Cablegate: German and Epo Response to Wipo Demarche
RR RUEHAG RUEHDF RUEHLZ
DE RUEHRL #1247/01 1731324
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 221324Z JUN 07
FM AMEMBASSY BERLIN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8613
INFO RUCNFRG/FRG COLLECTIVE
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1370
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0482
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 BERLIN 001247
FOR IO/T NAMDE
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ETRD KIPR WIPO SZ GM
SUBJECT: GERMAN AND EPO RESPONSE TO WIPO DEMARCHE
REF: STATE 80345
ENTIRE TEXT IS SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED, NOT FOR
1. SUMMARY: Embassy Berlin discussed holding WIPO
DG accountable for his actions as requested in
reftel. Ministry of Foreign Affairs contacts voiced
support for the USG view but also discussed the
delicacy of Germany's position, due to its ongoing
role as President of the European Council.
Specifically, Germany will have difficulty in
strongly advocating something that other large EU
member states oppose. The Ministry also advised
that support from major developing countries (e.g.,
India, Brazil, or China) would help solidify a
European consensus in support of the U.S. position.
Consulate General Munich delivered points to the
President of the European Patent Office (EPO) which
promised to take the matter under consideration.
However the EPO stated its role as that of a
technical organization and is hesitant to enter into
such an issue fraught with political consequences
that is opposed by some of its member states. END
GERMAN FOREIGN MINISTRY REACTION
2. On June 21, Econoff delivered points to the
Foreign Ministry's Head of Section for Civil,
Economic and Worker Rights Goetz Schmidt-Bremme and
Maren Becker, who covers WIPO issues in the
ministry. Schmidt-Bremme and Becker said they are
aware of the controversy surrounding WIPO DG Idris.
Schmidt-Bremme added that Germany in principle
supports the USG calls for accountability in this
case. However, as current President of the European
Council, he cautioned that it would be difficult for
Germany to go its own way on such an issue without
the consensus of major European powers with
historical ties to developing African countries,
such as France and Portugal. In order to form a
European consensus to support the U.S. proposal for
accountability in this case, Schmidt-Bremme said it
would be especially helpful to have the support of a
major developing country, such as China, Brazil or
India to bolster the USG position and defuse claims
of racism. Schmidt-Bremme said he would convey our
position to their mission in Geneva.
3. ConGen Munich Pol/Econoff met with European
Patent Office (EPO) President Dr. Alain Pompidou on
June 18 and delivered the points in reftel.
Pompidou expressed appreciation for the U.S.
position but explained that EPO is a "technical
organization, not a political one." He added that
while the EPO participates to some degree as an
observer in WIPO, it is not a voting member, and its
membership does not precisely overlap with WIPO
membership. However, he promised to take the U.S.
position under consideration. Pompidou also asked
if the U.S. anticipated particular region-specific
reactions to our request that Idris be held
accountable, noting that he believed Idris to be a
Muslim, which might make it difficult to marshal the
support of the Islamic world.
4. Without commenting directly on the charges
against Idris, Head of the EPO President's Office C.
J. McGinley said the EPO shared the U.S. view that
for an effective international intellectual property
protection system, there must be transparency and
good governance in the organizations that uphold
that system. He added that a well-functioning WIPO
is very important to the EPO, as there is strong
interdependence between organizations on
intellectual property issues. McGinley continued
that the U.S. had recently argued for due process in
a similar situation (an apparent reference to
Wolfowitz and the World Bank), and noted Idris
should be accorded the same consideration.
Pol/Econoff responded that while the U.S. believed
Idris' personal credibility -- and by extension
WIPO's credibility -- had suffered to such a degree
BERLIN 00001247 002 OF 002
that we believed Idris should resign for the good of
the organization, the U.S. was not arguing against
due process and was open to discussion of the best
course of action regarding Idris' future.
5. COMMENT: While the professional staff of the
EPO would likely want to see greater transparency
and accountability in WIPO to further international
intellectual property protection, the EPO is, at the
end of the day, beholden to the views of the nations
that make up its membership.
6. This demarche was coordinated with CG Munich.