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

The JPO/IPR Training Course for IP Protection Lawyers was held from October 5-23, 2015, when the autumn leaves were starting to appear. There were 28 participants, including patent attorneys, IP rights lawyers and court judges, from 14 countries: Argentina, Brazil, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Mexico, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

After two days of classes at HIDA (Overseas Human Resources and Industry Development Association), the first day of study at APIC (Asia-Pacific Industrial Property Center) started with a lecture giving an outline of the IPR (international property rights) system. Then, the students visited the Japan Patent Office, where they paid a courtesy call on an Executive Official and observed the Appeal Court and the National Center for Industrial Property Information and Training (INPIT). The students were introduced to searches including those done via J-PlatPat (Japan Platform for Patent Information). Some noted that they will be able to use these systems still more effectively back in their home countries.

The next day, the students split into a "patent group" of 10 and a "trademark group" of 18 for four days of separate classes. Both groups studied Japan's Patent Law and Trademark Law, respectively, spending one day each on the topics of examination standards, trials, decision revocation lawsuits, and infringement cases. Through questions and answers and discussions held during the lectures, trainees deepened their understanding of the differences between the systems and ways of thinking in Japan and their home countries. After these four days, the groups came together again for more classroom sessions.

On the morning of the 15th, trainees heard a lecture on the role and present status of the Intellectual Property High Court, which was given by one of its judges. In the afternoon, they visited the Intellectual Property High Court and watched an actual trial. On the afternoon of the 21st, they visited the legal firm TMI Associates and listened to an outline of the firm and an explanation of its patent and trademark operations. During the discussion period, the students asked many questions such as "How does one become a patent attorney in Japan?" which were answered with polite explanations. Many of the students gave high evaluations to the places they visited during this course.

Group photograph taken at TMI Associates

Group photograph taken at TMI Associates

Introductions of country cases and discussion were given on the mornings of the 20th and 21st, at which time all trainees introduced and led discussions regarding the judicial precedents in their home countries. Because all 28 students gave presentations this year, the two sessions were very long, comprising a total of nine hours including breaks. The students looked tired at the end, but most of them felt that this concentrated study of the differences between the IP systems of other countries and their own was valuable.

A student giving a presentation for the

A student giving a presentation for the "Introduction of Country Cases and Discussion" session

On the 22nd, Professor Okamoto gave a lecture on rights enforcement and licensing, wherein he outlined the history of Japanese industry and licensing, and explained topics including licensing management. Students felt that this lecture was deeply interesting, because many things that needed to be learned were explained not only from a legal standpoint—but also from technical and business-oriented ones. Students also expressed their desire for an explanation of practical operations, making it clear that more hands-on elements need to be considered for this session.

Professor Okamoto's lecture

Professor Okamoto's lecture

During the overall discussion held on the morning of the final day, the students divided into four groups, with each giving a presentation on measures to deal with product counterfeiting. The students were impressed that these four groups all took distinct approaches with respect to the same theme. After the classes had finished, students from each group were also seen exchanging views regarding the topics of the previous few days—thereby gaining a deeper understanding of the other members in their group as they prepared for their presentations. One student remarked that thanks to this presentation, a high level of nervous intensity was maintained until the last day of the course. On the other hand, one student wished that there were no presentation, which would have allowed them to relax and enjoy Japan. This showed us—the course planners—how hard it is to create a curriculum that will satisfy all students.

One group's presentation for the overall discussion

One group's presentation for the overall discussion

All of the students impressed us as being diligent, with a passion to learn and a strong sense of responsibility toward their work. Many questions were asked during the classes, especially by the students from Brazil, the Philippines, India, and Vietnam. Most of the participants in this course are working in the legal profession as patent attorneys or lawyers, and we hope they do great work when they return to their own countries.

Group photograph during the closing ceremony

Group photograph during the closing ceremony


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Developing Country Cooperation Section

International Cooperation Division

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