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WIPO Slammed For Scrapping Open Source Meeting

by Robin Pilgrim, LawAndTax-News.com, London

10 November 2003


In a report published last Thursday, technology news service, The Register slammed the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) for dropping its first planned meeting on "open and collaborative" projects, which would presumably have covered the controversial and emotive topic of open source software.

Writing last week, Bob McDowall of Bloor Research stressed the international organisation's integral position in the protection and development of intellectual property, and in the creation of policies in this area. He then went on to observe that:

"Given its background and mandate it is surprising that it scrapped its first meeting on "open and collaborative" projects such as "open source software". After all open source does, indeed rely on intellectual property rights. It cannot exist without them."

"It is, therefore, bemusing that the US Director of International Relations for the US Patent and Trademark Office apparently opposed such a meting, claiming that such a meeting would run against the mission of WIPO to promote intellectual property rights."

Darkly hinting at the possible involvement of software firms such as Microsoft in the USPTO's decision to become involved in the matter, the report continued:

"It is curious that WIPO should have acceded to such "requests". It is even more surprising that a USA government agency should so manifestly promote such views, at least in such a clumsy and unsophisticated way. It is even more surprising that WIPO acceded to such demands, if, indeed, these were the reasons for "scrapping" such a meeting."


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