Thursday, February 7, 2008

Candidates for WIPO DG announced

The WIPO coordination committee has announced the names of nominees for the WIPO Director General. There are 15 in total.

Several of the nominations have been posted online. Three of those are WIPO insiders, two are diplomats with high-level experience at international forums but no specific specialization in intellectual property, and one is a lawyer/academic with a strong specialization in intellectual property.
  • José Graça, nominated by Brazil
    • a WIPO insider who has worked a Director at WIPO since 2004 and whose involvement at WIPO dates back to 1993
    • had a prior career as a professor and at the intellectual property offices in Brazil
  • Yoshiyuki Takagi, nominated by Japan
    • also a WIPO insider who has occupied Director and Executive Director positions at WIPO since 1994
    • held posts as a diplomat and in the Japanese Patent Office earlier in his career
  • Philippe Petit, nominated by France
    • Deputy Director of WIPO since 2001
    • former French diplomat
  • Enrique A. Manalo, nominated by the Philippines
    • Manolo has been chairman of the WIPO General Assembly for the past 2 years
    • he has worked for the Philippine Foreign Affairs since 1979
    • Manalo wrote an important report as part of the WIPO development agenda proceedings that attempted to sum up the development agenda proposals and the related work already being done at WIPO
  • José DelmerUrbizo Panting, nominated by Honduras
    • a diplomat involved at the Group of 77 and UNCTAD who has held high-level posts in Honduran banking and government sectors
  • James Otieno Odek, nominated by Kenya
    • an academic and a lawyer who has researched and published on intellectual property, trade, development, and human rights (with a teaching career dating back to 1989, he received an LLM from Yale and his doctorate in law from University of Toronto in 1995)
    • involved in high-level WIPO bodies since 2006
My initial preference is for the outsider with expertise in intellectual property: Kenyan James Otieno Odek. His specialization in intellectual property, trade, development, and human rights and his outsider status could help WIPO to have vision in setting priorities and effecting change to meet many of the most important issues that WIPO faces today. He may, however, be the underdog - the youngest of these candidates at 44 years old, and with less experience as a diplomat and at WIPO than the others.

Carolyn Deer has set out a number of criteria that should be met by WIPO's new Director General in a very helpful commentary on IP-Watch.