Message from the president

Address upon Assuming the Presidency

Building a Foundation for Securing Stability in the Future!

Kazunori Suzuki
Japan Patent Attorneys Association (JPAA)

  I would like to convey my greetings on the occasion of becoming President of the Japan Patent Attorneys Association for 2023.

  Three years after the beginning of 2020, when COVID-19 emerged as a challenge facing the entire society, the government of Japan is now working to restore society to the pre-COVID-19 state, by such efforts as the reclassification of COVID-19 from a Category 2 to Category 5 infectious disease from this May and renaming it “Corona 2019.”.

  As I take on the role of President of the Japan Patent Attorneys Association (JPAA) in this period of transition from the co-existence phase to post-pandemic phase, I would like to present the following business plan to be worked on with our members for ensuring a robust organization in the future, with the specific initiatives presented in a list form for the sake of space.



I. Introduction

 Under the Patent Attorneys Act, revised in 2014 after the enactment of the Intellectual Property Basic Act in 2002, patent attorneys must at all times maintain integrity, have mastery of the laws, regulations, and practices involved in the business, and conduct business in a fair and sincere manner (Article 3 of the Patent Attorneys Act). In addition, they have a mission to contribute to the proper operation of intellectual property systems and thereby contribute to economic and industrial development (Article 1 of the Patent Attorneys Act). This revision has also increased the role of the JPAA, which conducts operations related to the instruction, communication, and supervision of patent attorneys (Article 56 of the Patent Attorneys Act).

 Meanwhile, the Japanese economy has seen a stagnation in growth for a long time, since the end of the economic bubble. In addition, the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, coupled with price hikes due to such factors as the sharpest drop in the yen in 32 years, has caused the Japanese economy to enter into a long recession. With respect to intellectual properties in Japan, although the number of trademark applications has experienced fluctuations, the number of intellectual property applications has continued to decrease over the medium- to long-term.

 In light of this situation, it is necessary to lay a foundation for increasing the number of patent applications from a medium- to long-term perspective, by strengthening support for patent attorneys’ practices by the sustainable and robust organizational structure of the JPAA, and fostering and boosting the capabilities of highly skilled patent attorneys, thereby contributing to the development of the Japanese economy and industry by bolstering product innovation (i.e., developing new innovative products with differentiated features) and supporting the globalization and digital transformation of the industrial community under the fourth industrial revolution and enabling patent attorneys to fully carry out their mission.


II. Major initiatives

 In light of the downturn in the economy over the long term and the slowdown in business of patent attorneys, I am committed to laying a foundation for sustainable and stable activities for patent attorneys and for the robust organizational structure of the JPAA from a medium- to long-term perspective, and to developing and fostering patent attorneys that are necessary to achieve these goals.


I. Ongoing initiatives of JPAA

(1) Collaboration with related organizations, including the JPO

 Rebuilding a relationship with related organizations that have been suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Raise the public recognition of patent attorneys.

(2) Promotion of IP creative education

 Promotion of IP creative education at universities, colleges of technology, high schools, and elementary and middle education schools.

(3) Effective support for regional branches

 Increase opportunities for the JPAA to engage with its regional branches and to provide support for their flexible management.

(4) PR strategy to increase the public recognition of patent attorneys

 Devise PR strategies with cost-effectiveness in mind, including cooperation with JPO and other related government agencies and affiliated organizations, and supporting PR strategies for regional branches.

(5) Development of opportunities for activities of in-house patent attorneys

 Develop opportunities for activities of in-house patent attorneys through engagement with them, such as providing the training that they need.

II. New initiatives

(1) Collection and analysis of information

 Establish a mechanism for the JPAA to collect and analyze information concerning patent attorneys’ services, devise a medium- to long-term strategy to increase their activities, and enable the smooth continuation of the JPAA’s activities.


(2) Global assessment of the JPAA’s activities

 Lay a foundation for introducing a mechanism to regularly review the JPAA’s activities.


(3) Encouraging members to participate in the JPAA’s administration, including committees

 Develop an environment encouraging members’ active participation so that more members will be involved in the JPAA’s administration.


(4) Building a mechanism for work assistance

 Develop a user-friendly environment for accessing contents available from electronic forums.


(5) Restriction on capital contribution in patent professional corporations by non-patent attorney investors

 Discuss incorporating a provision in the JPAA’s rules to confirm the restriction on a patent professional corporation from receiving capital contributions from non-patent attorneys.


III. Specific initiatives


1.Initiatives for the revitalization of IP-related services

1-1 Initiatives to develop opportunities for activities

 (1) Reinforcement of relationships with SMEs and startups through chambers of commerce, financial institutions and venture capital investors

 (2) Collection and analysis of IP-related information

 (3) Promotion of IP support services and public relations leveraging the social diffusion of SDGs and taking the opportunity of EXPO 2025 Osaka Kansai

 (4) Further advancement of a referral system for patent attorneys

 (5) Awareness raising campaign targeting SMEs and startups

1-2 Development of opportunities for activities in the medium- to long-term through the increase of IP creative education

 (1)  IP creative education at universities

 (2) IP creative education at elementary and middle schools

 (3) Patent contests and design patent contests

1-3 PR strategies for developing opportunities for activities in the medium- to long-term through increasing the public recognition of patent attorneys

 (1) Devising effective PR strategies to increase the public awareness of patent attorneys

 (2) Cooperation with related government agencies, including the JPO and affiliated organizations

 (3) PR strategies for regional branches

 (4) Increasing the public recognition of patent attorneys by enhancing the status of in-house patent attorneys

1-4 Initiatives to increase the number of applications coming in from other countries and applications going out to other countries

 (1)  Collecting and analyzing information on initiatives to attract applications from abroad

 (2)  Building a mechanism to attract foreign applicants to the Japanese market

 (3)  Publication of information about Japan

 (4)  Publication of information on outbound applications

1-5 Improvement of work efficiency through digital transformation

 (1)  Workshops and information sharing mechanisms

 (2)  Efforts for the digital transformation of the JPAA

1-6 Measures to prevent substantial participation by non-patent attorneys in the management of business of a patent professional corporation

2.Initiatives for the robust organizational structure of the JPAA

2-1 Building a mechanism for global assessment of activities

2-2 Enhancement of schemes for effective activities of regional branches

 (1)  Increase engagement opportunities for regional branches

 (2)  Increase the flexibility of operation of regional branches

2-3 Strengthened collaboration with the JPO

 (1)    Strengthened collaboration through meeting with JPO

 (2)    Increase of joint research projects with JPO examiners and hearing officers

2-4 Information sharing and enhanced cooperation with related government agencies and affiliated organizations

 (1)    Cooperation with affiliated organizations, including the Japan Institute of Invention and Innovation

 (2)    Promotion of cooperation agreements with local governments

 (3)    Establishing a cooperative relationship between the JPAA’s regional branches and the Regional Bureau of Economy, Trade and Industry

2-5 Creating mechanisms for information collection and analysis

2-6 Enrichment of opportunities for activities of in-house patent attorneys

 (1)    Development of a mechanism to engage with in-house patent attorneys

 (2)    Enrichment of training opportunities for patent attorneys

 (3)    Research on career choices after retirement

3.Initiatives for nurturing and developing human resources

3-1 Nurturing patent attorneys as trusted professionals

 (1)    Enrichment of discussion-based training

 (2)    Development of a mechanism to assist with work activities

 (3)    PR and training programs, including diversity efforts, the publication of advertisement guidelines, business manner class, and publication and training on such topics as anti-harassment

3-2 Systematic programs to nurture future patent attorneys who will underpin the IP-based nation

 (1)    Promotional activity targeting students in graduate schools, universities and colleges of technology

 (2)    Promotional activity at KidZania targeting preschool and elementary school children

 (3)    Assisting patent attorneys in their development of presentation and communication skills

 (4)    Ensuring opportunities for patent attorneys to engage with each other

 (5)    Research on persons who have a patent attorney qualification but are not registered as a patent attorney

 (6)    Securing a good work environment for patent attorneys, including benefits and welfare

3-3 Fostering an environment facilitating the participation of diverse personnel in the affairs of the JPAA


 Advancing these initiatives cannot be achieved without the JPAA members understanding the necessity of and participating in the implementation of these initiatives. To this end, it is important for us to share information and work together. I appreciate members’ assistance in advancing these initiatives to enable patent attorneys to contribute to the development of society by assisting the economy and industry of Japan from the standpoint of intellectual properties.


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