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Francis Gurry

Francis Gurry

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Francis Gurry is an Australian national and the fourth and current Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organization
World Intellectual Property Organization
The World Intellectual Property Organization is one of the 17 specialized agencies of the United Nations. WIPO was created in 1967 "to encourage creative activity, to promote the protection of intellectual property throughout the world"....

 (WIPO). He is also Secretary-General of the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants
International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants
The International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants or UPOV is an intergovernmental organization with headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. The current Secretary-General of UPOV is Francis Gurry....

 (UPOV). Gurry previously served as a Deputy Director General of WIPO from 2003 to 2008.


Gurry graduated in 1974 from the University of Melbourne
University of Melbourne
The University of Melbourne is a public university located in Melbourne, Victoria. Founded in 1853, it is the second oldest university in Australia and the oldest in Victoria...

 with a Bachelor of Laws
Bachelor of Laws
The Bachelor of Laws is an undergraduate, or bachelor, degree in law originating in England and offered in most common law countries as the primary law degree...

 and was admitted as a barrister
A barrister is a member of one of the two classes of lawyer found in many common law jurisdictions with split legal professions. Barristers specialise in courtroom advocacy, drafting legal pleadings and giving expert legal opinions...

 and solicitor
Solicitors are lawyers who traditionally deal with any legal matter including conducting proceedings in courts. In the United Kingdom, a few Australian states and the Republic of Ireland, the legal profession is split between solicitors and barristers , and a lawyer will usually only hold one title...

 of the Supreme Court of Victoria
Supreme Court of Victoria
The Supreme Court of Victoria is the superior court for the State of Victoria, Australia. It was founded in 1852, and is a superior court of common law and equity, with unlimited jurisdiction within the state...

, Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

 in 1975. He worked in Melbourne as an articled clerk and solicitor at Arthur Robinson & Co. (now Allens Arthur Robinson
Allens Arthur Robinson
Allens Arthur Robinson is a commercial law firm that operates in the Asia-Pacific region. In Australia, and throughout the Asia-Pacific region generally, it is considered to be one of the top commercial law firms.- Offices :...

) and earned a Master of Laws
Master of Laws
The Master of Laws is an advanced academic degree, pursued by those holding a professional law degree, and is commonly abbreviated LL.M. from its Latin name, Legum Magister. The University of Oxford names its taught masters of laws B.C.L...

 degree from the University of Melbourne in 1976. From 1976 to 1979, Gurry was a research student at the Faculty of Law
Faculty of Law, Cambridge
The Faculty of Law at the University of Cambridge is one of the faculties at the Sidgwick Site. The building opened in 1996 and was designed by Norman Foster, who also designed the terminal building at Stansted Airport and 30 St Mary Axe...

 at the University of Cambridge
University of Cambridge
The University of Cambridge is a public research university located in Cambridge, United Kingdom. It is the second-oldest university in both the United Kingdom and the English-speaking world , and the seventh-oldest globally...

, United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, from which he was awarded a PhD
PHD may refer to:*Ph.D., a doctorate of philosophy*Ph.D. , a 1980s British group*PHD finger, a protein sequence*PHD Mountain Software, an outdoor clothing and equipment company*PhD Docbook renderer, an XML renderer...

 in 1980 for his thesis dealing with breach of confidence
Breach of confidence
The tort of breach of confidence, is a common law tort that protects private information that is conveyed in confidence. A claim for breach of confidence typically requires the information to be of a confidential nature, which was communicated in confidence, and was disclosed to the detriment of...


Before joining WIPO, Gurry was a senior lecturer in law at the University of Melbourne and, for one year, a solicitor at Freehills
Freehills is a commercial law firm that operates in the Asia-Pacific region. In Australia it is considered one of the 'Big Six' law firms.-Offices:Freehills has offices in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane in Australia...

, Melbourne. Intellectual Asset Management magazine (January/February 2009), Francis Gurry – rebuilding WIPO’s shattered reputation. Consulted on 21 February 2011. He was also a visiting professor of law at the University of Dijon, France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...


Francis Gurry joined the World Intellectual Property Organization in 1985 as a consultant and senior program officer in the Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific. Between 1988 and 1999, he held positions in different sectors of WIPO, including in the Industrial Property Law Section, the Office of the Director General, and the Legal Counsel Office. As Assistant Director General (from 1999-2003) and Deputy Director General (from 2003-2008), he was in charge of a variety of areas including the Patent Cooperation Treaty
Patent Cooperation Treaty
The Patent Cooperation Treaty is an international patent law treaty, concluded in 1970. It provides a unified procedure for filing patent applications to protect inventions in each of its contracting states...

 (PCT), patent
A patent is a form of intellectual property. It consists of a set of exclusive rights granted by a sovereign state to an inventor or their assignee for a limited period of time in exchange for the public disclosure of an invention....

 law and policy, the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (which he helped establish), traditional knowledge
Traditional knowledge
Traditional knowledge , indigenous knowledge , traditional environmental knowledge and local knowledge generally refer to the long-standing traditions and practices of certain regional, indigenous, or local communities. Traditional knowledge also encompasses the wisdom, knowledge, and teachings...

, traditional cultural expressions and genetic resources, and life sciences.

Francis Gurry was nominated as a candidate for the position of Director General of WIPO in February 2008 and won the election on 13 May 2008. On 22 September 2008, he was appointed Director General by the WIPO General Assembly. His six-year term started on 1 October 2008 and will run through to the end of September 2014.


  • International Intellectual Property in an Integrated World Economy, Aspen Publishers, New York, 2007 (with Frederick Abbot and Thomas Cottier), ISBN 978-0735539587
  • International Intellectual Property System: Commentary and Materials, Kluwer Law International, The Hague, 1999 (with Frederick Abbot and Thomas Cottier), ISBN 90-411-9322-7
  • Breach of Confidence, Oxford University Press
    Oxford University Press
    Oxford University Press is the largest university press in the world. It is a department of the University of Oxford and is governed by a group of 15 academics appointed by the Vice-Chancellor known as the Delegates of the Press. They are headed by the Secretary to the Delegates, who serves as...

    , Oxford, 1984, ISBN 0-19-825378-8 (re-printed 1990)
  • Confidential Information, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1981

Selected articles

  • “The Cambrian Explosion”, International Review of Intellectual Property and Competition Law, vol. 38, no. 3 (2007), pp. 255-258
  • “Globalization, Intellectual Property and Development”, Proceedings of the American Society of International Law, 2005
  • “The Growing Complexity of International Policy in Intellectual Property”, Science and Engineering Ethics, vol. 11, no. 1 (2005), pp. 13-20
  • “The Dispute Resolution Services of the World Intellectual Property Organization”, Journal of International Economic Law, vol. 2, no. 2 (1999), pp. 385 – 398
  • “The Evolution of Technology and Markets and the Management of Intellectual Property Rights”, in Frederick Abbott and David Gerber (eds.) Public Policy and Global Technology Integration, (Kluwer Law International, London, 1997), ISBN 90-411-0655-3
  • “Arbitrage et propriété intellectuelle”, in Institut de recherche en propriété intellectuelle Arbitrage et propriété intellectuelle (Libraires Techniques, Paris, 1994), ISBN 2-7111-2383-9

External links