sake of all member states.

The agenda of the 61st meeting series is shortened compared to those in previous years due to the Covid-19 impact. It is scheduled to wrap up on September 25.

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