As the next millennium approaches, the promotion of creativity and innovation through the protection of intellectual property could not be more relevant to the welfare of humankind. The intellectual property system serves as a fundamental tool for the economic, social and cultural development of countries around the globe. By protecting the fruits of the human intellect, the world’s only inexhaustible resource, countries create wealth and industry, improve the quality of life, and prepare themselves to meet the challenges of the twenty-first century.

The U.S. Committee for the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to supporting the WIPO in advancing its essential mission of promoting the protection of intellectual property rights worldwide. Specifically, the U.S. Committee for the WIPO is undertaking activities and programs that heighten the awareness in the United States of the vital role that the WIPO plays in fostering creativity and innovation worldwide and in expanding global economic opportunities.

As a specialized agency of the United Nations, the WIPO is a dynamic international organization of 171 member States. Although its origins date back to the late nineteenth century, the primary mission of the WIPO remains unchanged today, namely promoting the protection of intellectual property worldwide. The WIPO administers 21 international treaties covering the full range of intellectual property rights, including patents, trademarks, copyrights, and industrial designs. In close cooperation with its member States and the private sector, the WIPO conducts an extensive program of activities, including:

  • updating international norms of intellectual property protection to keep pace with changes in technology and society and to simplify obtaining and enforcing intellectual property rights worldwide;
  • providing countries with technical assistance to improve intellectual property legislation, administrative infrastructures and enforcement capacities;
  • administering global protection systems and services that facilitate the acquisition of protection for patents, trademarks and industrial designs around the world; and
  • utilizing information technology comprehensively in all aspects of its operations to deploy its resources to maximum effect to the benefit of creators, inventors, and businesses.

With a clear vision of the challenges and opportunities it faces in the twenty-first century, the WIPO is already playing a critical role in helping its constituents reap the benefits of intellectual property protection. Yet even as the WIPO moves forward vigorously, its accomplishments and ambitious agenda remain relatively unknown in the United States outside narrow professional circles. To meet the need for greater visibility for the WIPO, the U.S. Committee for the WIPO proposes to undertake a varied program of activities to better acquaint the U.S. business and policy communities and the general public with the important mission and work of the WIPO. These activities will include public education programs, lectures, seminars, publications, and legal and economic research.

The U.S. Committee for the WIPO seeks to achieve its goals not only through productive partnerships with the business and policy communities but also through alliances with other nonprofit organizations, non-governmental organizations, and multinational institutions. Consistent with this approach, the U.S. Committee is a member of the Council of the Organizations of the United Nations Association of the USA (UNA-USA), which consists of over 100 non-governmental organizations that share the common goals of making the American public more knowledgeable about global issues and the mission of the United Nations.