The International Association for the Protection of Intellectual Property

Aims and Purpose

The International Association for the Protection of Intellectual Property, generally known under the abbreviated name AIPPI, is the world’s leading International Organization dedicated to the development and improvement of the regimes for the protection of intellectual property.

It is a politically neutral, non-profit organization, domiciled in Switzerland which currently has almost 9000 Members representing more than 100 countries.

The objective of AIPPI is to improve and promote the protection of intellectual property on both an international and national basis. It pursues this objective by working for the development, expansion and improvement of international and regional treaties and agreements and also of national laws relating to intellectual property.

It operates by conducting studies of existing national laws and proposes measures to achieve harmonisation of these laws on an international basis. In this context AIPPI has become increasingly concerned with issues concerning the enforcement of intellectual property rights.

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The History of AIPPI

AIPPI dates back to 1897, shortly following the signature of the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property in the year 1883. Following the initiative of leading legal scientists and practitioners a founders meeting was held in Brussels on May 8, 1897 and in October 1897 the first Congress was convened in Vienna with subsequent festivities in Budapest. Congresses were held annually in the early stages, later alternating with “Reunions”, until the beginning of the First World War dictated an interruption in 1914.

The revival of the Association took place in 1925. Under the leadership of the Swiss Patent Attorney, Eugen Blum, the centre of gravity of AIPPI moved to Switzerland.

As a consequence of the Second World War, the activities of the Association suffered a second interruption from 1938 to 1946. The development of AIPPI to its present form has been a continual one. Starting with an emphasis on Western Europe it has become a truly international Association, including North and South America, Eastern European countries, Asia, Australia and Africa.

In 1997 AIPPI celebrated its Centennial in Vienna and Budapest. In its long history, AIPPI has adopted more than 700 Resolutions and Reports. The presentation of these Resolutions and Reports to international Governmental Organizations, in particular the WIPO, has contributed considerably to the development, improvement and harmonization of the international protection of Intellectual Property.

Recently AIPPI has revised and improved its Statutes and Regulations (which are available in English, French and German) in order to meet not only the challenges present in the IP field but also the needs of the Membership.

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The Organization of AIPPI

The Members of AIPPI are people actively interested in intellectual property protection on a national or international level.

They include lawyers, patent attorneys and trademark agents as well as judges, scientists and engineers. They also include corporations.

AIPPI is organized into 64 National and 2 Regional Groups and membership is obtained by joining one of these Groups. In countries where no Group exists, membership is obtained as an Independent Member in the international organization.

The primary international bodies of AIPPI are:

  • the General Assembly, in which all Members have a right to participate and which is responsible for adopting and modifying the Statutes;
  • the Executive Committee, made up of Delegates of all of the Groups – around 300 in number; this is the principal decision-making body of AIPPI;
  • the Council of Presidents, made up of the Presidents of the Groups plus a representative of the Independent Members; and
  • the Bureau which directs the activities of AIPPI; it is formed of eight Members including the President of AIPPI who chairs the Bureau and the Vice President; the Secretary General and a Deputy who, with three Assistants, are responsible for administration and representation; the Reporter General and two Deputies who, with three Assistants, organize the substantive work of the Association; and a Treasurer General who is in charge of financial resources.

The General Secretariat and staff have offices in Zurich, Switzerland.

Among the more important Standing Committees are the Programme Committee which recommends to the Executive Committee the subjects for study; the Finance Advisory Committee which acts as an internal auditor; and the Nominating Committee which proposes candidates for the various elective offices.

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The Meetings of AIPPI

A Congress open to all Members is scheduled every two years. Normally, about 2000 Members attend with around 1000 accompanying persons. Recent venues include Melbourne, Geneva, Gothenburg, Boston and Paris. The 2012 Congress will be held in Incheon (Rep. of Korea). This two-year cycle is a change from the previous three-year cycle and responds to the increasing pace of international developments. At a Congress, pending Questions concerning international law are discussed and decisions taken on a consensus basis. At the same time, a Congress serves as a forum for workshops which offer valuable educational programs for the participants.

The Executive Committee convenes at each Congress and also in the years in between. The Council of Presidents also meets annually during each Congress and each intervening Executive Committee Meeting. This provides continuity of broadly based decision taking.

AIPPI has instituted a Forum which will meet every other year immediately preceding an Executive Committee Meeting. These are open to all Members but also to Non-Members and provide educational programs of current interest as well as networking among participants.

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The Publications of AIPPI

AIPPI publishes the results of its substantive work in a Yearbook, prepared after each International Meeting. The Yearbook is distributed free of charge to Members and selected scientific institutions. Non-Members can obtain it from the General Secretariat at a cost of CHF 30.–

All international Reports are published in the three official languages of AIPPI: English, French and German. Resolutions are also published in Spanish. The Group Reports are published only in one language but each is accompanied by a summary in the other languages.

In order to keep the Membership informed, the General Secretariat publishes a Newsletter four times per year. It includes executive summaries of the most recent international developments as well as articles on administrative matters.

This Website which has become an indispensable tool for all circles interested in intellectual property. Here, for example, may be found all substantive Questions which are currently being considered as well as those which have been considered since its founding in 1897. It also includes reports of AIPPI Representatives to various meetings and information on international, regional and national meetings along with a list of officers and committee chairs.

The entire Membership List is also here on a protected site for Members only.

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The Working Methods of AIPPI

Under the supervision of the Reporter General and the Chairman of the Programme Committee AIPPI conducts its scientific work, namely the study of issues of topical concern in the I.P. world.

Once the working programme is established, Working Committees are formed to study each pending Question.

The Reporters General team prepare Working Guidelines which the Groups follow in preparing their individual reports.

The Group Reports are then concentrated or synthesized by the Reporter General team into a Summary Report.

These studies are the basis for the Working Committees in the preparation of draft Resolutions and Reports which are then discussed at Congresses and Executive Committee Meetings. When a consensus is achieved, a final Report and Resolution are prepared for adoption by the Executive Committee.

Over 700 Resolutions have been passed by AIPPI. By those Resolutions AIPPI has had a major influence on the development of International Intellectual Property Law.

AIPPI’s Resolutions are published in English, French and German and supplied to WIPO, WTO and national patent and trade mark offices around the world.

In urgent cases, AIPPI’s attitude may be determined by correspondence, including e-mail. AIPPI’s Reports and Resolutions are regularly submitted to the relevant international and national organizations and serve as a basis of instruction to AIPPI’s permanent Representatives and Experts at these organizations.

Special Committees guarantee that AIPPI is promptly informed about current developments in specific fields and monitor the long range projects of international legal development.

The Permanent Representatives of AIPPI act as its ambassadors, liaise with all important international Governmental and Non-Governmental Organizations and promote mutual coordination and cooperation.

AIPPI has regular high level contacts with international and regional institutions. In particular, AIPPI has annual Meetings with the Director General of WIPO enabling AIPPI to take account of WIPO’s proposals in AIPPI’s working agenda.

Furthermore AIPPI meets regularly with officers of FICPI and LES to discuss issues of mutual interests.

AIPPI endeavors to promote the development of national law in International Forums and Symposia and by direct consulting work, in particular in developing countries.

These coordinated efforts for improving and harmonizing intellectual property protection at International Meetings often lead to relationships beyond the purely professional which in turn deepen mutual understanding across national borders.

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The primary purpose of AIPPI is to undertake scientific work in intellectual property. This attracts leading practitioners, corporations, academics and other parties interested in IP from all over the world to AIPPI’s meetings. Naturally, these meetings, at which issues are discussed and worked on in small groups and in plenary sessions, interspersed with social functions, provide an excellent opportunity for members to meet and build personal and professional relationships.

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What has AIPPI actually achieved for the Benefit of Intellectual Property Owners and Users?

Some important examples are as follows:

  • Promotion of Revisions of the Paris Conventions leading to enormous improvement in the protection of industrial property during the 20th century.
  • The establishment of the Trade Marks Law Treaty (which is the result of an AIPPI initiative).
  • The passing of Resolutions (such as the test for the Experimental Use exception in patent law) which are cited as authority on what the law should be in some jurisdictions.
  • Delegations of AIPPI are established as active participants in all major international and regional discussions on intellectual property law projects – viz Patent Law Treaty, European Community Patent Convention, Directive of the European Union on Biotechnology, the Hague Agreement and the Madrid Protocol, to mention just a few.

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How to become an active Member of AIPPI

If you are interested in becoming an active member, AIPPI cordially invites you to join the National or Regional Group in your country. According to the Statutes, all Members of a National or Regional Group are automatically Members of AIPPI.

If your principal professional or business activity is located in another country where no National or Regional Group of AIPPI exist, you may join as an independent member.

Please fill in the form at the bottom of this page. The information will be forwarded to the officers of the National or Regional Group in your country or to the General Secretariat for initiating the registration process.

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