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Report on the “JPO/IPR Training Course for IP Protection Lawyers”

The JPO/IPR Training Course for IP Protection Lawyers took place during mid-autumn, from Oct. 6 - 24, 2014, and included 29 attendees working in legal offices or private companies from a total of 12 countries: Brazil, Brunei, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Lectures were given for two days at the Overseas Human Resources and Industry Development Association (HIDA), after which time the training course was officially kicked off. On the first day of this training, which was held at APIC (Asia-Pacific Industrial Property Center), students toured the Japan Patent Office and paid a courtesy call on top officials there.

The next day, trainees were divided into the patent group (9 persons) and trademark group (20 persons). Both groups attended lectures for four days at APIC on Japanese laws, examination standards, appeals of decisions, and examples of infringement—with one day being allotted for each topic. Through question-answer sessions and discussions, the students deepened their understanding of the differences between the systems and ways of thinking that exist in Japan and in their own countries.

On October 16 and 17, the students then presented cases from their respective countries, which were followed by discussions. This year, lectures were given by all 29 students. Since breaks were also included between lectures, the entire process took 9 hours—a long stretch. Toward the end, trainees appeared fatigued—and we anticipated that they would express the desire for a shorter session. In fact, however, the great majority of participants expressed the opinion that the cases and discussions were quite valuable, since they were able to learn about the differences between the IP systems of their own countries and elsewhere.

A trainee giving his presentation

A trainee giving his presentation

The two groups then merged, and lectures resumed. The lectures on licensing were limited to a half-day due to time considerations, allowing only general points to be covered. As a result, trainees expressed a desire to learn about specific licensing cases and procedures. If this course is given again in the future, it appears that the schedule needs to be changed in order to devote a full day to licensing.

Course participants paid a study visit on the 21st,to the Toshiba Science Museum in Kawasaki, where they listened to a lecture given by an employee on issues of IP. For the trainees, this was a meaningful visit.

At the Toshiba Science Museum

At the Toshiba Science Museum

Trainees visited the patent legal firm Miyoshi & Miyoshi on the afternoon of the 22nd, and the Intellectual Property High Court on the afternoon of the 23rd. Many participants felt that they learned much at all the places they visited, and after visiting the patent attorneys at Miyoshi & Miyoshi, the desire was also expressed to visit additional legal firms, as well as to receive lectures from lawyers.

The students divided into three groups on the morning of the last day, and each group gave a presentation on the state of development of an international IP system. During the latter half of the course, each group was seen to meet frequently in order to exchange views in preparation for this presentation. Strong bonds therefore seemed to have been formed in each group. With these presentations on their minds, some students remained tense up until the final day—while others expressed regret that they couldn’t relax on the last day of their course and just enjoy being in Japan. Given these divergent opinions, we once again learned how difficult it is to design a course that satisfies all desires.

Photos of each group of students Photos of each group of students Photos of each group of students

Photos of each group of students

During each of the classes, many trainees asked questions and participated in the discussions eagerly.

The separate lectures given to the patent and trademark groups tended to be evaluated highly. The lectures that were rated the highest this year were those on patents. In particular, Masayoshi Tsunoda’s lecture on patent law and related laws was rated highly for its introduction of many recent cases that have attracted close interest. However, regrets were expressed that the content listed in the abstract was not all explained during the actual lecture.

The trainees were all diligent, and their passion and sense of responsibility toward the subject matter was evident. Many questions were asked during classes, particularly by the participants from Brazil, Malaysia, and Thailand. The majority of course participants were legal professionals, patent attorneys or lawyers—prompting Shinichiro Suzuki and Kazuhiro Matsuda (the teachers who led the pre-training report and country report presentation sessions, and who had the longest contact with these trainees) to comment that these participants were of a higher level than those of other courses they taught previously. This was also apparent from the content of the issues that the participants brought up, as well as their attitude during lectures.

We have great expectations that these students will continue to make valuable contributions in their respective countries.


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Developing Country Cooperation Section

International Cooperation Division

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