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Japan Patent OfficeFurther Strengthening of Cooperation in the IP Field with the Republic of Korea-The results of the 27th Bilateral Heads Meeting between the JPO and the KIPO-

On October 22, 2015, the Japan Patent Office (JPO) and the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) held the 27th Bilateral Heads Meeting between the JPO and the KIPO in Seoul. At the meeting, both offices agreed to take the following measures: (1) cooperating in urging more participating offices to provide their statistical data including the ratios of patents granted to applications filed via the Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH)*1 and their examination periods; and
(2) continuing discussions for the development of the international design registration system (Hague System),*2 for the purpose of improving the user-friendliness of the design systems of both countries and promoting their utilization by users.

1. Background

Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK) are each other’s third-largest trading partners, and they have established a close economic relationship, as seen in the fact that the total amount invested by Japan in the ROK reached US $2.49 billion in 2014. In addition, looking at the number of patent applications filed with the JPO and the KIPO, Japan ranks third in the world, with 326,000 applications, followed by the ROK, ranking fourth, with 211,000 applications, showing their significant positions in the IP field. Furthermore, for the ROK, Japan is the destination with which the largest number of foreign patent applications are filed from the country, which also indicates the countries’ firm relationship in the IP field. Against the backdrop of this relationship, the JPO and the KIPO have been holding the Bilateral Heads Meetings nearly once a year since 1983, specifically discussing their annual achievements and the future action plans for the following year. In 2015, both offices held the 27th meeting in Seoul, ROK on October 22.

2. Outline of the results of the meeting

Mr. Hitoshi Ito, Commissioner of the JPO, and Mr. Donggyou Choi, Commissioner of the KIPO, discussed possible cooperation in a variety of fields, including examinations, appeals and trials, and information infrastructure development. The main contents of their agreement are as follows:

1) Cooperation in the field of patents

At the meeting, aiming to share knowledge about each office’s examiners’ examination practices, both offices agreed to cooperate in urging more offices to provide statistical data concerning the PPH program and to continuously conduct dialogues between examiners.

2) Cooperation in the field of design

At the meeting, both offices, which have much in common regarding design systems including examinations, agreed to cooperate between themselves and to continue discussions for the development of the Hague System, for the purpose of further improving the user-friendliness of both countries’ design systems under the Hague System and promoting their utilization by users.

3. Future actions

The JPO will make use of the bilateral framework between Japan and the ROK and will endeavor to establish an environment of IP systems under which the IP rights of Japan’s applicants will be protected and utilized in the ROK through smooth and highly-qualified examinations in both offices. In addition, both offices will also cooperate in improving the IP environment in third countries.

*1: The Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) is a scheme whereby patent applicants whose applications have been determined as patentable by a patent office are entitled to request, through a simple procedure, an accelerated examination of the corresponding applications in another patent office. The PPH program between Japan and the ROK started in April 2007. In 2014, approximately 1,200 requests from Japan and approximately 130 requests from the ROK made use of the program, which has greatly contributed to the prompt granting of patents and work sharing between both offices.

*2: The international design registration system (Hague System) enables the acquisition and management of design rights in multiple member countries through simple procedures at low cost. The system is highly convenient for users in Japan and the ROK. The Hague System is based on the Geneva Act of the Hague Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs, which entered into force in Japan in May 2015 and in the ROK in July 2014 respectively.

Release date

October 22, 2015

Division in charge

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

Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry
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