“Tang’s nomination as WIPO Director General is widely viewed as a success for U.S. diplomacy at the United Nations. The United States had strongly opposed the Chinese candidate, Wang Binying, and had appointed special envoy Mark Lambert to counter China’s influence at the UN.”
U.S. Government officials have congratulated Daren Tang on his nomination as WIPO Director General.
As reported by IPWatchdog yesterday, Tang was nominated to the post by the WIPO Coordination Committee at a vote in Geneva. The nomination is expected to be confirmed by the WIPO General Assembly when it meets on May 7-8, 2020. Tang will then succeed Francis Gurry on October 1, 2020.
The Election Process
According to reports from Geneva, Tang won after two rounds of voting. He led the first round with 37 votes out of the 83 members of the Coordination Committee, with the Chinese candidate, Wang Binying, in second place with 19. Tang then secured a clear victory in the second round, with 55 votes to Wang’s 28.
There were 10 candidates who entered the race to succeed Gurry. However, four of these withdrew before the Coordination Committee met and Saule Tlevlessova of Kazakhstan withdrew before the first round of voting. Ivo Gagliuffi Piercechi of Peru was eliminated in the first round. Marco Matías Alemán of Colombia and Edward Kwakwa of Ghana both withdrew ahead of the second round.
The U.S. Response
In a statement, U.S Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said: “On behalf of the United States, I congratulate Daren Tang for his election as Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). Mr. Tang is an effective advocate for protecting intellectual property, a vocal proponent of transparency and institutional integrity, and a leader who can unify WIPO member states by forging consensus on difficult issues. We look forward to working closely with him during his tenure as Director General to advance WIPO’s core mission of safeguarding intellectual property as a means of driving innovation, investment, and economic opportunity.”
The U.S. Department of Commerce also released a statement. In it, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said: “The election of Daren Tang as Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organization is good news for the global economy. Mr. Tang understands the importance of intellectual property rights to inventors, artists, entrepreneurs, companies, and all those whose livelihoods depend on their creative genius.”
Andrei Iancu, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and USPTO Director added: “We are eager to work with Mr. Tang and his leadership team to enhance multilateral cooperation and build consensus on IP issues. We especially look forward to working with WIPO and all of its member states to continue its mission of safeguarding intellectual property as a means of driving innovation, investment, and economic opportunity everywhere in the world.”
Tang’s nomination is widely viewed as a success for U.S. diplomacy at the United Nations. The United States had strongly opposed the Chinese candidate, Wang Binying, and had appointed special envoy Mark Lambert to counter China’s influence at the UN.
In an article published in the Financial Times, Peter Navarro, Assistant to the U.S. President, and Director of Trade and Manufacturing Policy, said: “The U.S. believes that giving control of WIPO to a representative of China would be a terrible mistake.” This position was supported by a bipartisan letter sent to Pompeo by U.S. Senators Young, Schumer, Cotton, and Van Hollen on March 3.
Experience and International Reception
Tang has been Chief Executive of the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) since November 2015, having previously served as Deputy Chief Executive. He joined IPOS in 2012 and has a LL.B from the Faculty of Law of the National University of Singapore, and an LL.M from the Georgetown University Law Center, where he was a Fellow of the Institute of International Economic Law.
At IPOS he has overseen several digital initiatives to make the Office more accessible, including the IP2SG integrated e-filing platform and the IPOS Go smartphone app. He has also taken part in international negotiations and has chaired the WIPO Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights.
He is the first Singaporean to be nominated to lead a UN Agency, according to a tweet by Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. His nomination has been widely welcomed on social media, including by representatives of the EU, Germany, New Zealand, Australia, the U.S. Chamber and the South Centre (which represents developing countries).