Bhutan at the WIPO General Assembly 2017, Geneva, Switzerland

Led by Hon’ble Secretary, Dasho Yeshi Wangdi, Ministry of Economic Affairs, the delegation from the Royal Government of Bhutan attended the 57th Series of Meetings of the Assemblies of the member states of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) at its Headquarters in Geneva from October 2 to 11, 2017.

The WIPO is one of the specialized agencies of the United Nations established in 1967 providing a global forum for intellectual property services, policy, information and cooperation for its 191-member states. Its mission is to lead the development of a balanced and effective international intellectual property system that enables innovation and creativity for the benefit of all.

Bhutan became a member in 1994 and subsequently acceded to international treaties and conventions relating to intellectual property such as the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works and Madrid Agreement and Protocol Concerning the International Registration of Marks. The Industrial Property Act and the Copyright Act of the Kingdom of Bhutan dealing with Patents, Industrial Design, Trademark and Copyright and related rights were enacted in 2001 and respective registries were set up. The two legislations are currently under review for amendment in consultation with WIPO to cater to emerging national developments as well as international advancements with respect to intellectual property.

The 57th Series of Meetings of the Assemblies of the member states of WIPO in Geneva provided member states the opportunity to participate in discussions on the budget and programs report for the period October 2016-2017 and future budget and programs of WIPO. One topic of relevance, particularly to countries like Bhutan was the deliberation on the Intergovernmental Committee’s progress in preparing a framework for dealing with Traditional Knowledge, Traditional Cultural Expression and Genetic Resources.

On the sidelines of the meeting, the delegation met with WIPO’s Director General and solicited WIPO’s assistance in building capacity of Intellectual Property officials through internship in WIPO’s offices dealing with trademark, patent, industrial design and copyright. The delegation also had bilateral discussions with representatives from other Intellectual Property Offices and discussed areas of mutual interest.

Some of the matters discussed during the bilateral meetings encompassed drafting of Intellectual Property Policy for University, setting up of the Collective Management Organization (CMOs), upgradation of Industrial Property Automation System (IPAS), developing branding strategy, setting up of the Technology Innovation Support Centers (TISCs), capacity development for joining the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), the Hague Agreement and the WIPO Internet Treaties, Traditional Knowledge (TKs) related activities, and development of awareness and outreach materials for creatives Industries.