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Address upon Assuming the Presidency

 

Address upon Assuming the Presidency伊丹勝会長-左

 

Let’s Take Action to Make Japan the World’s Leading IP-Based Nation!

 

 

Masaru ITAMI JPAA President

 

 

1. Introduction

  In assuming the presidency of the Japan Patent Attorneys Association (JPAA) in FY2015, I would like to make an address to the JPAA members.

 Ever since the promulgation of the Intellectual Property Basic Act in December 2002, Japan has been aiming to become an IP-based nation.
 Without doubt, the number of patents held by Japanese companies is among the highest in the world, and Japan’s technology leads the world. However, it has been pointed out that Japan’s high technological capabilities are not necessarily linked with its competitiveness in global markets. Many companies are searching for more effective IP strategies.

 At a time like this, we patent attorneys who support IP activities must be active as ever looking ahead to the ideal direction in which Japan’s IP should develop.

 FY2015 is a milestone year in which a new Patent Attorney Act incorporating provisions on the mission of patent attorneys will come into effect. In such a year, we will engage in activities to take the initiative in making Japan the world’s leading “IP-based nation” so as to fulfill the social mission of patent attorneys.

  

2. Priority Measures

 This fiscal year, we will implement the following priority measures as pillars of our activities.

(1) Carrying out local IP revitalization activities through the united efforts of JPAA members

(2) Taking actions to realize an IP system that leads the world

(3) Reinforcing development of diverse human resources that meet the needs of users

(4) Supporting enhancement of the business management base of patent firms

(5) Strengthening the organization of the JPAA to ensure the effectiveness of policies

(6) Strengthening activities to disseminate and publicize the IP system and the patent attorney system

 

3. Specific Measures

(1) Carrying out local IP revitalization activities through the united efforts of JPAA members

 ・Launching Patent Attorney IP Caravans

  In order to further spread the use of the IP system, revitalization of local SMEs is an urgent task. As a measure to support local SMEs, IP Comprehensive Support Centers have been set up nationwide, and the JPAA continues to send its members to these centers as supporters who help users. In addition to this, as an important pillar of Japan’s basic policy, we will launch Patent Attorney IP Caravans as a new local IP revitalization measure. This is a visiting support service to provide SMEs with important insights into IP strategies and IP business management and to encourage their active IP use.

  Under this measure, we will run the Patent Attorney IP Caravans at various locations nationwide, and send leading patent attorneys with IP business management consulting skills to SMEs that make a request. In addition, we will newly establish a Supporter Training System to develop many patent attorneys with IP business management consulting skills, and boost our support capabilities.

  Through implementation of this measure, we will identify the problems SMEs face, and patent attorneys will further brush up their skills to participate in business management and solidify clients’ trust in and ties with them, thereby fulfilling our social mission as patent attorneys who are IP experts.
 

(2) Taking actions to realize an IP system that leads the world

 ・Launching an implementation unit toward realizing an IP system that is attractive for users

  To accomplish Japan’s policy to “become the world’s leading IP-based nation,” patent attorneys need to actively contribute to this end. It must be made possible to obtain strong high-value-added IP rights in Japan. Also, in order to realize an IP system that leads the world, efforts must be made to strengthen IP rights also in terms of substantive aspects, such as awarding proper amounts of damages and establishing appropriate means to prove infringement in Japan. Enhanced protection of trade secrets is also important. Furthermore, it is necessary to propose the ideal form of a global IP system from the standpoint of users (particularly SMEs) while exchanging information and cooperating with related organizations in other countries, and while taking into consideration the developments in the world, such as the Patent Law Treaty (PLT) and the Global Dossier.

 Therefore, we will launch an implementation unit for carrying out policy recommendations, negotiations and external cooperation in coordination with the expert committees on patents, designs, trademarks and so on and the International Activities Center.

 ・Encouraging the Japan Patent Office (JPO) to set up regional JPO bases

  We will encourage the JPO to set up its regional bases in such locations as the Kansai region to make IP examinations through interviews and JPO trials more accessible and to increase the convenience for applicants who live far from Tokyo.

 

(3) Reinforcing development of diverse human resources that meet the needs of users

 ・Developing patent attorneys with IP business management consulting skills

  As supporter training linked with the Patent Attorney IP Caravans, we will reinforce IP business management consulting training. We aim to expand the involvement of patent attorneys in IP activities by developing many patent attorneys with IP business management consulting skills. In addition, by providing consultation services, we will strengthen coordination with practitioners in other professions and increase the opportunities to discover needs for IP business management consulting.

 ・Developing global human resources

  We will exert stronger effort to develop human resources that can provide appropriate support for addressing various IP-related problems associated with overseas advancement of SMEs, etc. according to the situation of each country.
 We will also support overseas study of young and motivated patent attorneys who wish to study in a foreign country.

 ・Continuing the “Professional Skills Development Program for patent attorney”

  We will continue the hands-on “Professional Skills Development Program for patent attorney” for drafting patent descriptions where experienced patent attorneys transfer their specialized service skills to inexperienced patent attorneys.

 ・Supporting in-house patent attorneys

  If in-house patent attorneys further improve their skills and play an active part in companies, it will greatly contribute to revitalizing IP throughout Japan. In order to support the activities of in-house patent attorneys in companies from such a viewpoint, we will increase training programs on IP strategy, etc. and maintain the In-House Patent Attorneys Committee.

 

(4) Supporting enhancement of the business management base of patent firms

 Since patent attorneys have recently been facing a severe business management environment, the JPAA will make efforts to improve our membership rules to protect the interests of users and implement the following measures to support enhancement of the business management base of patent firms.

 ・Sending business management improvement consultants

  We support the business management improvement of patent firms by tying up with specialists who are able to give specialized advice specific to patent firms, such as incorporation and valuation of personal assets, and give expert advice on various issues associated with business succession as business management improvement consultants, and introducing them to patent firms.

 ・Enhancing the business succession systems

  In order to improve the efficiency of the matching between patent attorneys or between patent firms in relation to business succession, we will hold events for revamping the business succession system or for matching up. We will also support the business succession of JPAA members through use of business management improvement consultants, etc.

 ・Improving the earnings structure of patent firms

  We will analyze the current earnings structure of patent firms and study and indicate the direction for improving the structure. In the medium to long term, we will advance investigations and research for introducing limited liability partnerships (LLP) in order to facilitate business integration of small patent firms, secure business continuity and reduce the risks associated with patent firm business management of patent attorneys, and we will also coordinate with practitioners in other professions to this end.

 

(5) Strengthening the organization of the JPAA to ensure the effectiveness of policies

 ・Considering continuation of organizational reform for strengthening the organization

  We will make effort to strengthen the organization of the whole of the JPAA. Specifically, we will strive to attain the organization reforms that are attainable in this fiscal year and next fiscal year based on the direction of organizational reform as decided by the general meeting.

 ・ Globalization of the JPAA itself

  We will assign overseas contact persons for the JPAA in major countries. The overseas contact persons will serve as a liaison with local related organizations and collect information. We will periodically obtain local information from them and provide it to JPAA members.

 ・Considering establishment of an evaluation organization that serves public interests

  We will consider the establishment of a highly reliable evaluation organization possibly as an external organization of the Intellectual Property Evaluation Promotion Center so as to carry out research on IP evaluation, etc. and provide the research results for actual use in society.

 

(6) Strengthening activities to disseminate and publicize the IP system and the patent attorney system

 ・Strengthening activities to disseminate the IP system

  In order to raise public awareness about the IP system, we will enhance training programs for SME managers and educational contents for elementary schools, junior high schools, high schools and universities, and make them widely accessible.

 ・Strengthening activities to publicize the patent attorney system

  We will aim to increase the number of people who take the patent attorney examination by conveying the appeal and potential of the work of patent attorneys to many young people. Furthermore, in order to help the general public understand and learn about the activities of patent attorneys and the JPAA, we will strengthen publicizing activities for effectively increasing social recognition about various support activities of the JPAA and the work of patent attorneys by also utilizing external experts.

 

4. In closing

 Through the abovementioned measures, we will push forward activities to make Japan the world’s leading IP-based nation. I would like to ask you for your understanding and cooperation.

Thank you.

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