More on Gurry Controversy and Brazil at WIPO

June 21, 2008

I just found out about the possible Brazilian-led challenge to Francis Gurry’s election as the new DG of WIPO a few hours ago.

Here are some interesting quotes (my translations) from news stories linked to by Joff Wild in the story I mentioned earlier.

This from the Agencia Estado coverage:

[Brazil’s Foreign Minister, Celso] Amorim, according to sources within his cabinet, admitted that the situation of the Australian [Gurry] could become unsustainable, as his placement could bring about a paralysis within the organization on account of the dispute between wealthy and poor [states].

Brazil, as a result, is inclined to re-open the debate over the vote. However, the chancellor does not exclude the possibility that the new director could come from a third country and not be the Brazilian Graça Aranha. The primary object of Itamaraty [Brazil’s Department of State], therefore, would be to guarantee that highest position overseeing the world’s patent system was occupied by someone sympathetic to the positions of emerging countries.

And the Folha de Sao Paulo (syndicated by Verbanet) reports that Gurry incurred the wrath of Amorim and the Lula government on account of his refusal to grant the second position at WIPO to Brazilian DG candidate Jose Graça Aranha (who lost to Gurry by 1 vote). Here’s a couple of good quotes from the story:

After spreading rumors that he would invite José Graça Aranha, who came in second in the voting…Gurry changed tactics. On Saturday, he offered a Brazilian diplomat a position in the third tier of the WIPO directorate, in the first formal attempt to pacify Itamaraty following its controversial nomination.

According to the Folha’s sources, Gurry said to the diplomat that he could not invite Graça Aranha to occupy one of the four vice-directorates of WIPO because he felt that this would give the Brazilian a platform from which he would try to undermine him.

All told, this sounds like a lot of cross-accusation and diplomatic shin-kicking. Nevertheless, I think it’s safe to say that none of it bodes well for Gurry’s ability to secure a strong mandate from a majority of the WIPO member states.

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