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Aussie reappointed as head of global IP body

Australian lawyer Francis Gurry has been nominated for a second term as director general of the UN’s World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO).

user iconDigital 10 March 2014 The Bar
Aussie reappointed as head of global IP body
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The nomination is expected to be approved by the full membership at the WIPO General Assembly, scheduled for May.

Prior to joining WIPO, Gurry (pictured) was a senior lecturer in law at the University of Melbourne and had a brief stint as a lawyer with Herbert Smith Freehills (then Freehills). Gurry also worked as an articled clerk and solicitor at Allens (then Arthur Robinson & Co) in the early stages of his career.

Gurry joined the WIPO in 1985 as a consultant and senior program officer in the Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific.


He was elected director general in 2008. His first six-year term will end on 30 September 2014.

The Coordination Committee, which comprises 83 member states, recently held one round of voting. Gurry received 46 votes, with 20 votes going to WIPO deputy director Geoffrey Onyeama of Nigeria and 10 votes for Panama Ambassador Alfredo Suescum Alfaro.

Before the second round of voting began, the candidacies of Onyeama and Suescum were withdrawn and Gurry was selected as the consensus nominee by delegates.

Gurry offered his “heartfelt and profound thanks” to member states from all regional groups for the support given to him.

He said his main goal was to “maximise opportunities for all member states”.

“I think that the world of intellectual property is a challenging one, but one with great opportunities,” Gurry told delegates.

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