NUS Law alumnus Mr Daren Tang has been appointed Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). He becomes the first Singaporean to lead a United Nations (UN) agency, succeeding Mr Francis Gurry from Australia who has held the position for 12 years.
The WIPO is the global forum for intellectual property (IP) services, policy, information and cooperation. A specialised agency of the UN, the WIPO assists its 193 Member States in developing a balanced international IP legal framework to meet society's evolving needs. It also provides business services for obtaining IP rights in multiple countries and resolving disputes.
Mr Tang, who graduated from NUS in 1997, will start his six-year term at WIPO on 1 October. He will step down as the Chief Executive of the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) – a role he has held since November 2015.
Under his stewardship, IPOS was transformed from an IP registry and regulator into an innovation agency which launched a series of world’s first IP products, including a mobile application for trademark application. Prior to his stint at IPOS, Mr Tang was also Singapore’s lead negotiator in the IP chapters of several important free trade agreements.
Mr Tang was appointed Director General by the General Assembly, the highest governing body of the WIPO, following his nomination by the WIPO Coordination Committee in March 2020.
In his acceptance speech, Mr Tang expressed his gratitude to the Singapore Government for supporting him as its nominee. “I am proud to be a son of Singapore, and my hope is to bring the values of professionalism, integrity, inclusiveness and multilateralism, all of which are very much part of the Singapore ethos, in the service of the global IP community,” he said.
Sharing his vision for the WIPO, Mr Tang stressed the need to build an inclusive, balanced, vibrant and forward-looking global intellectual IP ecosystem. This would include providing more support to less developed countries as well as innovators and artists, enabling Member States and the international community to leverage IP data from the WIPO for policy insights, and partnering international organisations to find solutions to global challenges such as climate change.
Mr Tang will be the fifth Director General of the WIPO.