Author: Christopher S. Gibson*
Published: December 1998
Agreement to Arbitrate
Description: The hallmark of the WIPO Arbitration Rules might be their comprehensive undertaking to incorporate a number of the important lessons that have been learned over time in international arbitration. This is coupled with several innovative provisions ( e.g., emergency interim relief rules) tailored to address issues arising in intellectual property disputes. The Rules include features ¾ such as specifying that the parties’ choice of law will be construed as excluding reference to a state’s conflict of laws rules ¾ that are now recognized as good practice, and preferred in most cases. In the past, practitioners would have had to include such terms in the arbitration clause (making for a long and complex clause, likely to be viewed as unwieldy in the context of the contemplated transaction) to achieve the relative clarity and efficiency of an arbitration conducted under the WIPO Rules.
The WIPO Arbitration Rules help the parties using them to be aware of and to avoid some of the pitfalls that have made international arbitration unjustifiably costly, complex and lengthy, and that have produced results that were uncertain and out of sync with one or another of the parties’ expectations.
Most fundamentally, the WIPO Rules are conscientiously tuned to maximize the possibility that an award rendered in an arbitration conducted under them will be valid and enforceable. Parties choosing international arbitration should not be put to the risk of spending substantial sums for a private adjudication forum that yields no enforceable result. Many of the above refinements are reflected in the rules in Chapter V, entitled Awards and Other Decisions, reviewed in this part. In Chapter V, the WIPO Rules treat as a group the various aspects of rendering an award, including the law to be applied; the decision-making process of the arbitral tribunal for obtaining an award; the form and substance of the award; the notification and timing for delivery of the award and its effective date; corrections to the award and/or requests for additional awards; settlements and consent awards; appeals; and specific elements that routinely present themselves such as currency and interest.
*Christopher Gibson is a Senior Legal Officer of the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center; former in the San Francisco office of Pillsburg, Madison & Sutro, practicing in commercial international litigation and arbitration; B.A., University of Chicago; M.P.P., Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University; J.D., Boalt School of Law, University of California at Berkeley.