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Adoption of Japan-ASEAN Joint Statement for Intellectual Property and Agreement on IP Rights Action Plan

From May 15 to 16, 2017, the Japan Patent Office (JPO) held the Seventh ASEAN-Japan Heads of Intellectual Property Offices Meeting and the ASEAN Intellectual Property Offices Symposium 2017 in Kanazawa City, Ishikawa Prefecture, Japan.

At the meeting, JPO and ASEAN IP Offices held discussions on future directions of Japan-ASEAN cooperation in the field of intellectual property (IP) from the perspective of bolstering the “business environment for IP activities” in the ASEAN countries. Following this, they adopted a Japan-ASEAN Joint Statement for Intellectual Property and agreed on the FY2017 Japan- ASEAN IP Rights Action Plan.

The Seventh ASEAN-Japan Heads of Intellectual Property Offices Meeting

1. Background

The ASEAN countries are the third largest destination of exports in terms of value from Japan, following the United States and China. They are also destination countries for Japanese companies for business development and a growing number of their overseas affiliates have been developing business there. According to the survey results, 5 out of the ASEAN 10 countries were included in the top 10 countries that Japanese companies in the manufacturing sector consider as promising overseas destinations for mid- to long-term business development.* Accordingly, Japanese companies  consider ASEAN regions as promising targets for future overseas business expansion.

Meanwhile, the ASEAN countries established the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) in 2015 and released the ASEAN Economic Community 2025 Consolidated Strategic Action Plan in February 2017, including the ASEAN IP Rights Action Plan for 2016-2025. Under these plans, the ASEAN countries have been advancing efforts to further develop the ASEAN region, with the development of the IP protection environment as one of its major pillars.

The JPO considers it important to further encourage Japanese companies to take this opportunity to develop business in the ASEAN countries. To this end, in collaboration with the ASEAN Working Group on Intellectual Property Cooperation (AWGIPC), the JPO has been pursuing new future directions for Japan-ASEAN cooperation in the IP field to bolster the business environment for IP activities.

2. Summary of the outcomes

1) Japan-ASEAN Joint Statement

In addition to the enhancement of the cooperation framework, the JPO and the IP offices from the ASEAN countries held discussions on future directions of mid- to long-term IP cooperation between Japan and the ASEAN, taking into consideration the ASEAN IP Rights Action Plan for 2016-2025, and finally adopted the Japan-ASEAN Joint Statement.

2) FY2017 Japan-ASEAN IP Rights Action Plan

At the Seventh ASEAN-Japan Heads of Intellectual Property Offices Meeting, participants talked about the directions of mid- to long-term IP cooperation between Japan and the ASEAN, and based on this, they formulated the following plans, under which they will continue the existing Japan-ASEAN cooperation and start new cooperation initiatives.

  • Supporting the updating and creating patent manuals (patent examination guidelines)
  • Studying for Forecasting the number of IP applications to IP offices in the ASEAN region and Proposing option ideas in terms of visions and policies, both of which will be conducted by the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA)
  • Supporting accession of the ASEAN countries to the international treaties (Madrid Protocol/Hague Agreement) and supporting the operation thereof
  • Supporting human resource development and management of examination practices
  • Supporting IP commercialization and IP awareness raising
  • Supporting enhancement of collaboration between IP enforcement agencies

3) Future cooperation with the ASEAN countries

Taking the opportunity of the Seventh ASEAN-Japan Heads of Intellectual Property Offices Meeting, the JPO held meetings with the heads of IP offices from the ASEAN countries and other officials, and confirmed the current state of the development and operation of IP systems in the countries and also the enhancement of bilateral cooperation to address the particular challenges they are facing.

In particular, with Indonesia and Viet Nam, the JPO exchanged views concerning enhanced support for the operation of the Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) program concluded with Japan, while with Thailand, the JPO exchanged opinions concerning continuous support in providing training programs for newly recruited examiners in Thailand and other issues.

ASEAN Intellectual Property Offices Symposium 2017 in Kanazawa

With a large audience mainly consisting of stakeholders from companies developing business in the ASEAN region, the symposium was held under the theme of “Current State and Future Development of Business Environment for IP Activities in the ASEAN” in Kanazawa.

At the beginning of the symposium, Mr. Masanori Tanimoto, governor, Ishikawa Prefecture, delivered a welcome speech. Following this, Mr. Yoshinori Komiya, commissioner, JPO, delivered a keynote presentation concerning cooperative activities with IP offices to further develop business environment for IP activities in the ASEAN region. In addition, industrial players and patent attorneys in Japan made presentations concerning expectations and requests for business environment for IP activities in the ASEAN region.

Moreover, 12 speakers from the ASEAN countries, including heads of IP offices, who attended the symposium, made presentations concerning the latest IP systems as business bases in the countries.

Following this, a panel discussion was held, bringing together industrial players and patent attorneys as panelists, concerning the issue of the future business environment for IP activities in the ASEAN countries, from three perspectives relevant to the ASEAN: prompt and appropriate grant of rights, importance of providing IP information, and initiative on enforcement of IP rights for establishing an ASEAN IP ecosystem.

Through this symposium, the JPO endeavored to provide participants, mainly company representatives, with the latest information on IP trends in the ASEAN countries, whose combined economy has been developing dramatically, and with effective information for ascertaining future directions in which the ASEAN countries can advance as a whole.

Future actions

The JPO will continue to support ASEAN IP offices in advancing their initiatives by holding conferences and other meetings, such as this meeting, and developing IP systems in the ASEAN region. Through this support, the JPO will also strive to contribute to increasing the stability of Japanese companies to appropriately protect their IP rights in the region.

Release date

May 17, 2017

Division in Charge

Information on the conference and symposium in general
International Policy Division, Policy Planning and Coordination Department, Japan Patent Office

Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry1-3-1 Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8901, Japan Tel: +81-(0)3-3501-1511
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