ARTICLE REMOVED —
On April 11, 2014, I was contacted by Legal Counsel for the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). The communication alleged that publication of a complaint of misconduct and exhibits filed by the WIPO Deputy Director was defamatory and criminal under Swiss law. Legal action was threatened unless I immediately acquiesced to the demands. Here is the e-mail I received:
I am writing to you in my capacity as Legal Counsel of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), in relation to a report and its accompanying exhibits (“WIPO Deputy Director General Alleges Gurry Misconduct”) that are posted on your website IP Watchdog.
I should like to express my grave concern over the contents of this report, which is both insulting and defamatory, as it contains false statements that harm WIPO and the reputation of WIPO’s Director General, Mr. Francis Gurry.
As at Friday, April 11, 2014, we have noticed that the Report itself has been removed from the website. We are, however, very concerned to see that the annexes to the Report (the so-called “exhibits”) are still posted on your website. As you will no doubt know, the said Report and its exhibits or annexes constitute defamatory material which, inter alia, suggest corruption, concern DNA allegations, and are a republication of rehashed allegations.
In addition, I should like to remind you that under Swiss law, the publication of such false and defamatory material could constitute a criminal offence. This is, of course, without prejudice to the laws of any jurisdiction to which you may be subject.
We hereby request that you immediately remove the Report and all its exhibits or annexes from the website.
We hereby further request that you publish an apology to the Director General of WIPO for the publication of false and defamatory material on the website.
Please be informed that if this request is not immediately acceded to, the Director General and WIPO will seek independent legal advise to bring defamation proceedings against you in any competent jurisdiction.
We thank you for your anticipated cooperation.
Legal Counsel / World Intellectual Property Organization
As some likely know, on April 8, 2014, I had a total right hip replacement. I am doing well, but since surgery I have been on pain medication.
I am a believer in the First Amendment and the right of free speech, but given the extenuating circumstances and without admitting anything, I decided to remove the complaint and exhibits. I do not like giving into censorship, but now is not the right time for me to be making any legal decisions.
In my opinion, without the complaint of misconduct and the associated exhibits the article falls apart. Therefore, I have deleted the article altogether.
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Posted in: Gene Quinn, International, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, WIPO
About the Author
Gene Quinn is a Patent Attorney and the founder of the popular blog IPWatchdog.com, which has for three of the last four years (i.e., 2010, 2012 and 2103) been recognized as the top intellectual property blog by the American Bar Association. He is also a principal lecturer in the PLI Patent Bar Review Course. As an electrical engineer with a computer engineering focus his specialty is electronic and computer devices, Internet applications, software and business methods.