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With headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, WIPO is one of the 16 specialised agencies of the United Nations system. Its mission is to promote the use and protection of works of the human spirit.
With a staff of 917 people drawn from around the world, WIPO carries out many tasks related to the protection of intellectual property rights, such as administering international treaties, assisting governments, organisations and the private sector, monitoring developments in the field, harmonising and simplifying relevant rules and practices. In all that it does, the key words are: relevance, efficiency, communication and international cooperation.
WIPO is largely self-financed – which is quite unusual among international organisations- as it generates more than 90% of its annual budget through its widely used international registration services, as well as through its publications, arbitration and mediation activities. The remainder comes from contribution by member states.
In the 2002-2003 biennium, about 85 % (approximately 455 million) of the budget expenditure came from earnings of the registration systems. The remaining 15 % will come mainly from contributions from member states and sales of WIPO publications. All this income finances WIPO's operating expenditures, slightly over 340 million Swiss francs per year.
The use of the registration systems has grown steadily over the last few years and that trend is expected to continue well into the new century. Long-term investments on office automation and headquarters premises are currently under way, financed by a special reserve fund. Contributions from member states are small. The five largest contributing countries each donate about one-half percent of the Organisation's budget each.
The number of member states belonging to WIPO now stands at 180 ( over 90 % of the world's countries).
Apart from its headquarters in Geneva, WIPO has offices in New York and Brussels.