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The Japan Patent Office WIPO High Level Forum Held to Celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the Japan FIT/IP Participants discussed future directions of JPO-WIPO cooperation through the Japan FIT/IP

From February 22 to 23, 2018, the Japan Patent Office (JPO) and the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO) held a WIPO High Level Forum on Utilizing the Intellectual Property System for Economic, Social and Cultural Development (hereinafter referred to as the “forum”) in Urayasu City, Chiba Prefecture, as an event to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the inauguration of the Japan Funds-In-Trust for Industrial Property (Japan FIT/IP). The forum brought together approximately 100 participants invited from 54 developing and other countries to hold discussions concerning future cooperation through the Japan FIT/IP. Taking this opportunity, the JPO held meetings with participants from intellectual property (IP) offices and other organizations and signed agreements with Viet Nam and Turkey concerning future cooperation in the IP field.

1. Summary of the results

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

Celebrating the 30th anniversary of the inauguration of the Japan FIT/IP, from February 22 to 23, 2018, the JPO and WIPO held a WIPO High Level Forum in Urayasu City, Chiba Prefecture. The forum brought together approximately 100 invited participants, including heads of IP offices, from 54 countries and organizations in developing and other countries. Showing the progress made in IP systems in their countries and current challenges to be overcome in the future, participants exchanged views concerning future cooperation through the fund.

(1) Opening remarks and keynote speech

Mr. Masaki Ogushi, Parliamentary Vice-Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, delivered opening remarks, and in light of the courtesy call by Dr. Francis Gurry, Director General, WIPO, on Mr. Hiroshige Seko, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, on February 21, 2018, he explained that Japan will expand the Japan FIT/IP-based cooperation to the rest of the world and will strive to increase the amount of its voluntary contributions to WIPO so as to satisfactorily cover the expected costs for enhanced cooperative initiatives in target regions.

Following this, Ms. Naoko Munakata, Commissioner of the JPO, proposed two future directions of the Japan FIT/IP-based cooperation: firstly, IP-oriented cooperation in creating regional brands and cultivating new international markets, and secondly, cooperation taking advantage of IP to create innovations. Specifically, she upheld the following three key elements and encouraged participants to advance discussions on them: [ⅰ] IP for Innovation as the goal, [ⅱ] IP Intelligence to navigate toward that goal, and [ⅲ] IP Literacy to support the whole venture.

Furthermore, Director General Gurry delivered a keynote speech. He explained the recent trends in the IP field and WIPO’s broad range of cooperation in developing IP environments and showed his gratitude to the JPO for the past cooperation through the Japan FIT/IP.

(2) Session-based discussions

[ⅰ] Theme Ⅰ: Changes in the IP system responding to the trends of the times

Brazil, the Philippines, South Africa and Sri Lanka explained the progress made in their own IP systems and efforts for enhancing the efficiency of practices in their IP offices. They showed that introduction of IT into their IP practices in such offices contributed to improvement of efficiency, but that they are still facing challenges in accumulated applications in examination procedures and in further raising public awareness of IP systems as necessary effort for encouraging people to make use of such systems.

[ⅱ] Theme Ⅱ: New challenges and initiatives on IP policies for promoting innovations

India, Mexico, Singapore and Morocco explained their efforts for promoting innovations, in particular, concerning establishment of IP ecosystems, establishment of environments in which universities and research institutes are able to further utilize IP, industry-academia-government collaboration, and fund raising for IP related projects. In addition, they showed their recognition that IP utilization requires international frameworks and cooperation.

[ⅲ] Theme Ⅲ: Initiatives to build Information technology (IT) and provide useful IP information for ensuring prompt and appropriate protection/utilization of IPRs

Egypt, Indonesia, Japan and Nigeria explained their efforts for informatization in their IP offices by making use of IT technologies as well as their approaches to utilizing IP information. The JPO explained artificial intelligence (AI)-based machine translation and document search as well as efforts for analyzing trends in specific fields making use of IP information, and it showed that these efforts are potential cooperation projects in target countries.

[ⅳ] Theme Ⅳ: Initiatives for developing and managing human resources to enhance IP system

Thailand, Turkey, African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) and the Organisation Africaine de la Propriété Intellectuelle (OAPI) explained their efforts for human resource development and educational training programs targeting staff of their IP offices, university personnel and students. In addition, they explained their activities, including provision of opportunities to the JPO to hold training courses for newly employed examiners in their countries as well as measures for supporting students in completing master’s degrees through the Japan FIT/IP.

[ⅴ] Roundtable Discussion: Utilization of IP system and future development of international cooperation for economic, social and cultural development

Cameroon, Chile, Kenya, Malaysia, Morocco, Pakistan, Samoa and Senegal explained their efforts, and participants held discussions concerning ideal approaches to utilization of IP systems and international cooperation therefor. Participants confirmed the shifting high demand of international cooperation from IP right protection to IP utilization, and many countries agreed that such cooperation should be expanded through the Japan FIT/IP.

2. Enhancement of cooperation in the IP field

Taking the opportunity of the forum, the JPO held meetings with participants from IP offices. At respective meetings, it confirmed that the JPO will continue to keep its cooperation relationships in the future and agreed with the following countries to cooperate in the IP field.

(1) Viet Nam

The JPO and the National Office of Intellectual Property, Viet Nam, signed a memorandum of cooperation in the IP field, and both offices agreed to fortify the bilateral cooperation framework to accelerate patent examination practices and to improve quality thereof.

(2) Turkey

The JPO and the Turkish Patent and Trademark Office agreed to start the Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) program and to further fortify their bilateral relationship.

3. Future actions

In light of the discussion results of the forum, the JPO will continue to cooperate in developing IP systems in partner IP offices. It will also endeavor to promote international cooperation with developing countries to meet their demand in new fields through the Japan FIT/IP, including cooperation in developing environments in which people make use of IP systems and in branding regional products.

Release date

February 26, 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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