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WIPO General Assemblies 2018: UK National Statement

This UK statement was delivered on the opening day of the 2018 WIPO General Assembly.


The WIPO General Assembly takes place at WIPO Headquarters in Geneva.

The United Kingdom would like to offer its thanks to you Chair, Ambassador Duaong Chi Dung for continuing to guide us through WIPO’s General Assembly. We would also like to thank the Director General and the Secretariat for their dedication and commitment to this organisation, its member states and its many users. We align ourselves with the statements made by the EU Presidency and Group B.

UK businesses place particular value in WIPO’s key services that protect and support IP internationally – the PCT, Madrid and Hague. We welcome their continued growth, and were delighted to join the Hague System in June.

We also welcome the opportunities provided by WIPO for all interested stakeholders to contribute to the continuous improvement of these services. We were particularly pleased to welcome WIPO to the UK earlier this year for a series of Roving Seminars across UK cities, allowing UK businesses to engage directly with WIPO experts about WIPO’s systems, services and IT platforms, and their future.

While improvement and expansion of these core services should be a priority, we also value opportunities to shape the future of the global IP system in WIPO’s Standing Committees. As well as steady progress towards normative proposals, Standing Committees allow us to share experiences, learn from each other and work together on improving the existing framework. We were grateful for the opportunity to share our proposal on quality of patents at the SCP, and would like to thank the delegations of the Czech Republic, Kenya, Mexico and Singapore for their engagement and support on this important work.

On top of this, WIPO has significant convening power which should be used to its full potential. In this regard, the UK was pleased to facilitate a WIPO meeting of Intellectual Property Offices on ICT strategies and Artificial Intelligence for IP administration. We are fully engaged in discussions to find common ground on emerging technologies and their interaction with IP, and support further efforts to ensure the IP framework keeps up with these fast-paced developments, and all WIPO members can benefit from the latest technologies.

Mr Chair, in the next year the UK will leave the European Union, and we aim to do so with certainty and stability, so that people and businesses in the UK and the EU can adjust to new arrangements in a smooth and orderly way. This means that for all scenarios, we aim to ensure continuity of protection for rights sought and gained through WIPO’s systems – in particular where users have designated the EU in the Hague and Madrid systems. We are in discussions with WIPO to find practical solutions to meet those objectives.

Looking forward the UK is stepping up its constructive and positive engagement across WIPO discussions to ensure the global IP system is robust and fair, and can stimulate innovation and economic growth for the benefit of everyone. For this to be achieved, good governance and management of the organisation is paramount, and the UK is taking an active role in these discussions – providing the first UK chair of a WIPO Committee for 25 years.

We look forward to a constructive meeting of the General Assemblies.

Thank you Mr Chair.

Published 24 September 2018