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Inter-governmental Cooperation Results in Progress in the Intellectual Property Field

The Japan Patent Office (JPO) participated in the 55th Series of Meetings of the Assemblies of the Member States of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), which was held in Geneva from October 5. The JPO took this opportunity to hold meetings with the patent offices and other relevant institutions of more than 20 countries and regions *1 and confirmed the advancement of cooperation in various fields. The JPO will continue promoting international cooperation in the intellectual property field for ease of acquiring low-cost, world-wide prospective patent and peripheral rights.

1. Background

With the globalization of the economy, there has been an increasing need for Japanese enterprises to protect their technologies abroad. The number of patent applications to overseas jurisdictions from Japan has also been increasing. In order to alleviate these concerns, the JPO has been building cooperative relationships with the patent offices of foreign countries, which are important destinations of business expansion and production for Japanese enterprises. While attending the 55th WIPO Meetings that started on October 5, 2015, the JPO participated in additional meetings, including the meeting of developed countries as well as meetings with the top officials of the patent offices and other relevant institutions of more than 20 countries and regions, and confirmed Japan’s cooperation with them in many fields.

2. Summary of Main Results

The JPO participated in the meetings of developed countries on patent law harmonization, and agreed to continue discussing important items toward harmonization of patent law. Furthermore, the JPO confirmed its ongoing cooperative relationships in bilateral meetings, etc., and came to new agreements on the following matters.

(1) Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH)

  1. PPH Pilot Program with Vietnam
    The JPO agreed with the National Office of Intellectual Property of Vietnam to the implementation of the Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH)*2 on a trial basis beginning on April 1, 2016. This agreement will promote the early examination based on PPH applications after they are submitted to Vietnam, and it is expected that this will lead to shorter examination periods.
    When the PPH agreement with Vietnam comes into effect, almost all patent applications submitted from Japan to the ASEAN region*3 will become processable under PPH, and Japan will have implemented the PPH with 35 countries and regions.
  2. Implementing the PPH MOTTAINAI Pilot Program with Mexico
    The JPO, which started a PPH pilot program with the Mexican Institute of Industrial Property of the United Mexican States on July 1, 2011, has decided to start the PPH MOTTAINAI*4 pilot program on November 1, 2015 which is characterized by relaxation of PPH requirements and expansion of applicable cases.

(2) Patent Information Data Exchange with Vietnam

The JPO and the National Office of Intellectual Property of Vietnam have decided to begin, for the first time, the exchange of data on patent information, including information on patent publications, and the JPO will receive patent-related publication data from the National Office of Intellectual Property of Vietnam. In the future, the JPO will provide general users with the data through the Foreign Patent Information Service (FOPISER), free of charge. Furthermore, the JPO will make effective use of this data to be received as part of this new agreement as well as advance research on machine translation, which will lead to improvements in the accuracy of Japanese-Vietnamese machine translation.

(3) Enhancement of Cooperation in the Intellectual Property Field

  1. Egypt
    The JPO has been deepening its cooperative relationship with the Egyptian Patent Office, including the start of a PPH pilot program in June, 2015 in addition to the conventional invitation of participants to training sessions designed for patent examiners. Recently, the JPO and the Egyptian Patent Office have further enhanced their relationship by agreeing to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding mainly focused on the acceleration and improvement in quality of patent examinations, sharing of statistical data and information on laws and regulations, the technology transfer of research outcomes, and promotion of patent commercialization.
  2. Argentina
    The JPO has been deepening its cooperative relationship with the Argentinian Industrial Property National Institute, including beginning to invite participants to training sessions this year. Recently, the JPO and the Argentinian Industrial Property National Institute have further strengthened their relationship by agreeing to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding mainly for the promotion of mutual understanding of the countries’ intellectual property systems, their sharing of experience on improvements in examination efficiency and processing performance, and exchanges between intellectual property system users through seminars to transmit information to users.

By making use of the outcome of the recent series of meetings, the JPO will promote its international cooperation in the intellectual property field so that intellectual property system users in Japan and other countries will be able to acquire prospective patent and peripheral rights worldwide at low costs.

*1. E.g., Bilateral meetings with the patent offices of the United States, Britain, China, South Korea, Canada, Germany, Australia, Denmark, Sweden, India, Egypt, Vietnam, Israel, Brazil, South Africa, and Argentina; meetings with the European Patent Office, the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (Trademarks and Designs), and the Patent Office of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf; and multiple meetings with the patent and trademark offices of the Visegrad Group countries, ASEAN countries, Latin American countries, and Spain

*2. The PPH enables an application whose claims have been determined to be patentable by the Office of First Filing (OFF) to undergo an accelerated examination in the Office of Second Filing (OSF) with a simple procedure upon request from an applicant on the basis of bilateral office agreements.

*3. In the ASEAN region, Vietnam will be the sixth country agreeing to PPH, following Singapore, Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, and Malaysia

*4. “MOTTAINAI” is a Japanese term meaning “a sense of regret concerning waste when the intrinsic value of an object or resource is not properly utilized.” Under the PPH MOTTAINAI pilot program, an applicant can make PPH requests at the Office of Later Examination (OLE) by using the examination results of the Office of Earlier Examination (OEE), provided that the OEE and OLE have a PPH MOTTAINAI agreement.

Release date

October 9, 2015

Division in charge

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

Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry
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