372. The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) would like to thank the co-sponsors of document IP/C/W/697, which draws attention to the role of IP offices in creating an environment for innovation and IP to flourish. I would like to express our deep gratitude to all delegations that have mentioned that cooperation with the World Intellectual Property Organization. For WIPO, engaging in and facilitating cross-border cooperation is at the core of our mission to lead the development of a balanced and effective global intellectual property ecosystem. 373. WIPO is the home of cross-border intellectual property cooperation because of its responsibility for, among others, the Patent Co-operation Treaty (PCT), the Madrid System and the Hague System. They are registration systems based in longstanding multilateral treaties, which depend on national and regional IP offices being able to work together effectively. To support the proper functioning of these systems, WIPO actively collaborates with IP offices as part of carrying out the required functions under those respective systems. For example, the PCT system currently includes 157 Contracting States, and in 2021 PCT applications were filed in 83 IP offices and 24 of those offices also act as International Searching and International Preliminary Examining Authorities. The Madrid System currently has 114 members, covering 130 countries, and the Hague System has 79 members, covering 96 countries. 374. WIPO offers training, workshops and seminars for national IP offices on relevant systems, such as Madrid post-accession training for IP offices across the globe, most recently providing training to the IP offices of Algeria, Botswana, Cabo Verde, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, and the United Arab Emirates. Online Regional Workshops on the Hague System for IP offices including of the ASEAN, Latin American, OAPI and ARIPO countries to provide pre-accession and post-accession training to the IP Offices. 375. WIPO notes the reference in document IP/C/W/697 to record levels of international applications and registrations under its systems in 2021. As outlined in WIPO's press release of 28 February 2023, the demand for international patent applications under the PCT and international design registrations under the Hague System has continued to grow in 2022. International applications under the Madrid System, in turn, have declined in 2022, having seen exceptional growth in 2021. Notwithstanding short-term filing fluctuations due to the broader macroeconomic context, international patent, trademark and industrial design filings have over the long term trended upward, highlighting the importance of supporting the cross-border cooperation that makes these systems function. While respecting the territoriality of IP rights, WIPO systems facilitate the process of seeking multinational protection and likewise facilitate public access to a wealth of technical information related to those rights, building up knowledge repositories and contributing to future innovation. 376. WIPO cooperates with IP offices by providing technical assistance and training on relevant WIPO back-office systems, which help IP offices to make best use of technological developments to support efficient rights application and registration. In this regard: WIPO has provided technical support to IP offices, including OAPI and ARIPO on using WIPO IPO Business Solutions. This includes the WIPO Industrial Property Administration System Suite, currently being used by 90 IP offices in all regions of the world. WIPO supports IP offices in developing countries make best use of publicly accessible WIPO AI systems such as the AI image trademark search. 377. Various WIPO committees provide our member States the opportunity to share information and experiences relating to the development of industrial property systems and their operation, as well as institutional and human capacity building and agree on any type of convergence they see fit. For instance, the Standing Committee on the Law of Patents (SCP) provides a forum for discussion of pertinent topics on both substantive and procedural matters and collects information about international work sharing and collaborative activities relating to examination of patent applications by IP offices. Topics under discussion also include the patentability of AI inventions and questions of inventorship, expedited patent examination and sufficiency of disclosure. 378. The use of new technologies in IP office procedures, for example, the use of AI for patent examination procedures, blockchain and digital transformation, is also a topic that WIPO member States actively discuss within various WIPO fora, including the WIPO Conversation on IP and Frontier Technologies, SCP and the Committee on WIPO Standards. 379. WIPO shares with IP offices its ongoing initiatives, learnings and best practices as well as engages with them to go beyond its work as a register of IP rights and to become a more active participant in the innovation ecosystem. In this regard it has recently begun implementing projects to support IP offices create or strengthen business support services for SMEs. WIPO is also building the capacity of underserviced communities including women, youth and SMEs to create a conducive environment for innovation and creativity. Some examples include: Annual regional meetings among focal points of national networks of Technology and Innovation Support Centres, or TISCs, in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, SouthEast Asia, and Arab countries, which aim to promote exchange of experiences and best practices in managing and delivering technology and innovation support services for local inventors, researchers, and entrepreneurs. A Roundtable on the results of the managing and landscaping of the SME Support Services of National IP Offices in the Central European, Baltic States and Mediterranean countries region. 380. WIPO remains committed to working with IP Offices in all parts of the world to build a reliable, predictable environment for innovators and creators. We have taken note of the discussion today and yesterday and look forward to enhancing and strengthening our cooperation with IP offices to facilitate more targeted technical activities that achieve our shared objectives.