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JPO to Expand Japan FIT/IP-based Cooperation with WIPO

On February 21, 2018, prior to a WIPO High Level Forum, a JPO-WIPO joint event to be held from February 22 to 23, 2018 in Maihama, Chiba Prefecture, Mr. Hiroshige Seko, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, received a courtesy call from Dr. Francis Gurry, Director General of the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO). Both sides agreed that the Japan Patent Office (JPO) will embark on new global cooperation in the field of intellectual property (IP) through WIPO under the Japan Funds-In-Trust for Industrial Property (Japan FIT/IP), a JPO financing initiative.

Along with this, witnessed by Minister Seko, WIPO, the JPO and the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) signed a Letter of Intent for the establishment of a collaboration framework in the fields of IP and trade investment.

The forum will bring together approximately 100 participants to be invited from around 50 developing countries to hold discussions concerning future directions of such cooperation through the Japan FIT/IP.

Outline of the new cooperation between the JPO and WIPO

1. Background

In 1987, Japan established the Japan FIT/IP as its first voluntary contribution to WIPO. Since then, over 30 years, it has been providing IP cooperative efforts to developing countries, mainly to those in the Asia-Pacific and African regions.

This long-term cooperation has been raising public awareness of IP among such countries, contributing to advancing the development of IP systems in them.

As future efforts, the JPO should meet the global demand of further enhanced development of environments in which a variety of countries are able to make use of IP, while also advancing the awareness raising efforts involving IP and the development of IP systems.

The more popular IP utilization becomes in developing countries, the more countries will raise their awareness of IP as a tool for their growth. This effect is expected to encourage such countries to support the pro-patent policy.

2. Details of the expanded cooperation

According to instructions from Minister Seko, the JPO has been advancing efforts for coordinating new cooperation with WIPO and JETRO to encourage developing countries to utilize IP.

As part of this effort, on February 21, 2018, the JPO and WIPO agreed to embark on new cooperation for initiatives 1 and 2 below, taking the opportunity of Director Gurry’s courtesy call on Minister Seko.

Along with this, witnessed by Minister Seko, WIPO, the JPO and JETRO signed a Statement of Intent for the establishment of a collaboration framework in the fields of IP and trade investment concerning Initiative 3 below. Under this agreement, the JPO will advance new cooperation involving Initiative 3 below in collaboration with WIPO and JETRO.

Initiative 1: Expand target regions of cooperation (from April 2018)

Through the Japan FIT/IP, the JPO has been providing IP cooperative efforts to countries in the Asia-Pacific and African regions. It will then expand target countries to residual regions worldwide so as to globalize the scale of the fund.

Initiative 2: Increase the budget amount (from April 2019)

The JPO will make efforts to increase its current budget for voluntary contributions to WIPO* to an amount that satisfactorily covers the expected costs for enhanced regional initiatives and cooperative efforts.

*Note: The current amount of Japan’s voluntary contributions to WIPO is the largest in the world (approximately 600 million yen), followed by the Republic of Korea.

Initiative 3: Expand cooperative efforts (from April 2018)

The JPO will expand the existing cooperation focusing on the development of examination practices in IP offices in target countries, e.g., accession of target countries to international treaties, introduction of IT and improvement of personnel performance involving examination practices, to cooperation focusing on the development of environments for IP utilization based on the current situation of target developing countries.
Specifically, the JPO will uphold the following three key elements, aiming to develop environments to foster entrepreneurs who have an IP mindset.

  • IP for Innovation: Create an IP environment to promote technology development, management and commercialization
  • IP Intelligence: Formulate business strategies through IP information analysis
  • IP Literacy: Forster IP personnel in the private sector who support IP utilization in target countries

In addition, in cooperation with JETRO, an organizer of the One Village, One Product Market campaign, the JPO will take advantage of the Japan FIT/IP and strive to cooperate in discovering outstanding regional products in developing countries and creating brands thereof, thereby encouraging companies in such countries to develop business worldwide.

Project for celebrating the 30th anniversary of the inauguration of the fund

This year is the 30th anniversary of the inauguration of the Japan FIT/IP, Japan’s initiative for voluntary contributions to WIPO to cooperate with developing countries in developing IP environments. To celebrate this, from February 22 to 23, 2018, the JPO and WIPO will hold a WIPO High Level Forum in Maihama, Chiba Prefecture.

The forum will bring together approximately 100 participants to be invited from around 50 developing countries to hold discussions concerning future cooperation through the Japan FIT/IP. Specifically, participants will review the past cooperative efforts, e.g., accession of target countries to international treaties, introduction of IT and improvement of personnel performance involving examination practices, mainly focusing on the improvement of personnel performance involving IP right granting in IP offices, and also will hold discussions concerning future directions of new cooperation involving initiative 3 above.

Release date

February 21, 2018

Division in Charge

International Cooperation Division, Policy Planning and Coordination Department, JPO

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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