The General Assembly of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) appointed by acclamation on September 22, 2008, Mr. Francis Gurry, a national of Australia, as Director General of WIPO for a six-year term that begins on October 1, 2008 and runs through September 2014. In his acceptance speech, Mr. Gurry addressed the challenge of finding an effective response to the growing demand for patent services around the world, as well as the need to examine the future of copyright in a rapidly evolving business and technological environment. He also identified the challenge of promoting respect for intellectual property rights in the face of widespread trade in counterfeit and pirated goods and WIPO’s role in this endeavor. Mr. Gurry committed to build on the work of the Development Agenda, to ensure all countries were in a position to actively participate in the benefits of innovation and the knowledge economy. The Director General-elect further called for “concrete outcomes” to negotiations relating to the protection of traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions.
Mr. Gurry is the fourth Director General of WIPO following Mr. Georg Bodenhausen of the Netherlands (1970-1973) Mr. Arpad Bogsch of the United States (1973-1997) and Dr. Kamil Idris of Sudan (1997-2008).