The World Intellectual Property Organization Standing Committee on the Law of Trademarks, Industrial Designs, and Geographical Indications was unable to reach a tenable conclusion for an industrial design treaty during the WIPO general assembly earlier this year. It is convening again from Nov. 4 through Nov. 8 to discuss the matter further.
Industrial design, the aesthetic aspects of an object such as color, shape, surface and patterns, is an important area of intellectual property management. WIPO is attempting to create a treaty to enable international registration of industrial design elements, which are historically of greatest interest to middle-income countries, according to the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development.
The committee was stymied in its efforts to come up with a treaty during the general assembly by a controversial provision proposed by African Group, the European Union and its member states and the Republic of Korea. Known as Article 21, it would include in the treaty the recommendation for developing countries to receive assistance with implementing the treaty, and building capacity to be able to enforce it.
Developed nations are less enthusiastic about this article, though those who support it insist the treaty couldn't be enforced worldwide without aid to developing countries that would enable them to do so. Hopes are high for a treaty by the next general assembly of WIPO, according to Intellectual Property Watch.