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Home > International topics > Cooperation in Human Resource Development > Assistance to Developing Countries > JPO Cooperation in Human Resource Development > Training Programs(short) > Report on the “Training Course on the Examination Practice of Industrial Property (Intermediate/Advanced Program) under the WIPO Funds-in-Trust/JAPAN”

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Report on the “Training Course on the Examination Practice of Industrial Property (Intermediate/Advanced Program) under the WIPO Funds-in-Trust/JAPAN”

The first "Advanced Examiner Course" of the WIPO Japan Fund Training Program, a two-week international training course whose participants included government officials of developing countries, was held at APIC in Tokyo from October 22 to November 2nd. In total, 20 trainees participated from nine different countries.

During the training course, trainees were divided into three groups according to their field of specialization: patents, designs or trademarks. It was intended that the trainees would enhance their specialized knowledge through lectures and case studies dealing with applicable laws and regulations, examination standards and practices relating to the rights in their respective fields of specialization, and on-the-job practice. The curriculum of this training course was designed to deepen their understanding of these subjects, and to enhance their professional development for more speedy and precise examination in their respective countries. The training course also stands out among other courses of the WIPO Japan Fund Training Program due to its unique qualification requirement for participation, which states that a perspective participant must be a patent, design or trademark examiner in the relevant country "with at least three years of experience in substantive examination." In this respect, the training program --titled an “Advanced Course”—is worthy of its name.

On the first day of the training course, the trainees attended an orientation and introductory lecture at APIC. They then visited the Japan Patent Office, where they observed the appeal court hall, the National Center for Industrial Property Information and Training (INPIT), and the window where applications are received.

During a courtesy call to executive officials at JPO: Mr. Takao Kato, Director-General, First Patent Examination Department at the center

During a courtesy call to executive officials at JPO: Mr. Takao Kato, Director-General, First Patent Examination Department at the center

Trainees receiving an explanation at INPIT

Trainees receiving an explanation at INPIT

Beginning on the second day, the trainees were divided into the three groups—patents, designs and trademarks—to deepen their knowledge of their respective fields of specialization. Active and former examiners at the JPO, together with outside experts such as patent attorneys, served as instructors for all three groups. The curriculum for each respective group included classroom lectures with a central focus on examination standards and practices, in combination with exercises such as on-the-job simulation. The groups were relatively small, ranging from six to eight persons, and in most cases, there was time for questions and exchanges of views. During the on-the-job practice, in particular, the examiners in charge took a practical approach in carrying out the exercises by checking the trainees' level of understanding, thereby making the exercises fairly substantial.

Although the curricula for the three groups have a number of features in common, individual sessions included therein are designed to reflect the basic ideas of the particular examination department to which the respective trainees belong.

During the first half, the curriculum for the "patent" group allotted four days to classroom lecture sessions taught by patent attorneys and other visiting lecturers. Subjects covered ranged from examination standards to international applications under PCT, and infringement of patent rights with a central focus on examination standards. Four days were allotted during the latter half to practical training in patent searches, case studies, and on-the-job practice—all of which were conducted under the guidance of patent examiners at the JPO. Incidentally, five trainees from the Practical and Tailored Patent Training Program (PTPT) held around the same time as the subject training course (two representing Brazil and three representing India) joined the exercises included in the latter half of the curriculum, which created a circle of friendship between the trainees of both programs.

Unlike the "patent" group, the curriculum for the "design" group was not designed so that classroom lectures and exercises took place in clearly separate time periods. Rather, it featured a series of classroom lectures with a central focus on examination standards and practices, followed by exercises such as on-the-job practice, which was further followed by another series of classroom lectures with a central focus on the infringement of design rights, management of applications for design registration, the Design Act and related laws. Although a rough rule for sharing the teaching load was established—with most classroom lecture sessions taught by visiting lecturers such as patent attorneys, and exercises such as on-the-job practice carried out by JPO design examiners—this rule seems less applicable when considering the sessions covering the filing of applications for design registration, requests and drawings; and certain sessions covering examination standards taught by JPO design examiners. Additional unique characteristics of the curriculum are that the duration of the on-the-job practice included in the curriculum extends for two days or longer, which is the longest of the three groups, and that a specialist is invited from Hitachi Ltd., a private company, to give a lecture on the subject of corporate design strategy.

As is the case with the "Design" group, the "Trademark" group applies the same rule for sharing teaching loads in that the two series of classroom lectures are taught by JPO trademark examiners and visiting lecturers, respectively, with exercises such as on-the-job practice sandwiched between the two series. Also, a specialist was invited from Kao Corp., a private company, to give a lecture on the subject of corporate trademark management and counterfeit issues. However, while the curricula of the “Patent” and “Design” groups were allocated about two days for classroom lectures on examination standards, the curriculum for the “Trademark” group was allocated only one day, with a central focus on the appeals and trials system, well-known trademarks, the outline of the Madrid Protocol, implications of brand strategy for the regional economy, infringement of trademark rights, the Unfair Competition Prevention Act, etc. — subjects that a trademark examiner should acquire in addition to knowledge of examination practices, which has enriched the entire curriculum. Among other activities, the presentation of country reports by trainees, followed by discussions—which represents one of the unique characteristics of the curriculum for the "Trademark" group—was highly valued by the trainees.

As a result of time having been allocated for a courtesy visit to executive officials at the JPO early in the morning, which had been scheduled for the first day (October 23) on which the grouping of the trainees was to take place, the trainees in the "Trademark" group happened to experience the peak rush hour congestion on the Chiyoda Line because they had to meet at HIDA, a lodging facility where they had been staying, and take the Chiyoda Line train from Kitasenju to Kasumigaseki at a little after six. Nevertheless, the trainees in the group could get together at the time appointed for the meeting and were not disturbed by the congestion on the train.

On the closing day, November 2nd, trainees visited Honda Motor Co., Ltd. at its Welcome Plaza Aoyama, which coincided with one of the few joint sessions with trainees from other training programs. An evaluation session and the closing ceremony were also held on this day.

A total of 30 people joined the visit to Honda Motor Co., Ltd. The visiting members included five trainees from the Practical and Tailored Patent Training Program (PTPT), two long term research students (from Brazil and China), and three members of the APIC secretariat. The visitors attended lectures on the company’s intellectual property management and measures against counterfeiting, and then observed an ASIMO demonstration and other activities. Among other things, the photos taken with ASIMO made a good souvenir.

Group photograph with ASIMO at Honda's Aoyama Welcome Plaza

Group photograph with ASIMO at Honda's Aoyama Welcome Plaza

In the evaluation session, a discussion was held regarding the usefulness of sessions for achieving the trainees’ goals and on the possibility of improving the curriculum. Sessions highly valued by many trainees involved exercises such as on-the-job practice and search practice, which were common to all groups. On a group basis, the "patent" group found the fulfilling discussions accompanying the lectures to be useful, the "design" group liked the comprehensiveness of the curriculum, and the "trademark" group praised the breadth of knowledge on the part of the classroom lecturers. This implies that the curricula for the three groups, by and large, were favorably received by the trainees.

With respect to improvement of the curriculum, multiple trainees expressed their preference for a prolonged course period. While the on-the-job practice was highly appreciated on the whole, many trainees expressed their preference for more time and for a richer content to meet the needs of individual trainees. A number of trainees voiced their wish for the availability of an English version of the search tools provided in the training course. Additional subjects they wished for the curriculum to cover included an exchange of views with company specialists and patent attorneys, a visit to the Intellectual Property High Court, and referral to the JPO's outsources.

While making serious efforts to study intellectual property during their stay in Japan, the trainees set out to various places in Japan on their days off, and had a productive time through exposure to Japanese culture.

We expect great things of them in the future.

 

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