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Joint Statement on Cooperation on Industrial Property Rights for Sustainable Economic Development in ASEAN and Japan was Adopted- Outcomes of the 5th Japan-ASEAN Heads of Intellectual Property Offices Meeting-

On May 25, 2015, the Japan Patent Office (JPO) and Intellectual Property (IP) Offices of the Member States of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) held the 5th Japan-ASEAN Heads of Intellectual Property Offices Meeting in Nara City, Nara Prefecture, Japan. At the Meeting, the JPO and ASEAN IP Offices formulated a cooperation program on IP issues for FY 2015 and affirmed that they would contribute to the realization of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC). Consequently, they adopted the “Joint Statement on Cooperation on Industrial Property Rights for Sustainable Economic Development in ASEAN and Japan.”

1. Background

The export amount from Japan to the ASEAN countries is the third largest, following those for the U.S. and China. (*1) In FY 2013, the increasing number of foreign subsidiaries of Japanese companies in all ASEAN-5 countries, namely, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines, surpassed the number of those 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 provide, as well as to strengthen, intellectual property systems in the region from the viewpoint of creating a better investment environment in the ASEAN countries, due to issues such as delays in examination and delays in joining the international application system. (*3)

Being aware of these issues, the JPO instituted the Japan-ASEAN Heads of Intellectual Property Offices Meeting in February 2012 in order to drive the improvement of comprehensive IP systems in ASEAN to achieve regional economic integration in 2015. The Meeting was designed to provide high-level officials from the JPO and the IP Offices in the ASEAN countries with opportunities to exchange opinions. The JPO, based on user needs, has implemented a wide range of support activities such as support for human resource development and building IP infrastructure.

2. Summary of outcome

At the 5th Japan-ASEAN Heads of Intellectual Property Offices Meeting that was held in Nara City, on May 25, 2015, the JPO and ASEAN IP Offices confirmed that cooperative initiatives on IP issues would be further enhanced as shown below. In addition, the JPO Commissioner had meetings with the heads of IP Offices of the respective ASEAN-10 countries and confirmed that Japan would also strengthen bilateral cooperation with each of the countries.

(1) Japan-ASEAN cooperation program in FY 2015

Since 2012, the JPO’s cooperation with ASEAN on IP issues has been reviewed every year to establish the Japan-ASEAN cooperation program for the year. Also at this meeting, the JPO and IP Offices updated their cooperation program including improvements in sharing of information and knowledge held by the JPO concerning the items below.

  • Administrative work for the international application system (Madrid Protocol)
  • Quality management of patent examination
  • Human resource development and examination management in IP offices

(2) Joint Statement on Cooperation on Industrial Property Rights for Sustainable Economic Development in ASEAN and Japan (For the original text, see the Appendix.)

The JPO and ASEAN IP Offices confirmed that they would contribute to the realization of the AEC by further deepening cooperation through and beyond 2016, and adopted the “Joint Statement on Cooperation on Industrial Property Rights for Sustainable Economic Development in ASEAN and Japan.” Specifically, the JPO and ASEAN Offices shared a common recognition of the matters listed below as mutually beneficial.

  • To further strengthen cooperation between Japan and ASEAN for their mutual prosperity
  • To recognize the importance of the industrial property system according to the situations in individual countries in order to realize sustainable economic development by facilitating trade and investment and fostering innovation and technology transfer
  • To recognize that deepening IP cooperation between Japan and ASEAN will contribute to the realization of the AEC

(3) Future cooperation between Japan and ASEAN countries

Mr. Hitoshi Ito, Commissioner of the JPO, had meetings with the heads of IP Offices of each country, and affirmed that they would strengthen bilateral cooperation according to the developmental situations and issues surrounding systems and operations in each country.

  • With the IP Offices of Singapore and the Philippines, the JPO is to exchange patent-related data, including publication of patent, for the first time. The JPO will prepare to post the data that is provided by both IP Offices on a web site in Japanese. This is expected to enable Japanese users to easily understand the status of their applications in Singapore and the Philippines and, consequently, to utilize this information effectively to facilitate the acquisition of rights in both countries.
  • With Myanmar, which is preparing for the establishment of an office for intellectual property, the JPO is strengthening cooperation; for example, JPO staff members were dispatched as JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) experts to the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) for a long term assignment in March 2015. The JPO and MOST signed a Memorandum of Cooperation confirming the continued cooperation between them.
  • With the IP Offices of Brunei, the Lao PDR, and Thailand, the JPO signed Memoranda of Cooperation between Japan and each country. With these agreements, the JPO has now concluded Memoranda of Cooperation with all the ASEAN-10 countries.

3. Future efforts

On May 26, 2015, the ASEAN IPOs Symposium will be held in Nara City. At the symposium, the Directors General from each ASEAN country are to present the current situation of the IP systems in their countries as well as their latest initiatives concerning the protection of IP rights for users including Japanese companies.

Understanding user needs, the JPO is committed to further promoting 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 countries, 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 contribute to improvements in the business environment for corporate activities and the like, and contribute to the economic development of the ASEAN region and also all of Asia in the long run.

(*1) Source: Trade Statistics of Japan 2013 by the Ministry of Finance

(*2) Source: Results of the 26th Questionnaire Survey on Foreign Direct Investment in FY 2014 by the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC)

(*3) Madrid Protocol (trademarks) and the Geneva Act of the Hague Agreement (industrial designs)

Reference

Joint Statement on Cooperation on Industrial Property Rights for Sustainable Economic Development in ASEAN and Japan(PDF:41KB) PDF File

Release Date

May 25, 2015

Division in Charge

International Cooperation Division, Policy Planning and Coordination Department, Japan Patent Office, for the meeting
Patent Information Office, General Coordination Division, Policy Planning and Coordination Department, Japan Patent Office, for the exchange of patent information data

Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry
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