The 50th session of the Assemblies of World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) member states is taking place in Geneva this week, gathering delegates from 185 countries to discuss and resolve several pressing issues. So far at this year's conference, member states have already made important breakthroughs regarding the distribution of copyrighted works to visually impaired audiences and renewed their commitment to the development of simplified industrial design registration procedures.
Building on the recent success of the Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performances, which expanded and formally codified the intellectual property rights of actors, the WIPO General Assembly has approved a new roadmap for the development of a more flexible, technologically enlightened royalty management framework that could directly benefit as many as 300 million visually impaired individuals around the world. As it stands, only a "very small percentage" of copyrighted books have been converted to formats suited for this population.
However, the WIPO's interest in aligning notoriously divergent standards for industrial design patents could hold even broader implications. A survey of the member states revealed overwhelming optimism for the financial benefits that could come from a more cohesive registration process, though further discussions will have to take place in the coming months to incorporate the insights of technology law experts.
The international organization is also turning its eye for efficiency inward to revitalize its own IT infrastructure in the hopes of facilitating faster and more accurate transmission of mission-critical information between member states.