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  • Peter Kam Fai Cheung SBS

Jet d'Eau

Have you seen Geneva's watermark - the Jet d'Eau? During my first motoring in continental Europe in the summer of 1987, I drove past it and was satisfied I was once in Geneva. As a junior Crown Counsel working in the Attorney General's Chambers in Hong Kong then, I did not know what opportunities would lie ahead but was determined to get myself prepared.

Upon graduating from University College London with another LLM degree on International Law, I wanted to transfer to the International Law Division but was not accepted. I suspected that the dissertation I submitted to evidence my capacity had a strong slant on Hong Kong's interest. I continued to work in the Civil Division, deriving some satisfaction in doing judicial review cases and then moved on to a senior position in the Law Reform Secretariat.

Having accomplished a small law reform job, I was given a challenging one to Reform the Law relating to Copyright and I took the international standards and norms as pointers. I then had the opportunities to do comparative legal analysis overseas and began to take part in WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organisation) conferences initially in Amboise and Stanford. During the hectic GATT-TRIPS negotiations from 1989-1991, I advised on the Hong Kong position and helped establish Hong Kong's Intellectual Property Department.

Between 1992 and 2013, I made Hong Kong's presence felt at least annually in WIPO conferences in Geneva. Between 2004-2005, I was appointed by the Director-General of WTO (World Trade Organization) to settle two trade-related intellectual property disputes in Geneva: United States v European Communities, and Australia v European Communities. As Hong Kong's chief intellectual property negotiator on bilateral free trade agreements, I had protracted negotiations with my EFTA (European Free Trade Association) counterparts in the Geneva round in 2010.

Since my retirement in 2014, I have not visited Geneva, but found that I would miss my familiar workplace from home. Having got my practising certificate as a Barrister in Hong Kong, China, I expressed my interest to join WIPO's Panel of Mediators and Arbitrators and was so invited by WIPO. Perhaps, it would not be long before I can see the Jet d'Eau again!

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