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Address on the Occasion of the Presidency’s Second Year

~~Demonstrating Our Professional Worth~~

President Jun Nakajima
President
Jun Nakajima

1. Introduction
I am very pleased to convey my regards to everyone at the beginning of 2008, the second year of my term as president. 
Last year, we made advances in a variety of projects based on the slogan “Achieving True Professionalism.” In particular, we strived to enhance the working environment for patent attorneys as well as improving their skill sets by pushing to expand the work available to patent attorneys as provided for in the new Patent Attorney Law, improving the business infrastructure conducive to such work, developing positive social activities to contribute to causes outside our organization, proposing and implementing policies regarding the national commitment to intellectual property for the future, and responding to the obligatory training which will enhance the quality of patent attorneys. This year, I would like for the Association to provide an environment where last year’s policies can continue to be developed and these fruits thoroughly enjoyed by our members as we move forward in the implementation of the following projects grounded on the slogan “Demonstrating Our Professionalism” so that we can give something back to society.

2. The Expanded work field of Patent Attorneys and their support
With the new Patent Attorney Law, over the last few years the work field of patent attorneys has steadily been broadened by statutory stipulations, including an expansion of patent attorney activity in the field of “cross-border injunctions” at the Customs office. At the same time, the number of successful candidates passing the Patent Attorney Examination has increased dramatically since the Patent Attorney Law was revised in 2000, which has in turn greatly intensified competition for the business of patent attorneys.
Last year, we labored to further expand the work field of patent attorneys in order to cope with such a situation. This was known as the “acquisitive strategy.” Mainly through special committees, we have conducted surveys and research regarding the business field of patent attorneys including the acquisition of patent rights which is the primary function of patent attorneys. We also endeavored to accommodate the accompanying expanded scope and sophistication of all aspects of patent attorneys business. This year, our research will delve deeper so as to create an environment in which our members are able to sufficiently enjoy these results. We plan to implement these measures principally through special committees, the Education Institute and the Intellectual Property Business Academy.
Some patent attorneys are already actively participating in a comprehensive advisory capacity and translating this expanded range of patent attorney business into practice. Furthermore, many patent attorneys aspire not only to act as proxies for patent applications and other intellectual property rights, but also to contribute to their clients’ intellectual property business throughout the entire process from the creative phase to registering those rights and utilizing them as well as broadening the scope of such activity. In the future, we plan to foster many comprehensive intellectual property advisors at the Intellectual Property Business Academy. Moreover, we will strive in our public relations efforts to disseminate information to users concerning the engagement of patent attorneys over a broad range of business.

3. Organizational Improvement of Patent Attorney Offices 
In order to advance the work of patent attorneys, it is essential that patent attorneys and the Association be improved and enhanced. With regard to the organizational development of patent attorneys offices, since last year we have assiduously developed and improved office work standards and staff guidelines.
Society should evaluate the work in the IP field through the demonstrated sophistication of patent attorneys. What is the conception of a patent attorney having the capability to address the requirements of an openly innovative society? Last year, we commenced research to define the future concept of the patent attorney. This year, we plan to continue on with this research to construct a concept of what the patent attorney will do in the future, and make this information available as a reference which every patent attorney may use to determine his or her future path.

4. Enhancing Member Services Including Exemption from Dues for Members and Prompt Provision of Information
Last year, we revised our rules to take into consideration the interests of our members, such as exempting members who are not substantially engaged in patent attorney work from member dues and disseminating information through an e-mail system to promptly inform our membership. This year, regardless of the members working pattern, we will address their needs in giving serious consideration to the services which should be available to Association members, such as what sort of service structure would be desirable for an even broader range of members, what kind of services would be desirable for the Association to offer, and additionally, what should the Association do to have more members participate in Association business and activities.

5. Social Contributions through Local Activities to Support Intellectual Property Nationwide
Local activities to strengthen intellectual property through the application of specialized knowledge are not possible without the involvement of patent attorneys. The social contributions of the Association have grown every year thanks to the cooperation of our members. Nationwide, members engaged in local promotional activities have been remarkably active. In the 12-month period of the previous fiscal year, members of the Association were dispatched to more than 1,000 intellectual property seminars, consultations and other events throughout Japan. This averages out to three support activities taking place somewhere in Japan each day over the course of an entire year. Thanks particularly to the assistance of the Association’s nine branches around Japan and their strong backing for such local activities providing help in the area of intellectual property, our activities have been well regarded even by those outside our Association. Constant cooperation provided by branch members is the fundamental support underlying the social assistance programs of patent attorneys. I hope that all members will provide and sustain their wholehearted endorsement to develop new support activities for intellectual property locally.

6. Commencement of the Continuing Education Program to Improve the Quality of Patent Attorneys
Last year, soon after assuming the office of president, I spent time corresponding with the Diet in regard to the bill for the partial amendment of the Patent Attorneys Law. Prior consideration to the bill was given in the House of Councilors, and thanks to everyone’s cooperation, the House of Representatives approved the bill and it went into force in July. Addressing the subsequent cabinet orders and ministerial ordinances as well as revising the Association’s rules and regulations relating to this amendment are all important subjects. These issues have proceeded smoothly thanks to the collaboration of so many of our members including the Patent Attorneys Law Revision Special Committee. Continuing education to improve the quality of patent attorneys will be compulsory for all members starting in April of this year and will result in the obligation to undergo 70 hours of training over a five-year period. The number of Association members has already reached 7,700 and it is important that this system be organized so that everyone will certainly and assuredly be able to undergo the statutory training. I would like the Education Institute to fully develop an e-learning system so that members can take classes anywhere, anytime and any number of times. Nevertheless, as the case may be, there are also members for whom e-learning is not suitable, so we plan also to prepare a wide-range of classroom training courses adapted for continuing education. The preparation of venues and scheduling are important issues that will continue to need to be addressed in the future.
Additionally, the new Patent Attorneys Law improves compliance-related matters, such as providing for a practical training system prior to registering as a patent attorney, expanding the range of work handled by patent attorneys, and prohibiting name lending. The particulars of such measures have not yet been determined, but we will continue to respond to future cabinet and ministerial ordinances, construct a new system for compliance and keep our members informed about these developments.

7. Cooperative Systems with Other Organizations
Neither patent attorneys nor the Association can go it alone. We are very closely involved with society. In our daily work and activities, it is very important that there be smooth communication with those outside our profession or organization and that we thoroughly understand the ideas held by those outside our sphere of activity. Consequently, the Association has built up close relations with the Japan Patent Office, courts and other government agencies as well as universities, academic societies and various interested parties. In the future as well, I would like to strive to maintain good communication with a diverse array of domestic and foreign organizations as well with the aim of assuring that the work of patent attorneys and their place in society are understood.

8. Conclusion
This year will be the time to complete the second year of the operational plan which was formulated at the outset of my initial year in office. I will continue to attend to administering the considerable affairs of the Association so that we may fully respond to the many concerns which must be addressed by both patent attorneys and the Association. I will undertake the administration of Association affairs for this the second year, in the belief that if we patent attorneys put our specialized knowledge to good use, we will then be able to make a significant contribution to society in a variety of ways so as to realize a nation committed to intellectual property, which will result in prosperous business for patent attorneys. If patent attorneys are actively involved in society, they can make it a better place, consequently, I am devoted to creating a better environment to that end. I kindly ask for your cooperation, support and guidance over the coming year.

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