In an IP-driven economy, stakeholders need to integrate conflict management into business processes (for example, the development of new technologies), contracting practices, and broader enforcement policies. Awareness of dispute resolution risks and opportunities can help to minimize the disruption, which such disputes can cause in the exploitation of IP rights.
Courts and IP authorities tend to offer formal territorial solutions resulting from generally applicable rights-based procedures, but as the creation and use of IP are becoming more internationalized, rights holders and users are increasingly looking for cross-border solutions to their disputes. As a global resource center, the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center, assists in these efforts by enhancing awareness and, as a service provider, by offering dispute management tools on the basis of WIPO-facilitated clauses and rules. The potential beneficiaries of this activity include private entities as well as public authorities aiming to use alternative dispute resolution (ADR) options.
The WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center develops and maintains ADR frameworks for IP. At the same time, for commercial and policy reasons, numerous private as well as public ADR service providers compete in the provision of such mechanisms.
An example of the potential of ADR for IP is the WIPO-initiated Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP). Under this global online alternative to court litigation for addressing trademark abuse in the Domain Name System (DNS), the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center has processed over 30,000 cases through 2014. The DNS landscape is undergoing considerable change in the form of a broad expansion of the number of generic top-level Domains (gTLDs) and the introduction of internationalized (non-Latin script) gTLDs and domain names.
In order to reduce the adverse impact of these uncertain conditions on IP, the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center continues to play a proactive role in monitoring solutions to be adopted by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). In the same connection, substantial changes in UDRP demand may impact on this WIPO service.
The WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center assists country code top-level Domains (ccTLDs) in the establishment of best registry practices and domain name dispute resolution mechanisms. In the area of IP ADR more generally, national IP authorities call on the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center for input on the development of optional ADR mechanisms complementing their existing procedures. The WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center also organizes training programs for IP officials, practitioners and students, including online programs. These training and capacity building activities, conducted in line with DA Recommendations 1 and 6, will contribute to the implementation of DA Recommendation 10 by ensuring that developing countries and LDCs have enhanced institutional capacity to efficiently, fairly and cost-effectively resolve IP disputes.
Against this background, the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center will pursue the following strategies:
Enhancing awareness among stakeholders of IP ADR options.
Increasing the attractiveness of dispute resolution services offered by the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center by adapting its procedures and case infrastructure to the evolving needs of users, including through IT-based solutions.
Working with IP owners, users, Offices and other entities to establish procedures specifically adapted to the particular features of recurrent disputes in their areas of activity.
Program 7 collaborates primarily with other Programs as illustrated below:
MAJOR RISKS AND MITIGATION STRATEGIES
Reduced market recognition of WIPO arbitration and mediation services.
Leveraging Center position as the international IP ADR specialist: intensified collaboration with the PCT and other Programs; participation in events through WIPO neutrals; more regular partnering with IP and related associations; maximizing use of Center presence in Singapore for increased regional activity; working off new research on user practices and expectations; upgrading of marketing infrastructure.
Decrease in UDRP filing, affecting WIPO DNS policy influence and Center status in DNS ADR.
Increasing user-friendliness; Adjusting UDRP procedures (where ICANN-tolerated); continued Uniform Rapid Suspension (i.e.(URS)) monitoring; participating in ICANN UDRP review; more regular partnering with IP and related associations; prioritizing case administration and policy development resources to strike balance between “staying in the market” and adding specific WIPO value.
II.8 International and domestic intellectual property disputes are increasingly prevented or resolved through WIPO mediation, arbitration and other alternative dispute resolution methods
Increased use of alternative dispute resolution services and clauses in intellectual property transactions and registrations, including through WIPO procedures
393 disputes and 148 bons offices (cumulative per end 2014)
4,000 incoming queries (2012/13)
1.553 million Web visits (2014)
408 participants at Center events (2012/13)
4,000 participants at events involving Center representation (2012/13)
A slight increase can be observed in the overall resources for the Program in 2016/17 compared to the 2014/15 Budget after Transfers. This is due to the change in the costing methodology for personnel resources in 2016/17 based on actuals.
The shift in resources from Expected Result II.9 to II.8 reflects the enhanced emphasis on developing the use of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) options in response to member States requests.