The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is a United Nations agency functioning as a global forum for intellectual property (patents, copyright, trademarks, and designs) related services, policy, information, and cooperation. The organisation was established in 1967 and it currently has 188 member states, plus over 200 observers representing non-governmental organisations and intergovernmental organisations.
WIPO's activities are focused on: contributing to the development of a balanced and effective international intellectual property (IP) system; providing global services to protect IP at a global level and to resolve disputes; sharing of knowledge and information on IP related issues; and encouraging cooperation and offering capacity building programmes aimed to enable countries to use IP for economic, social and cultural development;
In the area of Internet governance, WIPO is providing domain name dispute resolution services, through its Arbitration and Mediation Center. In this regard, the organisation has developed (in collaboration with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) – the main domain name dispute resolution mechanism for conflicts on the right to register and use domain names under certain generic top level domains (gTLDs), such as .com, .net, and .org. The Center also administers disputes under a number of specific policies adopted by individual gTLD registries; it also provides domain name dispute resolution services for over 70 country code top level domains (ccTLDs).
The organisation administers the WIPO Copyright Treaty and the WIPO Performances and Phonogram Treaty (known as the ‘Internet Treaties’), which contain international norms aimed at preventing unauthorised access to and use of creative works on the Internet or other digital networks. It also caries out research and provides recommendations on issues related to the protection of intellectual property rights in the digital environment (especially with regards to copyright and trademarks).