On Wednesday, December 13th, the Swiss Diplomacy Student Association had the opportunity to visit the headquarters of the World Intellectual Property Organization in Geneva, thanks to the Culture & Institutions Department. The visit began with a brief presentation of the organization, followed by a tour of the modern facility. WIPO employees were also incredibly helpful, answering any questions or concerns regarding the organization or advising us young students about the professional world of International Geneva.
The visit began with a brief, but concise, presentation of the organization: how it operates, its structure and its modus operandi. Founded in 1967 to safeguard intellectual property, the World Intellectual Property Organization constitutes one of the agencies of the United Nations. Counting more than 193 states members and more than 1600 employees from 121 different nations, its main purpose is to promote creativity and innovation, supporting intellectual property. WIPO is based mainly on four pillars, which form the backbones of the organization.
In the first part of the presentation, we were briefly introduced to the first pillar, which consists primarily of supporting developing countries to enable them to use IP (Intellectual Property), WIPO’s contributions to national and international IP policies, and the support that the organization offers, in particular, to innovators, creators, SMEs and universities, reiterated later by a video of the director himself, Daren Tang.
The second pillar, on the other hand, encompasses the various services that WIPO offers its clients to protect their creations and innovations. These services consist of patents, trademarks, industrial design, and geographical indication. Each service performs a different function to protect the innovators’ creation or product: patents protect new inventions and innovations of a technological nature, trademarks preserve branding and products’ identities, industrial design handles the unique visual appearance of a particular product, and geographical indications are used to protect the reputation of product, whose origins are from a determined geographical area. In addition to listing the different services, it was explained to us what criteria are required to have access to them, which differs from service to service, and what process it is necessary to follow.
Furthermore, these services are based on treaties, which are discussed during forums, and which constitute the third pillar of the organization. Every forum, that usually takes place in July, addresses a specific theme, such as artificial intelligence, one of the most discussed topics currently.
The presentation concluded with the illustration of the fourth and last pillar, which focuses on involving certain social categories, especially women and young people, in various internship and other kind of empowerment programs. We were given a moment to ask questions, followed by a visit of the facility: from its huge rooms, where different conferences and meetings are held, to the rooftop, with a breathtaking view of the city. During the whole visit, not only were we given the opportunity to ask questions about the organization, but also to express our main concerns on the professional world of International Geneva.
Special thanks to the Culture et Institutions department for giving us the incredible opportunity to be able to visit such an important organization and to our hosts of the day, for their helpfulness, kindness, and humility.