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Address upon Assuming the Presidency


Address upon Assuming the Presidency渡邉敬介会長-左

Let’s Bring Vigorous Intellectual Property Back


Japan Patent Attorneys Association (JPAA)


1. Introduction

Today, the Fourth Industrial Revolution is under way, propelled by technological innovations in the digital network field as represented by the Internet of Things (IoT), big data, and artificial intelligence (AI).
However, in such a time of revolution, Japan’s intellectual property (IP) has been losing vitality. As suggested by a decline in the number of IP applications filed, intellectual creation efforts have stagnated, and the intellectual creation cycle in Japan has been dwindling. Unless we take measures, we will fall behind in the revolution.
In order to successfully navigate the coming age, we need to revitalize the intellectual creation cycle. Revitalization of the intellectual creation cycle will also lead to improving the business environment of patent attorneys, which has been deteriorating in recent years. Accordingly, we will implement the following measures with primary focus on revitalization of the intellectual creation cycle as well as improvement of the business environment of patent attorneys.


2. Priority measures

(1) Revitalization of the intellectual creation cycle and improvement
of the business environment of patent attorneys

(2) Enhancement of measures for JPAA members

(3) Reinforcement of IP support for SMEs and IP dissemination activities

(4) Organizational reform of the JPAA for more efficient implementation
of measures


3. Specific measures

(1) Revitalization of the intellectual creation cycle and improvement of the business environment of patent attorneys

(i) Quantitative expansion of patent attorneys’ core business
In order to quantitatively expand our core business, we need to take separate measures for SMEs, large companies, and foreign companies. In particular, it is well known that IP applications filed by SMEs account for an extremely small share of all IP applications as compared to the share of SMEs in the total number of companies. Therefore, if we can bring out the potential of SMEs, it may result in quantitative expansion of our core business. I believe that improving the IP mindset of SMEs would guide the IP policies of the entire Japanese industry toward a more proactive direction.
We will hold regional seminars that are dedicated to having SMEs recognize the usefulness of IP, throughout Japan. This regional seminar will provide an occasion for local SMEs and local patent attorneys to participate together and exchange information with each other. We hope to pave the way for local SMEs to make active IP efforts by getting to know local patent attorneys. We will also discover new clients (SMEs that have hardly ever consulted patent firms), and introduce them to visiting consultation services of the Patent Attorney IP Caravans. Also, in order to be able to provide more advanced support to clients that have experience filing IP applications, we will strengthen our training for JPAA members on foreign application services, IP-related services for imports and exports, etc.
We will introduce case examples of effective IP use through support of the Patent Attorney IP Caravans, etc. at the abovementioned regional seminars, and also promote use of the utility model, design, and trademark systems.
With regard to large companies, the President’s Office or, if necessary, an external organ, will study the relationship between the IP application trends (e.g., changes in the number of applications) and changes in patent attorneys’ business (e.g., changes in earnings) and other matters, and we will consider effective approaches for stopping the decline in the number of applications filed by large companies based on the study results.
For foreign companies, the Discover IP Japan Conference which we held in the United States in February this year was a success. Thus, we will consider promoting foreign companies’ IP applications in Japan by continuing to hold this conference and setting up booths at international conferences, among other measures.

(ii) Quantitative expansion of patent attorneys’ peripheral businessWe will support JPAA members to be able to further expand their business to such areas as the process of keeping technological information confidential, open/closed strategy including standardization, IP contracts, IP value assessment, IP finance, border measures, and IP education.

(iii) Maintenance of the environment surrounding patent attorneysWe will address international challenges including development of the Global Dossier, in cooperation with other organizations such as patent attorneys associations of other countries. We will make aggressive efforts to support management improvement of patent firms, expand occasions for JPAA members to play active roles at JPAA branches, strengthen regulation on the work of patent attorneys conducted by non-patent attorneys, and so on.

(2) Enhancement of measures for JPAA members(i) Further enhancement of training on patent attorneys services
In order to enable JPAA members to provide consultation services concerning a broader range of subjects, we will further enhance our IP consultation training, and also take measures to further improve the skills of members who have already completed the IP consultation training.
For patent attorneys who have a certain amount of experience in patent attorney practice, we will provide hands-on practical training such as that provided at the Professional Skills Development Program for patent attorney, with the aim of further enhancing their practical skills, not only concerning IP right acquisition business but also peripheral business.

(ii) Development of global IP human resources
We will encourage our general members to participate in the international activities currently conducted by the JPAA, such as interchanges with foreign IP-related organizations. We will also reinforce our information gathering ability by using our overseas members, and enhance our international training including training for improving English presentation skills.

(iii) Provision of information necessary for members
We will improve data accessibility on the JPAA members-only webpage, “Electronic Forum.” Specifically, we will continue our previous year’s efforts to further improve the functioning of the forum’s search engine and sort out documents by tagging them so as to enable easy and timely acquisition of information necessary for members.

(iv) Enhancement of the business succession systems
In order to realize more smooth matching for business succession, we will continue to hold member matching seminars. We will also fundamentally review our matching system by checking the status of use and cost-effectiveness.

(v) Checking of the JPAA’s financial environment
We will check the JPAA’s financial environment from multiple aspects, and consider the desirable budget based on a long-term perspective.

(vi) Enhancement of training programs for in-house patent attorneys
Through activities of the In-House Patent Attorneys Committee, etc., we will enhance training programs for acquiring knowledge specific to in-house patent attorneys, and diversify the e-learning contents.

(3) Reinforcement of IP support for SMEs and IP dissemination activities
(i) IP support to SMEs
We will provide IP support to SMEs through regional seminars and IP Caravans.

(ii) Reinforcement of IP dissemination activities and increasing of the public’s familiarization with patent attorneys
We will invite public relations experts and consider a public relations strategy that involves bold fund investment.
In cooperation with the JPAA branches, we will further familiarize the public with patent attorneys by conducting dissemination activities, providing training, and enhancing school educational contents for SMEs, local governments, and educational institutions. We will also continue to approach businesses related to agriculture, forestry, and fisheries.


(4) Organizational reform of the JPAA for more efficient implementation of measures
In order to implement the above measures efficiently, we will reform the organization of the JPAA.

(i) Optimization of committeesWe will optimize the number of committees, the number of committee members, and the committee consultation process, mainly based on the results of analysis conducted by the President’s Office concerning the questions submitted and reports made in past consultation processes. In selecting committee members, we will use a method to encourage members who have not been appointed as members in the past five years to participate in committee affairs (President’s recommendation system) on a trial basis. We will also consider ways that facilitate participation in committees (such as holding committee meetings in the morning hours or after 6:00 p.m.) and expand internet conference systems that will be easy for members to use, such as introducing a video conference system that allows members to participate in head office committee meetings from a conference room of a JPAA branch.

(ii) Establishment and use of an organization for discussing medium- and long-term issues
We will first launch a working group to prepare for the establishment of an organization for managing committee consultation processes concerning medium- to long-term issues that require continuous discussions over several years and for making use of the consultation results.
We will use this organization to secure long-term consistency between various issues which the JPAA should address in the medium to long term and questions to be submitted to its internal organs through the consultation process, based on far-seeing investigation and research conducted over a medium to long term. In addition, we will deliver useful information to the public through the organization.

(iii) Promotion of information sharing between the head office and branches and between the respective branches
We will narrow the information gap between the head office (the Board of Executive Directors) and the branches. We will hold Board meetings by using a video conference system connecting between the board room at the head office and rooms of the branches, after confirming that such practice does not conflict with any JPAA rules and regulations. We will also consider holding extraordinary general meetings at branches.(iv) Enhancement of the roles of the branches
We will enhance the roles of the branches in a phased manner, starting from branches where the measure can be implemented.


(5) Others
(i) Amendment of the Patent Attorney Act
We will start our studies toward the next amendment of the Patent Attorney Act while taking into account the discussions at the time of past amendments of said Act and giving consideration to the recent changes in social conditions surrounding IP.
Moreover, we will conduct studies on amendment for securing consistency between Article 1 (the mission of a patent attorney) of the Patent Attorney Act and Article 56, paragraph (2) (the purpose of the Japan Patent Attorneys Association) of said Act.

(ii) Cooperation with INPIT’s Kinki headquarters
The JPAA will make cooperation with the to-be-established Kinki headquarters of the National Center for Industrial Property Information and Training (INPIT) to the extent possible through our Kinki Branch.

(iii) Response to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games
We will consider the ways in which the JPAA can contribute to the holding of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games. In coordination with the Kanto Branch, we will cooperate in the public relations and educational activities conducted by the Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

(iv) Preparation for the project commemorating the 120th anniversary of the patent attorneys systemWe will launch an organization for making preparations for conducting the project commemorating the 120th anniversary of the patent attorneys system in 2019.


4. Closing

 I would like to ask you for your cooperation in our efforts to implement the above measures and regain vitality in Japan’s IP.

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