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The Japan Patent Office Japan-ASEAN IP Cooperation Programs Enhanced Outcomes of the 6th Japan-ASEAN Heads of Intellectual Property Offices Meeting

On July 19, 2016, the Japan Patent Office (JPO) and other intellectual property (IP) offices in ASEAN countries held the 6th Japan-ASEAN Heads of Intellectual Property Offices Meeting in Bali, Indonesia. At the meeting, participants formulated FY2016 IP cooperation programs between Japan and ASEAN and also confirmed that the JPO will contribute to developing the foundation of IP systems to address new challenges that member countries are facing, while enhancing the support provided to the ASEAN region, such as human resource development and promoting accession of the countries to international treaties.

In addition, Japan held meetings with participating countries. At the meeting with Indonesia, Japan confirmed that it will exchange patent gazette data and other patent information data* with Indonesia and at the meeting with Myanmar, both sides signed a Record of Discussion memorandum concerning cooperation programs in FY2016.

1. Background

The total growth in the number of Japanese companies developing business in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand exceeds that of growth in the number of those developing business in China, the United States or Europe. According to the survey results conducted by the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) targeting Japanese companies with overseas affiliates, all 10 ASEAN countries were included in the list of top 20 countries that such companies considered as promising overseas destinations for mid-term business development. As shown in this survey, Japanese companies’ interests in ASEAN countries as destinations for business expansion has been growing.**

As overseas business development of Japanese companies advances, there is an urgent need for Japan to develop and fortify IP systems in the ASEAN region. To this end, the JPO and other IP offices in ASEAN countries have held five sessions of the Japan-ASEAN Heads of Intellectual Property Offices Meetings since its inauguration in 2012 and have been striving to improve the level of IP environments in ASEAN countries through Japan’s support for various efforts, including human resource development and promoting accession of the countries to international treaties.

2. Summary of the outcomes

1) FY2016 Japan-ASEAN IP cooperation programs

At the meeting, the JPO confirmed that the JPO will share its knowledge and wealth of experience with member countries concerning the following cooperation programs and that Japan and ASEAN will fortify IP cooperation in general.

  • Supporting the drafting or updating patent manuals (examination guidelines)
  • Study of projected numbers of application filings and study on policy recommendations for IP offices in the ASEAN region, both of which will be conducted by the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA)

Furthermore, participants agreed to continue their cooperation in the existing initiatives, including the following programs.

  • Supporting accession of ASEAN countries to the international application system (Madrid Protocol) and supporting the operation of the system
  • Supporting human resource development and management of examination practices in IP offices in ASEAN countries

2) Future cooperation with member countries

Mr. Yoshinori Komiya, Commissioner of the JPO, held meetings with the heads and other officials of IP offices of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao RDR, Myanmar and Singapore. At the meetings, Commissioner Komiya confirmed the enhancement of bilateral cooperation appropriate to the current states of IP systems in these countries and the challenges in developing and operating the IP systems themselves in these countries. In particular, he confirmed that the following forms of bilateral cooperation between Japan and Indonesia or Myanmar will be enhanced with the respective countries.

Cooperation program that Japan confirmed with Indonesia

At the meeting with Indonesia, both sides confirmed that the two countries will exchange patent gazette data and other patent information data.* With this confirmation, the JPO has completed all preparations for receiving patent information data from Indonesia.

Outline of the agreement concluded with Myanmar

At the meeting with Myanmar, both sides agreed on FY2016 cooperation programs, including the development of IP-related laws and guidelines and the provision of support from Japan in establishing an IP office in Myanmar, and they signed a Record of Discussion.

3. Future actions

While ascertaining the needs of IP users in Japanese companies and other entities and deepening the dialogues with the entire ASEAN region and IP offices in ASEAN countries, the JPO will continue promoting cooperation in the field of IP in a comprehensive manner so as to appropriately protect IP rights across ASEAN countries.

Notes:
*1: To meet the needs of Japanese companies that request access to Indonesian patent information as they expand business in Indonesia from the JPO, Japan and Indonesia decided to exchange patent gazette data and other patent information data. This transfer of patent information will be conducted by the JPO through its online web service called “FOPISER” and by other approved information services providers in the private sector.
**2: Source: Survey Report on Overseas Business Operations by Japanese Manufacturing Companies -Results of the JBIC FY2015 Survey: Outlook for Japanese Foreign Direct Investment (27th Annual Survey)-, Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC)

Release date

July 20, 2016

Divisions in Charge

  • Information on the meeting in general
    • International Policy Division, Policy Planning and Coordination Department, JPO
  • Information on the exchange of patent information data
    • Patent Information Policy Planning Office, General Coordination Division, Policy Planning and Coordination Department, JPO
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