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Despite Scandals Francis Gurry Gets Second Term at WIPO


Written by Gene Quinn
President & Founder of IPWatchdog, Inc.
Patent Attorney, Reg. No. 44,294
Zies, Widerman & Malek
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Posted: May 14, 2014 @ 9:00 am
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Francis Gurry

Despite numerous scandals, without any objection and by consensus, the member states of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) appointed Francis Gurry to a second six-year term of office as Director General of the Organization on May 8, 2014.

WIPO is an agency of the United Nations, so I suppose a Gurry reappointment was to be expected. After all, the UN is poised to declare that the Catholic Church’s pro-life teachings are tantamount to torture, the UN has done absolutely nothing substantive to assist in the recovery of 300 girls kidnapped by Islamic fundamentalist terrorists in Nigeria, the UN has historically always had extraordinary abusers of human rights on the Human Rights Council, such as Cuba, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and China, to name but a few, and despite the fact that the UN knows that Russia rigged the annexation vote in Crimea, the organization is unwilling or simply incapable of stopping Vladamir Putin. All the while the UN never seems to miss an opportunity to demonstrate its anti-semitic nature — see here, here, here , here and here, just for starters.

So does it come as a shock to anyone that an intellectually and morally bankrupt organization like the United Nations would appoint Gurry for a second term? It doesn’t surprise me one bit.

No problems here, move along, nothing to see! After all, what is the problem with appointing someone who has been the subject of one scandal after another, which insiders allege have been covered up or simply not investigated. And in a world organization dominated by tyrants, dictators and repressive regimes, it certainly isn’t a problem when WIPO, presumably at the behest of Gurry, threatened a journalist with criminal prosecution for posting a copy of a public record document that itself alleged serious misconduct by the Director General.

What exactly was in the misconduct complaint filed by WIPO Deputy Director James Pooley that had to be quashed so desperately? Frankly, the threat of criminal and civil prosecution was ill-advised. Once a report of misconduct is removed due to the threat, the imagination runs wild. It also makes Gurry look like he has something to hide, because unlike the rest of the world, the United States has a First Amendment and there is no way that publishing a public record document that asserts allegations of misconduct by a government official would ever be determined to be defamatory.

But alas, on the international stage Gurry’s alleged misconduct and multiplying scandals must seem hardly worthy of conversation given what the UN tolerates and promotes. A truly sad commentary.

So by consensus and without any objection, Gurry gets a second term, that will begin October 1, 2014 and runs into 2020.

For those who think the intellectual property community could do better, don’t despair too much. At least the statement from the United States on the re-appointment of Gurry talked tough. It read:

The General Assembly of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) confirmed the re-election of Director General Francis Gurry on May 8.  The United States looks forward to working closely with the Director General and WIPO Member States to ensure that WIPO is a strong, well governed and forward-looking institution that is responsive to Member States.

The United States is deeply committed to the principles of transparency and accountability, including whistleblower protections, in all international organizations.  We strongly support the call made in the General Assembly meeting today for a full, independent, and external investigation of the entirety of the complaint filed by a WIPO Deputy Director General.  We expect this investigation to be implemented promptly and executed expeditiously.

I suppose talking tough is about the only thing one can expect on the international stage, but is the United States really “committed to… whistleblower protections”? I’m not sure how that can be said with a straight face when they raised no objection to Gurry’s reappointment. What good exactly is a whistleblower if the government can threaten the media with criminal prosecution for publishing a public record document actually filed by a whistleblower?

Time will of course tell, as it does with all things. Perhaps I will be mistaken and a real investigation will be undertaken and we will learn the truth. But in the world of international politics, when an organization such as the UN continually finds itself on the wrong side of history, the wrong side of fairness and the wrong side of decency, I am not going to hold my breath.

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Posted in: Gene Quinn, International, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, WIPO

About the Author

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.

 

12 comments
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  1. I struggle with any support for a quasi-one-world government (and a corresponding one-world patent system) when what appears (here and in your previously being threatened with legal action against clear First Amendment protected free speech articles) to be actions that I simply find appalling to my legal soul.

    While I do not advocate a withdrawal from interacting with the rest of the world (and that includes the U.N., for better or for worse), It is items like this that inform my understanding of those who call for our removing ourselves from that organization and an active call to disband that organization.

  2. I recall no UN office on any ballot that I have cast – ever. The UN is an unelected organization and thus has no credibility as a source of power over me. Why should I care if he runs the WIPO? Can he harm me as an inventor?

  3. Gene,

    Very unfortunate, as well as outrageous that Gurry was confirmed for another term at WIPO. Obviously, WIPO, like the rest of the UN, hath no shame. Frankly, I’m ready to boot the UN off our shores and tell them to go somewhere else on their dime, not ours.

  4. I find it incredibly enlightening reading your blog which provides an inside view of some of the United States’ most narrow-minded and intolerant people.

    Gene – It seems that the “evidence” you presented to us is nothing more than hearsay and hyperbole. It was clearly part of a smear campaign and has failed. Gurry was prepared to do what was right for the UN rather than doing the bidding of the US government.

    If people in the USA can’t recognise the value of an international organisation which brings all nations together for diplomacy, economic wellbeing and humitarian relief then they need their heads looked at.

  5. Bob,

    When you call someone else narrow-minded and intolerant, I just wonder about you.

    There is definitely smoke around Gurry – and doing “what is right” is highly questionable – not just in the eyes of the US. The fact that Gene was threatened with legal action for earlier factual posts and links to actual documents show just who is narrow-minded here (and it is not Gene).

  6. Anon,

    Looking at this whole process from an interested and independent point of view I have seen on this site a number of articles that dish dirt on Gurry that are unbalanced (i.e. they only give one side of the story) and appear to be written from a very pro-US point of view.

    Also, reading between the lines, the only reasons that I can see for the campaign against Gurry’s re-appointment are his work with North Korea, China and Russia, and his alleged involvement in providing DNA samples to a government prosecutor in Switzerland.

    Now, when he has been unanimously re-appointed, I see continued allegations and commenters (presumably from the US but correct me if I’m wrong) questioning the value of the UN and saying how outrageous it is that he’s been re-appointed.

    Again, correct me if I’m wrong but no other country appears to have a problem with Gurry.

    Of course I don’t actually know what happened but looking at it from an unbiased point of view it seems to me that this is a case of failed retribution for going against US policy in favour of WIPO/UN policy.

    On an unrelated point, and in light of the Snowden disclosures, I find it quite amusing to read the quote from the US saying “The United States is deeply committed to the principles of transparency and accountability, including whistleblower protections, in all international organizations.” I suppose they did say in “International Organizations” to cover their arse on that one!

  7. Bob at #6-

    You are incorrect. At least South Korea wanted a full investigation before re-appointing Gurry, as far as I understand.

    In terms of this being about retribution, you are entitled to your opinion but multiple independent news outlets have reported on the scandals, at least two people from within WIPO have filed a complaint against Gurry, and as far as I understand none of the allegations have been investigated. I’ve heard about many other complaints that I have never published because I could only get them verified by a single source.

    You also failed to mention the fact that WIPO and Gurry threatened me with a criminal proceeding if I did not remove the misconduct complaint filed by James Pooley from IPWatchdog.com. That type of threat on the press raised eyebrows all over the world. If there is nothing to hide then why threaten me like that?

    As far as this provoking a question about the value of the UN, that is hardly the case. In my opinion, and in the opinion of many others, the UN is perhaps the most corrupt organization in the world. On top of that the UN is wholly incapable of doing anything of value due to the way the Security Council gives veto power, so why have the UN? Even at best it is the world’s most dysfunctional debating society.

  8. Bob at #4

    You are a funny guy who likes to ignore facts it seems, and a joker no less. Narrow-mined and intolerant people in the US? That really describes the UN doesn’it? Of course it does! They hate Israel and seem to be the world’s largest anti-semitic organization. That is tolerance for you! Thanks for that laugh!

  9. I fear that Bob’s mind was so “open” that his brain fell out and he missed a critical point as Gene posts “You also failed to mention the fact that WIPO and Gurry threatened me with a criminal proceeding if I did not remove the misconduct complaint filed by James Pooley from IPWatchdog.com. That type of threat on the press raised eyebrows all over the world. If there is nothing to hide then why threaten me like that?

    Please gather back up your mind Bob and re-read my posts from the start. Try not to have an immediate US-must-be-wrong pre-conception.

  10. One can learn from these threads so much. thank you Gene, for running this subject.

    I note that Gurry was re-elected unanimously.

    I note your answer to Bob’s “no other country had a problem with Gurry” point. “Wrong” you told Bob because Korea “wanted” an investigation. That is South Korea, of course, and not its difficult neighbour North Korea.

    I continue to suppose that Gurry’s “problem” arose because he failed to afford a particular agency of the USA was an opportunity to retro-fit the PC’s that WIPO was exporting to North Korea. Always interesting is what a person accuses others of perpetrating. Knee-jerk reactions, that the other is not telling the truth, come to mind more quickly for those who are themselves economical with the truth. The notion of “It takes one to know one” comes to mind.

    We have been hearing for years assertions that Chinese telecoms devices carry software that reports back to China. Now how would anybody come to that idea?

  11. MaxDrei makes an excellent point, proving that Gene’s view is an accurate one and succeeding in impugning the US at the same time.

    Well done.

  12. Bob,

    You can take your “narrow-minded and intolerant people” malarkey and stick it “where the sun don’t shine.” Another obvious foreigner trying to perpetuate the “ugly American” myth. Frankly, I’ve seen far more “ugly” conduct outside our shores.

    Gene is absolutely correct that the UN is corrupt in the extreme, run by a bunch of non-American petty tyrants and intolerant “extremists” who have no sense of ethics, democracy, decency, fairness, justice or the rule of law. Unfortunately, our current administrates “tolerates” far too much this nonsense from the UN. And I stand behind my comment that the UN should be booted off our shores.

    That Gurry and his henchman at WIPO dare to threaten U.S. nationals with civil action/criminal action shows just why it is important to have a First Amendment. Otherwise, large foreign organizations, as well as foreign government and their officials can and will “silence” appropriate questioning of alleged improper conduct by those organizations/government/officials by resort to these overly broad defamation laws. And for your information, the U.S. SPEECH Act makes any judgment based on such defamation actions by foreign organizations, governments, or officials that are inconsistent with our First Amendment ABSOLUTELY UNENFORCEABLE in any U.S. court.