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U.S. Opening Statement at the Assemblies of the Member States of WIPO
September 24, 2018


Assemblies of the Member States of WIPO, Fifty-eighth Series of Meetings
Opening Statement of the United States of America
As delivered by Mark Cassayre, Chargé d’Affaires, ad interim
Geneva, Switzerland
September 24, 2018

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Allow me to add my voice to those extending condolences to the people of Vietnam, in particular to the family President Quang.

The United States is pleased to see you and your vice-chairs presiding over this session.  We are confident that you will ably guide our discussions throughout this meeting, and stand ready to constructively engage on all issues before us.

We fully endorse the statement delivered by Switzerland on behalf of Group B.

Mr. Chairman, allow me to highlight a few issues of particular importance to the United States.

The United States values the work of the WIPO and the critical IP services it provides to its stakeholders worldwide. WIPO is fortunate to enjoy a strong financial position due in large measure to the success of the PCT System.  However, the United States remains concerned about the financial sustainability of all of WIPO’s fee-funded Unions. We will continue to press all of the Unions to pay a share of the common expenses of the organization, as required under their treaties.

The United States supports updating protection for broadcasting organizations and remains committed to working on a meaningful treaty to protect broadcasters against signal theft in the digital age. However, we cannot approve setting a specific date for a diplomatic conference until SCCR experts agree on a mature text with a likelihood for success.  We look forward to making progress toward that end.

The United States is disappointed that so many years have elapsed during which rights holders have not been able to benefit from a design law treaty to simplify registration for their industrial designs.  Except for the last-minute inclusion of contentious provisions, such a draft text could move forward to a diplomatic conference.  We stand ready to engage constructively on this item.

Similarly, the United States will continue to engage in evidence-based discussions in the IGC that are helpful in reaching a common understanding on core issues.

We recognize the progress WIPO has made to strengthen oversight mechanisms in the organization. It continues to be of critical importance to the United States that these oversight structures and mechanisms are not only strong and independent, but function properly in practice to assist Member States in providing effective oversight of WIPO.  The United States appreciates the implementation of the new whistleblower protection policy and looks forward to the Organization’s continued participation in UN-wide efforts to address harassment, including sexual harassment. We encourage WIPO to promote a standard of accountability and continue to implement outreach and training initiatives that strengthen the ethical culture of the organization through the combination of tone at the top and these practical steps.  We believe the JIU Review on “Whistleblower-blower Policies and Practices in UN System Organizations” takes a positive step towards these goals and look forward to WIPO’s implementation of the recommendations.

My delegation looks forward to constructively engaging with all WIPO members over the next ten days.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.