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JPO will Strengthen Cooperative Relationship with ASEAN in the Field of IP - Results of the 4th Japan-ASEAN Heads of IP Offices Meeting -

The Japan Patent Office (JPO) and the Intellectual Property (IP) Offices of the Member States of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) held the 4th JAPAN-ASEAN Heads of Intellectual Property Offices Meeting in Ho Chi Minh, Viet Nam, on July 2, 2014. At the Meeting, the JPO and the ASEAN IP Offices formulated the cooperation program on IP issues for fiscal year 2014. Also, the JPO and the IP Offices confirmed that, based on the extensive knowledge and experiences compiled at the JPO for years, the JPO will continue its support to the ASEAN IP Offices also for 2015 and beyond, on such activities as building human resource development and IP office management schemes suitable for each country, and enhancing information systems infrastructure

1. Background

The export amount from Japan to the ASEAN countries is the third largest, following that of the U.S. and China.*1 In fiscal 2012, the increasing number of foreign subsidiaries of Japanese companies in the ASEAN-5, namely, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines, surpassed the number of that in China.*2 Such facts show that the ASEAN countries are important business partners and have great potential as a region in which Japanese companies can conduct more business activities. On the other hand, it is an urgent task to improve and strengthen intellectual property systems in the region from the viewpoint of creating better investment environment in the ASEAN countries.

Under these circumstances, the JPO established a cooperative framework of the Japan-ASEAN Heads of IP Offices Meeting in February 2012, in order to facilitate its cooperation for improving intellectual property systems in the ASEAN, which sets a goal of regional economic integration by 2015. The Meeting is designed to be an opportunity for high-level officials from the JPO and the IP Offices in the ASEAN countries to exchange views. The JPO, based on user needs, has implemented a wide variety of assistance activities such as support for human resources development and building IP infrastructure.

2.Enhancement of the Japan-ASEAN cooperation

At the 4th Japan-ASEAN Heads of IP Offices Meeting that was held in Ho Chi Minh, Viet Nam, on July 2, 2014, the JPO and the IP Offices affirmed that the cooperative initiatives on IP issues will be further enhanced, as shown below. Also, the JPO Commissioner had bilateral meetings with the heads of IP Offices of the Philippines, Singapore, and Viet Nam, and affirmed that it will strengthen the cooperation with each of the countries.

(1)   Japan-ASEAN cooperation program 2014-2015

Since 2012, JPO’s cooperation with the ASEAN on IP issues has been reviewed every year to update the Japan-ASEAN cooperation program for the year. Also at this Meeting, the JPO and the IP Offices updated their cooperation program, and agreed to include the following JPO’s support activities in the program, and to promote more comprehensive cooperation.

(i) Based on JPO’s expertise and experience in developing human resources, the JPO will support the IP Offices in building their own human resource development schemes, which suits them, so that they can efficiently and continuously develop IP Office officials.

(ii) The JPO will support capacity-building of examination practices in the fields of designs and trademarks through activities such as coaching to examiners by JPO examiners and sending JPO examiners as instructors to examination practice training programs in the ASEAN region.

(iii) The JPO will hold seminars being hosted jointly by governments and private sectors, with participation from private companies, so as to raise awareness on the importance of IP rights for smooth transfer of technology.

(iv) The JPO will help strengthen IT system infrastructure at each of the IP Offices to enhance efficiency in examinations and other work operations by means including utilization of the WIPO-CASE system; the WIPO-CASE is a centralized access system which enables patent offices to securely share information on patent applications and examinations. This system was developed by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in order to increase the efficiency of examination practices at IP offices by sharing their patent examination results.

(2)   Medium- to long-term cooperative initiatives for 2015 and beyond

The JPO and the IP Offices affirmed to continue promoting comprehensive cooperation, with a focus on the following three support activities, while sharing the extensive knowledge and experiences compiled at the JPO for years. This is designed to enable Japanese users such as Japanese companies to make more effective use of the IP systems in the ASEAN region, and to have their IP rights properly protected in the region.

(i) Based on JPO’s expertise and experience in developing human resources, the JPO will provide support to the IP Offices for building their own human resource development schemes, which suits them, so that they can continuously conduct consistent examinations and ensure accurate business processing functions.

(ii) Based on JPO’s scheme of managing the workflow of its entire operation, the JPO will provide support for creating an administrative scheme suitable for each of the IP Offices, so that they can conduct examinations and other business processing works in a timely manner.

(iii) The JPO will help strengthen the IT system infrastructure at each of the IP offices, in order to enhance efficiency in examinations and business processing works, by providing support activities on IT systems, such as effective use of the WIPO-CASE system, introduction of management software for applications, and digitalization of application related paperwork.

The JPO, based on user needs, is committed to further promote its cooperation on IP issues in the ASEAN region for effective and adequate protection of IP rights, while deepening mutual understanding between the JPO and ASEAN, i.e., the IP Offices. By providing support for improving and strengthening IP systems in the ASEAN countries through these cooperative initiatives, the JPO will make contributions to improving business environment for corporate activities, and to the economic development of Asia, including the ASEAN region.

*1   Source: Trade Statistics of Japan 2013 by Ministry of Finance
*2   Source: Results of the 25th Questionnaire Survey on Foreign Direct Investment in FY2013 by Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC)

Release Date

July 2, 2014

Division in Charge

International Cooperation Division, Policy Planning and Coordination Department, Japan Patent Office

Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry
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