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Address upon Starting the Second Year of Presidency


Address upon Starting the Second Year of Presidency伊丹勝会長-左

Let’s take action to carve out the future of Japan as an IP-based nation!


Masaru ITAMI JPAA President


1. Introduction

 I have entered my second year of presidency this April. I would like to express my gratitude to the members of the Japan Patent Attorneys Association (JPAA) for their deep understanding of and cooperation in the affairs of the JPAA.
With provisions on the mission of patent attorneys having been incorporated into the new Patent Attorney Act, which became effective in April last year, patent attorneys face stronger social demand than ever to play an active role as intellectual property (IP) experts. Today, the environment surrounding IP is dramatically changing, including the globalization of economy, social innovation with the Internet of Things (IoT) and open/closed technology. In order for Japan to maintain its position as an IP-based nation, we as patent attorneys must act vigorously in new fields that meet the needs of the times.
From such a viewpoint, the JPAA engaged in various activities last fiscal year under the slogan, “Let’s take action to make Japan the world’s leading IP-based nation!,” setting up the following as our priority policies: (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 the development of diverse human resources that meet the needs of users; (4) supporting the enhancement of the business management base of patent firms; (5) strengthening the organization of the JPAA; and (6) strengthening activities to disseminate and publicize the IP system and the patent attorney system. This fiscal year again, we will further reinforce our efforts under these policies after carefully examining the achievements and progress of the respective projects and activities.
This fiscal year, Japanese companies are expected to further activate their overseas operations due to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). In addition, since national provisions related to the Patent Law Treaty have come into effect, changes are expected in the situation of overseas applicants filing applications in Japan. With such inward and outward movements expected to intensify, now is the time when we as IP experts should securely perform our roles.
Therefore, we will powerfully push forward our current projects by additionally adopting a strategy that is based on such trends of the times.
The following are the priority measures for this fiscal year, which take into account the points mentioned above.


2. Priority measures

(1) Further expanding local IP revitalization activities
Last fiscal year, in addition to having patent attorneys provide advice and support at IP Comprehensive Support Centers, free invention consultation sessions, and various seminars, we launched the Patent Attorney IP Caravan Project centered on a new type of effort where patent attorneys actively visit local small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and propose IP strategies. At present, we visit and provide consultation services to more than 150 companies. We will continue to implement this Patent Attorney IP Caravan Project by analyzing user needs based on the results of last year’s activities. Accordingly, this fiscal year again, we will continue to train supporters and spur the use of Patent Attorney IP Caravans through various networks so as to further cultivate SMEs to which patent attorneys will be sent. We will also strengthen publicity activities in order to have more people learn about the contents of the project. In addition, we will study and implement a framework for making this project a continuous and expansive project. Through these activities, we will expand the network for supporting SMEs.

(2) Enhancing the IP environment by making full use of various networks
In Japan, we will enhance our existing relationships with related organizations and strengthen our cooperation with financial institutions so as to broadly disseminate the IP systems.
Overseas, we will continue our system of dispatching patent attorneys to JETRO’s overseas offices, increasing the number of overseas contact persons for the JPAA, and will interchange and cooperate with patent attorneys associations and IP organizations of other countries.
This fiscal year, we will continue to hold the president’s meeting, which we held twice last fiscal year and achieved some positive results, so as to deepen the cooperation among the patent agents in various countries and create an environment where patent agents can make recommendations about future global IP systems.
Meanwhile, on February 18, 2016, Dr. Francis Gurry, Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) visited the JPAA, and signed an agreement to make the JPAA a partner of WIPO GREEN. In the future, we will support the use of environmental technologies in global markets.
The JPAA will also act as a supporting organization for the New Export Nation Consortium , a public-private organization that was newly launched in relation to the TPP, to develop a system that can deal with IP issues that Japanese companies face in their overseas operations.
Through these networks, the JPAA will increase its presence in and outside Japan, and aim to realize IP systems that are beneficial for users.

(3) Strengthening timely and effective publicity activities
Last year, public awareness of IP is likely to have grown stronger through the Olympic emblem issue and the popular TV drama, Shitamachi Roketto (Downtown Rocket). However, we must say that social recognition of the IP systems and patent attorney system is still low. In light of the importance of publicity activities, we will work out a strategy from a fresh perspective, and enhance, develop, and send out publicity with a long-term outlook into the future. It is also an important point that publicity should be made from the standpoint of users. We will study publicity that will stimulate user needs and implement such publicity on various occasions.
Furthermore, we will send out information efficiently and effectively by using our website, and increase the means of providing information to our members, in order to ensure that beneficial information reaches not only users, but also members.
Overseas, we will engage in local publicity and dissemination activities so as to encourage overseas companies and IP practitioners to use Japan’s excellent IP systems.

(4) Continuing to implement specific support measures that contribute to enhancing the business management base of patent firms
Because our environment remains severe, it is important for members to not only conduct their external activities, but also establish a management style that adapts to changes in the environment and the trends of the times. Last fiscal year, we implemented various support measures, including the development of a management analysis tool in order to enhance the business management base of patent firms. This fiscal year, we will realize more specific and easy-to-use support measures based on last year’s results, and provide such measures widely to our members.

(5) Developing human resources in various fields
Last fiscal year, we conducted measures to develop patent attorneys with IP business management consulting skills, develop global human resources, and improve patent attorneys’ specialized service skills. This fiscal year, we will continue to implement these human resources development projects, and additionally start a new training program for enhancing the skills to make presentations overseas. We will strive to foster diverse human resources with versatile skills in various fields, casting keener eyes than ever on training not only our members, but also young people who will play a role in IP creation in the future and other non-members who will create and use IP.

(6) Investigation, research, and recommendation for realizing attractive IP systems
With an aim to realize the world’s leading IP systems, we intensively investigated, conducted research, and made recommendations on expansion of patent attorneys’ core services and active use of IP dispute resolution systems last fiscal year. This fiscal year, we will continue to carry out such recommendation activity by also taking user needs into account, and we will endeavor to make even more specific recommendations.
Upon the previous amendment of the Patent Attorney Act, it was expressly stipulated that we are experts on IP. However, if we let this end up as a mere slogan, we will not be able to contribute widely to society through IP systems. We will be able to achieve IP protection and use that meet user expectations only if we actively provide peripheral and incidental services in addition to the current specialized services.
To this end, we will intensively investigate and conduct research on the protection of copyrights and trade secrets as well as the expansion of protection systems that meet user needs, in addition to the expansion of patent attorneys’ core services, and actively recommend the results obtained in order to reflect them in future law amendments.

(7) Making efforts toward realizing organizational reform of the JPAA
We cited strengthening of the organization of the JPAA as a priority policy for last fiscal year, and carried out reforms and studies with an aim to make the JPAA an organization that promotes development of the IP right systems and the patent attorney system, an organization that can contribute to the development of local economies and local industries, and an organization that can support companies’ global operations. This fiscal year, we will make an effort toward realizing these goals in order to realize whatever we can to start with. We will also study and implement measures to encourage our members to actively participate in the affairs of the JPAA. Now that our membership has exceeded 10,000, we believe that the number of able and talented members has increased. We will urge such members to actively take part in the affairs of the JPAA and strengthen its organization in such regard.


3. Closing remark

 Through the above-mentioned measures, we will vigorously carry out activities in order to carve out the future of Japan as an IP-based nation. We ask for our members’ unchanged understanding and cooperation this fiscal year.

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