U.S. branch of intellectual-property group formed

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Three former senior U.S. government officials have formed a group to support the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) by boosting awareness of what the organization does.

The U.S. Committee for WIPO was formed by Bruce Lehman and Gerald Mossinghoff, both former assistant secretaries of commerce and commissioners of patents and trademarks, and Ralph Oman, a former register of copyrights. The nonprofit committee intends to educate U.S. businesses, policy makers and citizens about WIPO, according to a statement Tuesday announcing the group's formation.

WIPO, based in Geneva, is one of 16 specialized United Nations agencies and is responsible for promoting the protection of intellectual property and overseeing various treaties related to intellectual property. Its work encompasses trademarks, inventions, industrial designs and copyright issues. More than 170 nations belong to WIPO.

Membership in the new U.S. committee is open to individuals, law firms, companies, industry groups, law and graduate schools, as well as bar, trade and professional associations. There is a fee for membership. Membership applications can be found at www.wipousa.org/join.htm. Other information about the committee is available at www.wipousa.org.

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