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Impressions of the Negotiation Workshop

By Livia Giezendanner

Last Thursday the topic was negotiation. Professor Addor taught us how negotiation works on an international stage. Prof. Addor is the Deputy Director General, Chief Legal Counsel and Director of the Legal & International Affairs Division at the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property. He has been responsible for legal and policy matters regarding all fields of IP at the national and international level since 1999. Prof. Addor leads Swiss negotiating delegations to relevant international fora, such as the WTO and the WIPO and to bi- and plurilateral negotiations.

The first part was about the characteristics of a situation that is suitable for negotiation. For example, there must be a different interest between the opposing parties. What I found very interesting was that if one representative of a country negotiates with another, it is not only important to know the interest of the represented country, but also the interests of the person himself. For instant, the person opposite could be really interested in power, so it would be important to give that person the sensation of power in order to get you want.

The idea of knowing the person whom you are negotiating with is led by a similar idea in a quote by Gerald Williams that Prof. Addor strongly supports: “You can be no more as a negotiator than you are as a human being”. This means, no matter which country you are representing you will always be a human, not a machine. As a negotiator he experienced for instant a situation in which another negotiator said directly to him that he disliked him. In cases like this, one should know how to deal with the own emotions that naturally arise during a debate (or at least try).

Another focus was put on the importance of preparation. 80 % of negotiation is preparation, meaning, research about the topic, background, people etc. Therefore, this phase should not be underestimated when preparing a negotiation.

I learned a lot in this lecture and I really liked that so many examples were given. Also the insights into the professor’s work as a negotiator were very interesting and gave a comprehensive whole picture.

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