The World Intellectual Property Organization recently announced plans to collaborate with the International Council of Museums on mediation in intellectual property disputes.
The new collaboration was formalized with the signing of an official memorandum of understanding between the two organizations at WIPO's headquarters in Geneva.
Under the terms of the agreement, WIPO will help ICOM mediate disputes relating to copyright, traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions. In addition, WIPO will provide assistance with the intellectual property-related aspects of artifact digitization initiatives.
Francis Gurry, director general of WIPO, welcomed the new collaboration. According to Gurry, the agreement "highlights the important role of intellectual property management in relation to museums’ collections of the world’s many and diverse cultural riches."
Gurry noted that there are many sensitivities associated with disputes in the area of traditional culture and artifacts. As such, he said, "it [is] important to improve access to dispute resolution options.”
A dedicated arbitration and mediation process is currently being formulated for the resolution of disputes, according to WIPO. The organizations hope the new mediation mechanism will be operational by June.