Based in Geneva, Switzerland, with a further office in Singapore, the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center was established in 1994 to offer Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) options for the resolution of international commercial disputes between private parties. Developed by leading experts in cross-border dispute settlement, the arbitration, mediation and expert determination procedures offered by the Center are widely recognized as particularly appropriate for technology, entertainment and other disputes involving intellectual property. Since 2010 the Center has an office at Maxwell Chambers in Singapore.
An increasing number of cases are being filed with the Center under the WIPO Arbitration, Expedited Arbitration, Mediation and Expert Determination Rules. The subject matter of these proceedings includes both contractual disputes (e.g. patent and software licenses, trademark coexistence agreements, distribution agreements for pharmaceutical products and research and development agreements) and non-contractual disputes (e.g. patent infringement). WIPO disputes have involved parties based in different jurisdictions including Austria, China, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Panama, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. The Center makes available a general overview of its caseload as well as descriptive examples of mediation and arbitration cases.
The Center believes that the quality and commitment of the neutrals are crucial to the satisfactory resolution of each case. The Center assists parties in the selection of mediators, arbitrators and experts from the Center's database of over 1,500 neutrals with experience in dispute resolution and specialized knowledge in intellectual property disputes. Where necessary in individual cases, the Center will use its worldwide contacts to identify additional candidates with the required background. After appointment also, the Center monitors its cases in terms of their time and cost effectiveness.
The Center conducts a number of workshops focused on its procedures in Geneva during the course of the year which are frequented especially by intellectual property professionals including prospective WIPO neutrals. There is also available an online course on arbitration and mediation under the WIPO Rules.
One of the case administration facilities which the Center makes available at the parties' option is the WIPO Electronic Case Facility (WIPO ECAF). WIPO ECAF allows for secure filing, storing and retrieval of case-related submissions in a web-based electronic docket, by parties, neutral(s) and the Center from anywhere in the world. It also facilitates case management by providing, in addition to the online docket, a case overview, time tracking and finance information.
While WIPO ECAF is available only to parties to a WIPO procedure, the Center, under certain circumstances, makes available this facility in non-WIPO procedures. For example, the Center provides a customized version of WIPO ECAF for use in the Jury procedure of the 32nd America’s Cup, the international yachting competition that commenced in 2004, culminating in the final regattas in Valencia, Spain in summer 2007.
The Center has also focused significant resources on establishing an operational and legal framework for the administration of disputes relating to the Internet and electronic commerce. For example, today the Center is recognized as the leading dispute resolution service provider for disputes arising out of the abusive registration and use of Internet domain names. In addition, the Center is frequently consulted on other specialized dispute resolution services.
An independent and impartial body, the Center forms part of the World Intellectual Property Organization.