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Message in the Second Year of Presidency

Message in the Second Year of Presidency

Toward Further Expanding the Circle of Intellectual Property

日本弁理士会会長 渡邉敬介

 

 

Keisuke WATANABE

President

Japan Patent Attorneys Association




On starting my second year as the president of the Japan Patent Attorneys Association (JPAA) on April 1, 2018, I would like to express my deepest gratitude for your understanding and cooperation in the JPAA’s activities.

 

During my first year of office, the JPAA engaged in activities under the following four basic policies under the slogan “Expand the Circle of Intellectual Property”: (1) revitalization of the intellectual creation cycle and improvement of the business environment of patent attorneys; (2) enhancement of beneficial measures for JPAA members; (3) reinforcement of IP support for SMEs and IP dissemination activities; and (4) organizational reform of the JPAA. In my second year, I intend to push forward these four basic policies even more strongly than before toward further expanding the circle of intellectual property (IP), capitalizing on our experiences in the first year.


The key points of the JPAA’s initiatives on the four basic policies above in the second year are as follows.




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

In order to revitalize the intellectual creation cycle and improve the business environment of patent attorneys by promoting use of IP held by SMEs, which account for 99.7% of all companies in Japan, we have held an event throughout Japan called Chizai Hirometai (IP use promotion seminar), combining an easy-to-understand seminar on the usefulness of IP and an exchange session with local patent attorneys. With the hope of conveying the benefits of IP evenly across the nation, we aimed to hold the event at 50 locations covering all 47 prefectures in one year. In the first year, we held the event at more than 50 locations, but we were unable to hold it in some prefectures. In the second year, we intend to hold the event at 50 more locations including those prefectures which we missed last year.


From our experience in the first year, we found that cooperation of local financial institutions such as regional banks and credit unions is highly effective, so we would like to strengthen coordination with them. From our activities in the first year, we also learned of the presence of student groups working to launch start-ups or to start business, so we will also plan holding Chizai Hirometai targeting such groups.


Chizai Hirometai will continue to coordinate with the Patent Attorney IP Caravans. Our main efforts for such coordination have been to take some time after the seminars or exchange sessions to introduce the Patent Attorney IP Caravans and hand out pamphlets about them, but this year, if we find companies suitable for the Patent Attorney IP Caravans through exchanging opinions at the exchange session, we will actively recommend them to use the service. We will also improve the service of the Patent Attorney IP Caravans so as to be able to return the results to our members more easily and effectively.


With the objective of strengthening international coordination between patent attorneys, the first President’s Meeting was held in 2014 and the second meeting in 2015, both in Tokyo. The President’s Meeting took place in Seoul last year, and is planned to be held in Beijing this year. We intend to achieve stronger coordination for developing a better international business environment for patent attorneys through a frank exchange of opinions at the meeting.




Enhancement of beneficial measures for JPAA members

We will continue to provide existing training programs such as training on consultation services, hands-on practical training, training on peripheral businesses, training for in-house patent attorneys, and training for developing global IP human resources.


Meanwhile, an amendment of the Patent Attorneys Act has been submitted to the Diet along with an amendment of the Patent Act and other related Acts. If these amendments pass the Diet, business of protection of data and business of standardization will be added to the business of patent attorneys. Along with training on amendment of the Patent Act and other related Acts, we will provide training on these new businesses. In particular, with regard to the businesses to be added by this law amendment, we will provide compulsory training on matters which patent attorneys should know as basic knowledge and elective training for acquiring more advanced knowledge.




Reinforcement of IP support for SMEs and IP dissemination activities

We will carry out the Patent Attorney IP Caravans, not only in response to requests from companies, but also with a view to targeting companies selected by the Intellectual Property Management Center and companies referred by local governments and local financial institutions by actively encouraging them to use the service.


In addition, we will use Chizai Hirometai also for raising young people’s awareness of making effective use of IP by, for example, holding seminars and round-table discussions (exchange sessions) for students.


The JPAA has compiled a medium-term public relations strategy. Its main pillar is, in order to raise the public recognition level of patent attorneys by 10% over five years, to advertise and hold events through various media, targeting those in their 20s and 30s having high information transmission abilities. We formulated this medium-term public relations strategy in the first year, and we will put it into actual practice in the second year—which is this fiscal year. We will identify the effects of this strategy at the end of the fiscal year for its further implementation in the following fiscal year.




Organizational reform of the JPAA

We will set up a committee for studying medium- and long-term issues. This committee will discuss, for example, the prospects for the patent attorney industry in five years’ time and compile the results into materials to be used in deciding the JPAA’s activity plan and budget allocations. We are also planning to assign to the committee the duty to address issues that require continuous discussions, such as amendment of the Patent Attorneys Act and studies on the Intellectual Property Strategic Program.


In order to facilitate exchange of information between the JPAA’s head office and branches, as well as between branches, we will expand the use of the video conference system. As the first step, we will actively use the video conference system in the meetings of the Board of Executive Directors. The trial use of the system in the February meeting went smoothly without a hitch. This fiscal year, we will mainly connect between the room of the Kinki Branch and the boardroom of the Tokyo head office, but we would like to try introducing the video conference system also for connecting with the room of the Tokai Branch.




Others

Next year will mark the 120th anniversary of the patent attorney system. We will make preparations for commemorative events in an organized manner.


We are also preparing to change the names of the branches from “XX Branch of the JPAA” to “XX Group of the JPAA.” After gaining approval on the revision of related regulations at the extraordinary general meeting to be held in December this year, we plan to introduce the new names on April 1 of next year.




I have described only the key points of the JPAA’s initiatives on the four basic policies above. This fiscal year will be the year for completing these basic policies. I would appreciate your continued support and cooperation.

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