Press Releases

The Selection of Mr. Kenichiro Natsume as a Candidate for the Election of Director General of World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)

October 29, 2019

1. The election to nominate the next Director General of WIPO is to take place in Geneva, Switzerland on March 5 and 6 in 2020.

2. In this regard, the Government of Japan has decided to submit the candidature of Mr. Kenichiro Natsume for the post of Director General of WIPO. Mr. Natsume is currently serving as the Senior Director of Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) Legal and International Affairs Department of WIPO.

3. Mr. Natsume is very experienced in the practices, policy making, diplomacy of intellectual property and supporting emerging countries through intellectual property, being well-versed in information and communication technology (ICT). He will be able to effectively respond to WIPO’s urgent challenges, such as rapid advances being made in ICT and driving economic growth in emerging countries through innovation.

4. The Government of Japan is committed to making every effort to gain the support from member states to ensure Mr. Natsume is elected to the position.

[Reference #1] Overview of WIPO
WIPO is a specialized agency of the United Nations, which is in charge of intellectual property (IP). It is comprised of 192 member states and is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. About 1,100 staff members work for WIPO, whose main tasks include making rules on IP, operating and managing international filing systems, and supporting emerging countries with the IP needs.

[Reference #2] Election of WIPO Director General
The next Director General will be elected by vote of the WIPO Coordination Committee that consists of 83 member states out of the 192 WIPO member states. Each member state of the Committee has one vote. The Director General’s term of office is six years.

[Reference #3] Mr. Natsume’s curriculum vitae
Mr. Natsume was born in 1968 and graduated with a master’s degree from the Graduate School of Engineering at Tohoku University. In 1992, he started to work at the Japan Patent Office. Since then, he held various posts in the Japanese government, such as patent examiner, administrative patent judge, first Secretary of the Permanent Mission of Japan in Geneva, and the Director of Multilateral Policy Office of the Japan Patent Office. Mr. Natsume served as the head of WIPO Japan Office from 2012, the Director of WIPO PCT International Cooperation Division from 2014, and in September 2019 he was appointed to the Senior Director of WIPO PCT Legal and International Affairs Department.

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