This is the ninth such course in an annual series, with 25 officials from developing countries participating on this occasion. The course, which also conforms with the mandate of the WIPO Academy, responds to the growing demand within developing countries for enhanced awareness of international intellectual property issues. The objective is to help participants consolidate the policy skills required to analyse and engage with new developments.
The course aims to update government officials on the activities of WIPO and the WTO in the area of intellectual property and on other multilateral developments. It also offers participants the opportunity to exchange information and ideas among themselves and with representatives of the two secretariats. The programme helps the officials build the skills and awareness needed to work with other stakeholders in their constituencies and to adapt, develop and harness IP systems to promote national economic and development goals.
This advanced course is the highest level of capacity building in the WTO’s set of programmes for government officials and forms part of the organization’s progressive learning strategy. It aims to bring together officials who already have a strong background in intellectual property and related policy areas and who seek to consolidate and extend their knowledge and skills. Participation in the course therefore requires that candidates would have completed a level 2 e-training course on IP, or possess sufficient experience in trade-related intellectual property matters.
Regional and gender balance
The selection of participants was carried out by the WTO’s Intellectual Property, Government Procurement and Competition Division in collaboration with the WIPO Academy. The selection process sought to ensure geographical and gender balance in addition to taking into account IP expertise and participation in an IP e-training course.
In this year’s course, there were six participants from Africa, including three from least-developed countries, six from the Asia and Pacific region, six from Latin America and the Caribbean region, four from the Central and Eastern Europe, Central Asia and the Caucasus region and two from Arab countries and the Middle East. In addition, three Geneva-based delegates joined the course. Fourteen of the participants were women.
Learning from diverse experts
A key aim of the training is to diversify the stakeholder perspectives. Apart from speakers from WIPO and WTO secretariats, this year participants heard from experts from academia, the United Nations Conference for Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the World Health Organization (WHO), Médecins sans Frontières, the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations , the Licensing Executive Society International and others.
Three international IP experts also shared their expertise. Participants heard from them on: the economics of IP, trade and development; copyright exceptions for educational materials; and the economics of patents, including in the context of biotechnology.
Participants also undertook a study tour to the Nestlé facility in Vevey in western Switzerland, where intellectual property experts shared the company’s experience in the field, in particular on patents and trademarks.
Interactivity is a major element of this course. Several practical exercises were organized throughout the two weeks and participants were encouraged to interact actively with the two secretariats as well as among themselves. At the end of the course, they were strongly encouraged to continue their partnership with WIPO and the WTO.
This course exemplifies efforts to intensify cooperation and coherence between international organizations. The WTO’s collaboration with WIPO and other international organizations, such as WHO and UNCTAD, has made it possible to put together courses such as this, enriching their content and the breadth of policy expertise provided.