Singapore’s Daren Tang elected as Next WIPO Director General

Daren Tang has been elected to be the next WIPO Director General, succeeding Francis Gurry.

Tang is currently the Chief Executive of the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS). He has served in this capacity since 2015. Prior to that he was Deputy Chief Executive and Chief Legal Counsel for IPOS and Senior State Counsel, International Affairs Division at the Singapore Attorney-General’s Chambers. He also has served as Chairperson for WIPO’s Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights.

In a letter proposing Tang as a candidate for the WIPO DG position, Dr. Vivian Balakrishnan described Tang as “an experienced and inclusive leader who is able to balance the interests of all stakeholders to forge consensus.” Balakrishnan said that Tang has transformed IPOS from a regulator to an “innovation agency” and noted his extensive experience with bilateral and multilateral trade negotiations.

WIPO’s election process began in January and formally ends tomorrow. The WIPO Coordination Committee comprises 83 of WIPO’s 192 member states and considered 10 candidates for the position. Tang won over candidates from Nigeria, Colombia, Peru, Ghana, Japan, Argentina, Estonia, Kazakhstan and China.

Many feared a WIPO DG from China, considering the country’s shaky record on IP protection and enforcement.

Gurry has served as DG since 2008. His term was fraught with controversy, but also included numerous successes, such as growing and facilitating the Patent Cooperation Treaty. His term ends in September.

IPWatchdog will have more on this topic soon.