June 8, 2020
The Japan Patent Office (JPO) will open a call for experts in the fields of business and intellectual property (IP) to apply for candidatures as mentors under the IP Acceleration Program for Startups (IPAS) in 2020, or “IPAS2020,” a program for supporting startups in developing their IP strategies.
1. Outline of the IPAS
This program aims to accelerate the growth of startups from the two viewpoints of business and IP.
For startups, their IP itself, e.g., innovative technologies and ideas, is a source of their competitiveness. Nevertheless, many startups in the earliest stage of business formation are likely to prioritize smooth business operation and drive themselves to advance their business operation without developing any IP strategy, under which they should make use of their IP to the maximum extent possible and lead this use to business growth. As a result, they are likely to face: leakage of their technologies and ideas, appearance of counterfeit products and failure to make profits associated with IP, which leads to a loss of competitiveness.
Under this program, the JPO will create “IP Mentoring Teams” consisting of business and IP experts with knowledge and skills tailored to challenges and demands for support measures that each participating startup is facing. Through a five-month mentoring program, an IP Mentoring Team will support a participating startup in diagnosing and brushing up its business strategy and developing an IP strategy linked to the strategy.
As part of this effort, the JPO will broadly open a call for applicant experts for supporters of startups under the program.
2. Details of registered experts’ activities under the IPAS
The IPAS consists of the following programs for registered experts.
Registered business experts and IP experts are entitled to optionally participate in a knowledge-sharing program, an initiative aiming to encourage these experts to network with business owners of startups and share knowledge and experiences with each other.
Measures for supporting startups in developing IP strategies, etc.
Some registered experts who have knowledge and skills that meet challenges and demands that startups as recipients of support measures are facing will be designated as mentors. Under the IPAS2020, 15 startups will be selected as recipients of support measures, and, in principle, one business expert and one IP expert will be selected as mentors to each startup.
Moreover, if a registered expert is junior, he/she may be designated as an assistant mentor as a supporter of the mentor, and this post will open for a few junior experts.
Mentors and assistant mentors should support startups in advancing the following four steps through face-to-face interviews or, if necessary, online: [i] diagnosing technical seeds, exit strategies, etc., [ii] developing IP strategies, including IP research, [iii] drafting a strategy for filing IP applications involving technical seeds for which the startup should immediately obtain IP rights,* and [iv] receiving follow-ups.
*Note: This step does not include representation for filing an application by mentors.
In addition, the knowledge-sharing program, mentoring and other activities may be all provided online depending on the state of expansion of the novel coronavirus disease.
3. Period of the call and schedule of the activities
Period of the call: From June 8 (Mon.), 2020, to March 31 (Wed.), 2021
Note: If you wish to be designated as a mentor or an assistant mentor, please send your application by July 10 (Fri.), 2020.
Schedule of the activities (tentative):
- Knowledge-sharing program
|From August 2020 to February 2021||Conducting the knowledge-sharing program|
- Measures for supporting startups in developing IP strategies, etc.
|June 2020||Starting acceptance of applications for registration as experts|
|July 2020||Selecting mentors and assistant mentors from experts|
|From August to December 2020||Conducting mentoring activities|
|March 2021||Holding a briefing on results of the program|
4. Details of the program
For more information on the program, visit the IP BASE website (in Japanese). The application instructions and application form are also available on the website.
Division in Charge
Policy Planning and Research Division, Policy Planning and Coordination Department, JPO