Surge in Treaty Adherence Shows GrowingImportance of Intellectual Property
Geneva, January 31, 2000
Press Updates UPD/2000/82
The growing importance of intellectual property today is witnessed in the increased number of adherence by countries to international intellectual property treaties. In 1999, 68 instruments of accession to or ratification of treaties administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) were deposited with the Director General of WIPO. WIPO administers 21 treaties in the field of intellectual property, out of which 15 are in the field of industrial property and 6 are in the field of copyright.
"The growing number of States that are joining international treaties in the area of intellectual property reflects the increased recognition of the importance of intellectual property rights in an era of rapid globalization and digitalization," said Dr. Kamil Idris, Director General of WIPO. "We live in a time where the wealth of nations is increasingly defined by their access to and use of knowledge and intellectual property protection is crucial in this process," he added.
Dr. Idris welcomed the greater number of developing countries that are joining international intellectual property treaties. In 1999, 59 per cent of the accessions or ratifications came from developing countries. Countries in transition to a market economy accounted for 23 per cent, and 18 per cent came from developed countries.
Information concerning new adherences to WIPO treaties in 1999, as well as trends over the past three decades are set out below.
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In 1999, two countries (Antigua and Barbuda and Seychelles) adhered to the Convention Establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization which was signed at Stockholm on July 14, 1967, and entered into force in 1970.
The total number of Member States of WIPO on December 31, 1999, was 173, compared to 13 in 1970 and 126 in 1990.
NEW MEMBERS OF WIPO-ADMINISTERED TREATIES IN THE FIELD OF INDUSTRIAL PROPERTY
In 1999, six countries (Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Ecuador, Jamaica, Oman, and Papua New Guinea) adhered to the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property concluded in 1883. The Paris Convention is one of the pillars of the international intellectual property system as we know it today. It applies to industrial property in the widest sense, including inventions, marks, industrial designs, utility models, trade names, geographical indications (indications of source and appellations of origin) and the repression of unfair competition.
The total number of contracting parties on December 31, 1999, was 157, compared to 78 in 1970 and 100 in 1990.
Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT)
An additional six countries (Algeria, Antigua and Barbuda, Costa Rica, Dominica, Morocco and the United Republic of Tanzania) adhered to the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) in 1999. The PCT, which was concluded in 1970, makes it possible to seek patent protection for an invention simultaneously in each of a large number of countries by filing an "international" patent application. Such an application may be filed by anyone who is a national or resident of a contracting State. The PCT regulates the formal requirements with which any international application must comply. Since its conclusion, the PCT has enjoyed remarkable expansion.
The total number of contracting parties on December 31, 1999, was 106, compared to 15 in 1978 and 43 in 1990.
Madrid Agreement and Protocol
The Madrid system for the International Registration of Marks (the Madrid system) is governed by two treaties: the Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks and the Protocol Relating to the Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks.
The Madrid Agreement, concluded in 1891, makes it possible to protect a mark in a large number of countries by providing one international registration which has effect in each of the contracting parties that have been designated in the international application. The total number of contracting parties to the Madrid Agreement on December 31, 1999, was 51, compared to 21 in 1970 and 29 in 1990.
In 1999, seven countries (Antigua and Barbuda, Austria, Japan, Latvia, Morocco, Sierra Leone and Turkmenistan) adhered to the Madrid Protocol, bringing the total number of contracting parties on December 31, 1999, to 43, compared to nine in 1996 and 34 in 1998.
The Madrid Protocol was concluded in 1989 in order to introduce certain new features into the Madrid system. These features address the difficulties that prevent certain countries from adhering to the Madrid Agreement by rendering the system more flexible and more compatible with the domestic legislation of contracting parties.
The total number of contracting parties to the Madrid Agreement and/or the Madrid Protocol on December 31, 1999, was 64.
Trademark Law Treaty (TLT)
In 1999, three countries (Egypt, Ireland and Latvia) adhered to the Trademark Law Treaty. The TLT, concluded in 1994, aims to make national and regional trademark registration systems more user-friendly through the simplification and harmonization of procedures.
The total number of contracting parties on December 31, 1999, was 25, compared to 7 in 1997 and 21 in 1998.
In 1999, two countries (the United Republic of Tanzania and Uruguay) adhered to the Nice Agreement Concerning the International Classification of Goods and Services for the Purposes of the Registration of Marks. The Agreement, concluded in 1957, establishes a classification of goods and services for the purposes of registering trademarks and service marks. The Classification consists of a list of classes (based on types of products and services), of which there are 34 for goods and 8 for services, and an alphabetical list of the goods and services.
The total number of contracting parties on December 31, 1999, was 60, compared to 25 in 1970 and 34 in 1990.
In 1999, two countries (Greece and Uruguay) adhered to the Locarno Agreement Establishing an International Classification for Industrial Designs. The Agreement, concluded in 1968, establishes a classification for industrial designs which consists of 32 classes and 223 subclasses based on different types of products. It also comprises an alphabetical list of goods with an indication of the classes and subclasses into which these goods fall. The list contains some 6,320 indications of different kinds of goods.
The total number of contracting parties on December 31, 1999, was 37, compared to 7 in 1972 and 15 in 1990.
Strasbourg Agreement (IPC)
In 1999, two countries (Croatia and Uruguay) adhered to the Strasbourg Agreement Concerning the International Patent Classification, concluded in 1971. The Strasbourg Agreement establishes the International Patent Classification (IPC), which divides technology into 8 sections with approximately 67,000 subdivisions. Each of these subdivisions has a symbol which is allotted by the national or regional industrial property office that publishes the patent document.
The total number of contracting parties on December 31, 1999, was 45, compared to 20 in 1976 and 27 in 1990.
In 1999, two countries (Austria and Uruguay) adhered to the Vienna Agreement Establishing an International Classification of the Figurative Elements of Marks. This Agreement, concluded in 1973, establishes a classification system for marks which consist of or contain figurative elements. The classification comprises 29 categories, 144 divisions and some 1,600 sections in which the figurative elements of marks are classified.
The total number of contracting parties on December 31, 1999, was 15, compared to 5 in 1986 and in 1990.
In 1999, two countries (Ireland and Romania) adhered to the Budapest Treaty on the International Recognition of the Deposit of Microorganisms for the Purposes of Patent Procedure. The main feature of the Budapest Treaty, concluded in 1977, is that a contracting State which allows or requires the deposit of microorganisms for the purposes of patent procedure must recognize, for such purposes, the deposit of a microorganism with any "international depositary authority," irrespective of whether such authority is on or outside the territory of the said State. This eliminates the need to deposit in each country in which protection is sought.
The total number of contracting parties on December 31, 1999, was 48, compared to 8 in 1981 and 24 in 1990.
In 1999, Morocco adhered to the Hague Act (1960) and the Stockholm (Complementary) Act (1967) of the Hague Agreement concerning the International Deposit of Industrial Designs. This Agreement, concluded in 1925, offers the possibility of obtaining protection for industrial designs in a number of States by means of a single deposit made with WIPO.
The total number of contracting parties on December 31, 1999, was 29, compared to 14 in 1970 and 20 in 1990.
In 1999, Yugoslavia adhered to the Lisbon Agreement for the Protection of Appellations of Origin and their International Registration, concluded in 1958. The Agreement protects the ''geographical name of a country, region, or locality, which serves to designate a product originating therein, the quality and characteristics of which are due exclusively or essentially to the geographic environment, including natural and human factors.''
The total number of contracting parties on December 31, 1999, was 19, compared to 9 in 1970 and 16 in 1990.
The Nairobi Treaty on the Protection of the Olympic Symbol was concluded in 1981. All contracting parties are obliged to protect the Olympic symbol (the five interlaced rings) against use for commercial purposes (in advertisements, on goods, as a mark, etc.) without the authorization of the International Olympic Committee.
The total number of contracting parties on December 31, 1999, was 39, compared to 4 in 1983 and 32 in 1990.
Madrid Agreement (Indications of Source)
On December 31, 1999, a total number of 31 countries were party to the Madrid Agreement for the Repression of False or Deceptive Indications of Source on Goods that was concluded in 1891. According to the Agreement, all goods bearing a false or deceptive indication of source, by which one of the contracting States, or a place situated therein, is directly or indirectly indicated as being the country or place of origin, must be seized on importation, or such importation must be prohibited, or other actions and sanctions must be applied in connection with such importation.
NEW MEMBERS OF WIPO-ADMINISTERED TREATIES IN THE FIELD OF COPYRIGHT
In 1999, 11 countries (Antigua and Barbuda, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belgium (Paris Act), Dominica, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Liechtenstein (Paris Act), Oman and Tajikistan) adhered to the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, a main pillar of the international copyright protection system. Dating back to 1886, the Convention sets out and defines minimum standards of protection of the economic and moral rights of authors of literary and artistic works.
The number of contracting parties to the Berne Convention went from 59 in 1970 to 84 in 1990 and to 142 on December 31, 1999.
In 1999, three countries (Latvia, Liechtenstein and Lithuania) adhered to the International Convention for the Protection of Performers, Producers of Phonograms and Broadcasting Organisations. WIPO is responsible, jointly with the International Labor Organization (ILO) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), for the administration of the Rome Convention, which was concluded in 1961.
The total number of contracting parties on December 31, 1999, was 63, compared to 11 in 1970 and 35 in 1990.
Geneva Convention (Phonograms)
In 1999, three countries (Liechtenstein, Lithuania and Ukraine) adhered to the Convention for the Protection of Producers of Phonograms Against Unauthorized Duplication of Their Phonograms concluded in 1971. The Geneva Convention obliges each Contracting State to protect a producer of phonograms who is a national of another contracting State against the making of duplicates without the consent of the producer, against the importation of such duplicates, where the making or importation is for the purposes of distribution to the public, and against the distribution of such duplicates to the public.
The total number of contracting parties on December 31, 1999, was 60, compared to 8 in 1974 and 43 in 1990.
In 1999, two countries (Costa Rica and Jamaica) adhered to the Convention Relating to the Distribution of Programme-Carrying Signals Transmitted by Satellite signed in 1974. The Convention provides for the prevention of the unauthorized distribution on or from the territory of a contracting State of any programme-carrying signal transmitted by satellite.
The total number of contracting parties on December 31, 1999, was 24, compared to 5 in 1980.
The WIPO Copyright Treaty (WCT) and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT), known as the WIPO ''Internet Treaties,'' contain a general update of the legal principles underpinning international protection of copyright and the rights of performers and phonogram producers in cyberspace, more particularly on the Internet. In addition, they clarify that national law must prevent unauthorized access to and use of creative works which, given the global reach of the Internet, may be downloaded anywhere in the world at the push of a button. The WIPO ''Internet Treaties'' were adopted in December 1996.
These treaties will come into force after 30 instruments of ratification or accession by States have been deposited with the Director General of WIPO.
In 1999, six countries (Argentina, Burkina Faso, Panama, Saint Lucia, Slovenia and the United States of America) adhered to the WCT, bringing the total number of contracting parties on December 31, 1999, to 12.
In 1999, seven countries (Argentina, Burkina Faso, Mexico, Panama, Saint Lucia, Slovenia and the United States of America) adhered to the WPPT, bringing the total number of contracting parties on December 31, 1999, to 11.