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Release of Japan Patent Office Annual Report 2021

July 14, 2021

The Japan Patent Office (JPO) has compiled trends surrounding intellectual property (IP) at home and abroad and its own initiatives into the Japan Patent Office Annual Report 2021, with the aim of deepening public interest in IP systems and understanding of them.

1. Summary of the report

While the world economy has temporarily stagnated because of COVID-19, the pace of digitalization has been increasing even further, and social needs regarding measures against infectious diseases and other issues have changed significantly. This in turn has created new business opportunities, and the importance of intellectual property to supporting innovation is becoming greater than ever. To address this, the JPO is also considering and taking a variety of steps to promote innovation through the granting of appropriate industrial property rights.

The opening article in the report highlights some of the latest technologies to emerge in the midst of major changes in our lifestyles. Focusing on people creating the "New Normal," this article features three technologies: (1) a family-type robot that provides emotional healing; (2) an AI learning system that enables collaborative education between AI and humans; and (3) an unmanned delivery robot that can smoothly coexist with humans and address the logistics labor shortage. The article presents what these products and services are and how they were created, while touching on new needs resulting from changes in people's lifestyles.

Part 1, "Trends Surrounding IP," highlights the impact of COVID-19 on IP statistics.

Part 2 looks at the JPO's latest efforts. These include remedial action regarding procedures, promoting online interviews, digitalizing administrative affairs, and the "Basic Issues Subcommittee" (which discussed medium- to long-term issues regarding the JPO).

Part 3 discusses trends in the IP systems in countries Japan is furthering international cooperation with during the pandemic, and efforts toward developing a global IP environment.

The report also contains special features that focus on hot topics, such as moves to allow the parties involved to attend procedural hearings online, and examining what kinds of patent systems will be appropriate for the age of AI and IoT technologies.

Moreover, the Statistics and Materials in the separate volume provide a variety of statistics and materials concerning IP, including the statistical data which the figures and tables in the main report are based on.

Division in Charge

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

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