An agreement reached in mediation is enforceable when the mediation itself was ordered by a court. Otherwise, it is the responsibility of the parties involved to comply with the terms of the mediation agreement. Mediation is a non-binding procedure, meaning that the parties always maintain control of the process and can choose to discontinue it at any time. The mediator appointed under the WIPO Mediation Rules is competent to deal with all aspects of any dispute, and by agreeing to submit a dispute to WIPO mediation, the parties adopt the WIPO Mediation Rules as part of their mediation agreement. The WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the Center) helps parties identify and agree on a mediator who enjoys the trust of both parties.
The Center also provides a recommended filing agreement for the referral of an existing dispute to mediation under the WIPO Mediation Rules. This makes mediation especially appropriate when the dispute occurs between parties to an ongoing contractual relationship, such as a license, a distribution agreement or a joint research and development contract (R&D).If the parties decide to conduct their mediation in Geneva, WIPO will provide them with a free meeting room and retirement rooms at no additional cost. At the first meeting, the mediator will also discuss with the parties what additional documentation it would be appropriate for each to provide and the need for any type of expert assistance. All differences between mediation and arbitration stem from the fact that, in mediation, the parties retain responsibility and control of the dispute and do not transfer decision-making power to the mediator. Mediation is an informal and confidential way for people to resolve disputes with the help of a neutral mediator who is trained to help people discuss their differences.
The Center offers specialized services for intellectual property disputes, but there is no limitation to the competence of mediators appointed under the WIPO Mediation Rules to deal with different types of matters. There are two main ways in which mediators help parties make their own decision, which correspond to two types or models of mediation that are practiced around the world. Knowing these legal restrictions is essential before entering into a situation where a mediator is used.