AIPPI (Association Internationale pour la Protection de la Propriété Intellectuelle)

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 legal regimes for the protection of intellectual property (IP).

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

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

It operates by conducting studies of existing national laws and proposes measures to achieve harmonization of these laws on an international basis. Where appropriate, AIPPI intervenes with submissions before major courts and legislative bodies to advocate for strengthened IP protection.

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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 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 years, later alternating with “Reunions”, until the outbreak of the First World War forced an interruption in 1914.

The revival of the Association took place in 1925. Under the leadership of 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. From its roots in Western Europe it has become a truly international Association, encompassing Eastern European countries, North, South and Central America, virtually all of Asia (including large National Groups in China, Japan and South Korea), Australia, New Zealand and much of 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 WIPO, has contributed considerably to the development, improvement and harmonization of the international protection of IP.

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 individuals interested in intellectual property protection on a national or international level.

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

AIPPI is organized into 68 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 nine 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; a Treasurer General who is in charge of financial resources; and a Congress Representative.

The General Secretariat and its staff have an office in Zurich, Switzerland.

AIPPI has the following Statutory Committees: the Programme Committee which recommends to the Executive Committee the subjects for study; the Finance Committee which acts as an internal auditor; the Nominating Committee which proposes candidates for the various elective offices; the Membership Committee which acts as a bridge between the membership and the Bureau; the Communications Committee which disseminates information about AIPPI and its activities; and the Venue Selection Committee which proposes venues for future AIPPI annual meetings (Congresses).

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The Meetings of AIPPI

A World Congress open to all Members is held annually, in September or October. Normally, about 2000 members attend with accompanying persons. Recent venues include Sydney, Milan, Rio de Janeiro, Toronto, and Seoul. The 2019 World Congress will be held in London, England. This annual cycle is a change from the previous two-year cycle and responds to the increasing pace of international developments. At a World Congress, pending Study Questions concerning international law are discussed and decisions taken on a consensus basis. At the same time, a World Congress serves as a forum for an Educational Programme, offering a Professional Development Programme with valuable educational sessions.

The Executive Committee convenes at each Congress. The Council of Presidents also meets annually during each Congress.

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The Publications of AIPPI

AIPPI publishes (electronically) the results of its substantive work in a Yearbook, prepared after each International Meeting.

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. In the Library, for example, may be found all substantive Study Questions which are currently being considered, as well as those which have been considered since its founding in 1897. The website 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 and members.

The entire Membership List is also 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 substantive work, namely, the study of issues of topical concern in the IP world.

Once the Annual Work Programme is established, Study Committees are formed to study each pending Study Question (SQ).

The Reporter General team prepares Guidelines which the Groups follow in preparing their individual Reports.The Reports are then synthesized by the Reporter General team into a Summary Report.

These Reports and the Summary Report are the basis for the Study Committees in the preparation of Draft Resolutions which are then discussed at Congresses. When a consensus is achieved, a final Resolution (Plenary Approved SQ Resolution) is prepared for adoption by the Executive Committee.

Over 700 Resolutions have been passed by AIPPI. With those Resolutions, AIPPI has had a major influence on the development of international IP Law.

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

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

The 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, as well as with major IP offices.

Furthermore, AIPPI meets regularly with officers of other NGO’s to discuss issues of mutual interest.

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

These coordinated efforts for improving and harmonizing IP 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 study of IP laws. This attracts to AIPPI’s meetings leading practitioners, corporations, academics and other parties interested in IP from all over the world. 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 recognized 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 a member, AIPPI cordially invites you to join the National or Regional Group in your country. According to AIPPI’s Statutes, all Members of a National or Regional Group are automatically Members of AIPPI.

If your principal professional or business activity is located in a country where no National or Regional Group of AIPPI exists, you may join as an Independent Member.

Please fill in the Membership Application Form. The information will be forwarded to the officers of the National or Regional Group in your country or, in the case of a prospective Independent Member, to the General Secretariat for initiating the registration process.

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