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les Nouvelles - March 2009


Update On The WIPO Arbitration And Mediation Center’s Experience In The Resolution Of Intellectual Property Disputes

The WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

As companies seek new streams of profit from their intellectual property (IP), commercializing and licensing IP assets has become an important global business model. Technology is increasingly protected on an international level, such as through the PCT or the EPO for instance. With the multiplication of international IP transactions, the number of IP-related disputes has likewise grown.

Although an IP dispute can be brought before a court, litigation is not always well equipped to take account of the particularities of IP disputes. Indeed, as IP rights are territorial, potentially lengthy and costly proceedings in all concerned jurisdictions under different laws are sometimes initiated with the risk of conflicting outcomes subject to different enforcement mechanisms.

As a result, IP owners and users are increasingly aware of the potential of alternative dispute resolution mechanisms (ADR) for resolving IP disputes. The advantages of using ADR in IP disputes are clear. ADR mechanisms allow the resolution of disputes in a single procedure avoiding the complexity of multijurisdictional litigation. The parties have greater control over the process. There is neutrality in relation to the mediator, arbitrator or expert, as well as to the law, language and institution. The parties can select arbitrators, mediators or experts with special expertise in the relevant legal, technical or business area. To a large extent, the parties an also keep the proceedings and results confidential. This is particularly important where—as is often the case in IP disputes—confidential information or trade secrets are at stake. Arbitration has the net advantage that the awards are final and are normally not subject to appeal. Their enforcement across borders is greatly facilitated by the New York Convention for the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards of 1958 (the New York Convention), which requires all 142 Member States to recognize international arbitral awards without a review

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