• Announcements
  • Obtaining IP Rights
  • JPO Activities
  • Statistics ⁄ References
  • About JPO
  • FAQs

Home > International topics > Cooperation in Human Resource Development > Assistance to Developing Countries > JPO Cooperation in Human Resource Development > Training Programs(middle) > Report on the “Operational Patent Examination Training Programs 2015 Concludes Successfully”

Main content starts here.

Report on the “Operational Patent Examination Training Programs 2015 Concludes Successfully”

The Operational Patent Examination Training Program (OPET) took place from Thursday, September 24 to Friday, December 11, 2015—the seventh time for the three-month course to be held.

Four trainees from India participated in the OPET program—one from each of the country's four Intellectual Property Offices, located in the eastern, western, southern and northern regions: Dr. Lipika Patnaik, specializing in biotechnology, from the Delhi Office; Ms. Reena, specializing in biotechnology, from the Kolkata Office; Mr. Shashidhara Chamarajanagar Nanjappa, specializing in transport equipment, from the Chennai Office; and Mr. Vikash Sharma, specializing in transport equipment, from the Mumbai Office.

Two patent examiners specializing in transport equipment additionally participated in the program for the first time from the Department of Intellectual Property in Thailand, Mr. Panja Haohan and Mr. Thanomsak Ratanaphosrade.

Step 1(September 24 to October 30)

An orientation was held on September 24, where the participants introduced themselves to each other and staff members from APIC/HIDA were introduced. While the four participants from India were slightly tense on their first visit to Japan, they quickly got accustomed to the course and life in Japan, thanks to the prior local briefing of the course and the required mindset given by last year's graduates of the course. Meanwhile, the two participants from Thailand were both familiar with life in Japan since they had participated in several seminars held by JPO/IPR and by WIPO.

The participants got to know each other from the first day. Throughout the course, they discussed and chatted amongst themselves during the breaks and after classes, and spent time together on their days off, sometimes sightseeing or shopping.

Participants shared information and requirements regarding patent examinations in India and in Thailand during the country report presentations, which took place on September 28. Many people joined the presentations, and asked a number of questions concerning intellectual property and specific patent cases in the respective countries. The participants also discussed matters with each other through questions and answers, which helped them raise new questions and deepen their understanding of intellectual property in their own countries.

scenery at the training

scenery at the training

This course is divided into three steps. During the pre-training report presentation at the beginning of Step 1, participants discussed the examination process and problems in their own countries, as well as their expectations for the program. Subsequently, in the introductory seminar, they learned about Japan's Basic Act on Intellectual Property, related national strategies, Patent Act, Utility Model Act, and other intellectual property systems in Japan in order to acquire basic knowledge concerning examinations.

During the "Overview of the Patent Act and the Utility Model Act", the participants learned about the Utility Model Act in Japan, and actively exchanged opinions with the instructors concerning utility models in Japan and their history. The participants specializing in transport equipment were particularly enthusiastic in the class, because the protection of technologies as utility models is important for them.

In the next part of Step 1, the participants learned detailed theoretical concepts related to patent examination standards in Japan in terms of such topics as industrially applicable inventions, novelty, inventive step, identity, and amendments. The participants commented that they wanted to understand the similarities and differences between the standards in Japan and in their own countries, and to incorporate Japan's strengths into their systems to improve the quality of examinations.

The participants subsequently learned the examination standards specific to each technical field divided into their specialties (biotechnology and transport equipment) to take specialized classes. This course system combining general classes for all participants and specialized classes for smaller groups was popular, giving the participants opportunities to exchange diverse opinions through discussions, as well as to gain specialized knowledge in their own fields.

On October 7, the participants visited the JPO together with their counterparts in the "Intellectual Property Lawyers Course" held by JPO/IPR. They visited the Appeal Court and the National Center for Industrial Property Information and Training (INPIT), and made a courtesy call on Akira Kobayashi, Director-General of the First Patent Examination Department.

Group photo

Group photo

Classes were also provided on intellectual property management at private companies in Japan, including an overview and industry-specific conditions. Instructors from the intellectual property departments of Astellas Pharma Inc., Nissan Motor Corporation, Hitachi, Ltd., and Suntory Holdings Ltd. described details such as their product development, as well as their intellectual property rights work and the management and utilization thereof.

Participants visited the Chiba Brewery of Sapporo Holdings Ltd., the Fujisawa Plant of Isuzu Motors Ltd., and the Tsukuba Research Center of Astellas Pharma Inc., where they learned various aspects of these companies’ intellectual property and management. They also visited the Kyoritsu Chemical-Check Lab. Corp. and learned about the difficulties that SMEs face in acquiring patents and possible countermeasures. The trainees found both tours useful to help them better understand the actual experience of companies, and the know-how gained through such experience.

On October 29, the participants visited the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), a representative research institution of Japan, where they learned about intellectual property activities at AIST, and visited the Science Square and the Geological Museum. This research and development institution, which is closely linked to the national government, was fascinating to the participants from India and Thailand, and they were highly interested in the guidance from the staff of AIST. They were also impressed by the development and commercialization of various technologies since AIST’s founding, and its continued development of technologies needed by society.

The fine weather on the day of the tour, as well as the greenery of Tsukuba, helped the participants refresh and recuperate after the training.

Group photo

Group photo

Step 2(November 2 to 30)

The participants proceeded to Step 2 in November. In order to learn how to conduct prior art searches to ensure efficient examinations, they first took classes and exercises concerning methods for searching J-Platpat, Patent Maps, International Patent Classification (IPC), and F-Index and F-Terms. In addition to public databases, the participants also learned about useful search tools provided by private institutions through a visit to Thomson Reuters Professional, where they asked various questions to improve their own examinations.

In order to acquire practical examination know-how based on what they had learned in Step 1, they then undertook more advanced exercises on specific topics including novelty and inventive step. These practical and intensive exercises were typically proceeded by the instructor providing introductory guidance and cases to be examined. Participants prepared their own answers based on the introduction, followed by detailed discussions with the instructor and other participants, and finally, comments and explanations by the instructor.

In these exercises, just as in the classes concerning examination standards specific to each technical field in Step 1, the participants were divided into their respective specialties of biotechnology and transport equipment. In addition to understanding the patent examination standards and the Patent Act, this section was extremely high-level—requiring advanced specialized knowledge in order to correctly interpret specific cases. The participants found this section demanding, but highly evaluated its training effect.

On-the-job training was held at the end of Step 2, where the trainees—together with the participants of WIPO's advanced examination course—learned more about search and examination by observing the actual work of JPO examiners.

scenery at the training

scenery at the training

Step 3(December 1 to 11)

Participants proceeded to the final step In December. Classes and exercises were held regarding appeals of examiner's decisions, invalidation trials, and actual cases of patent right infringement. After intensively studying examination methods and perspectives in Steps 1 and 2, the participants learned about the subsequent procedures based on the knowledge they had acquired. They commented that this helped them to deepen their understanding of how inventions are handled in the Trial/Appeal Court after the examiner's decision, and to perform examinations with a clearer understanding of the post-examination process.

A wrap-up discussion was held as the final class on December 10, where the instructors presented different technical documents to each participant. In the morning, the participants examined their respective documents and made a decision concerning the registrability of the patent in question. In the afternoon, each participant made a presentation on how they had arrived at their decision, taking into account the relevant response to the applicant. The participants subsequently held discussions with each other, followed by comments and explanations by the instructors. This simulated examination and wrap-up gave the participants a valuable opportunity to consolidate the knowledge and experience that they had acquired throughout the course.

On December 11, the final day of the course, each participant made a presentation in the final presentation meeting. The trainees reported what they had learned through OPET, and how they intended to use that knowledge back in their own intellectual property offices. They also mentioned specific points of patent examination in Japan that had impressed them during the course, and analyzed the commonalities and differences between Japan and their own countries in terms of points that might be incorporated into the present intellectual property system of their countries, and actions that they and their intellectual property offices can take in order to achieve that purpose. Subsequently, the participants exchanged opinions with the instructors who joined the presentation meeting, thereby heightening their understanding.

scenery at the training

scenery at the training

A course assessment was then held, at which the JPO/APIC and the participants exchanged ideas for improving the small-group training. As for the overall curriculum, the participants highly evaluated the approach whereby the course was divided into steps, and the participants could gradually proceed to more advanced tasks. In particular, the participants commented that the exercises divided into their specialties in Step 2 were fulfilling and extremely effective.

Suggestions for improvements included adding visits to universities that actively promote intellectual property management, and more intensive discussions based on case studies, as well as transferring dispute resolution (trials and infringements) from Step 3 to an earlier part of the course. It was additionally suggested that participants from more countries other than India and Thailand would have stimulated the discussions through opinions from diverse standpoints and backgrounds.

A completion ceremony was held after the evaluation meeting, at which a certificate of completion was handed to each participant from Kazuyuki Miura, Director of the International Cooperation Division, General Affairs Department, JPO. Mr. Shashidhara Chamarajanagar Nanjappa gave a speech of gratitude on behalf of the participants—thereby bringing the three-month training course to an end.

Group photo

Group photo

This was the longest training course held in Japan, consisting of intensive classes for the small group of six participants. Most instructors were incumbent or ex-examiners, and shared their specialized knowledge in detail. All participants asked many incisive questions, which gave rise to useful discussions in most classes. The course not only helped participants absorb knowledge from Japan, but also was popular with the instructors, because both the instructors and participants could learn from each other by comparing the legislative systems of Japan with those of India and Thailand.

The participants also enjoyed their time in Japan, visiting various sites after classes on weekdays and weekends. Because the course was relatively long, they could also meet the participants of other courses. The course was a resounding success, and the participants returned home with smiles. They are expected to play an active role in the coming years.


Contact Us

Developing Country Cooperation Section

International Cooperation Division

Japan Patent Office