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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 “(WIPO) Training Course on the Industrial Property Examination - Intermediate/ Advanced Program (Patent I, Trademark & Industrial Design) under the Japan Funds-in-Trust”

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Report on the “(WIPO) Training Course on the Industrial Property Examination - Intermediate/ Advanced Program (Patent I, Trademark & Industrial Design) under the Japan Funds-in-Trust”

For two weeks from November 9 to 20, the Japan Patent Office (JPO) held this year's second WIPO/JAPAN Fund Training Course on IP Examination – Advanced Program, an international training course at the Asia-Pacific Industrial Property Center (APIC) in Tokyo, whereby 30 government workers in 12 developing countries were invited as trainees.

This course is intended for trainees to deepen understanding of their expertise and case studies concerning related acts, examination standards and examination practices, and to enhance the expertise required for examiners in developing countries to review applications promptly and accurately. To achieve these goals, the trainees were divided into the three groups of "Patents," "Designs," and "Trademarks" based on their expertise, and then participated in lectures and received on-the-job training (OJT) that were specific to each group. The trainees were limited to patent, design and trademark examiners with three years' experience in substantive examinations in their own countries. Among various WIPO/JAPAN Fund training courses, this is the only one for which the JPO requires a minimum number of years of experience to participate. In this sense, this program is literally an advanced program.

On the morning of the first day of the course, the trainees listened to a welcome address at APIC, and then visited the JPO and toured the Appeal Court and National Center for Industrial Property Information and Training (INPIT). They next paid a courtesy call on the Deputy Commissioner of the JPO. In the afternoon, they attended lectures titled "Intellectual Property Support for Small and Medium-Sized Businesses in Japan" and "Outline of the JPO IT System."

scenery at the training

scenery at the training

scenery at the training

scenery at the training

On the second day, trainees were divided into the three groups of "Patents," "Designs," and "Trademarks," and then learned about their respective areas of expertise in more detail. The lecturers in charge of each group were active JPO examiners, as well as external experts such as patent attorneys who had worked as examiners (former JPO examiners). The curriculum for each group comprised classroom lectures focusing on examination standards and examination practices, as well as exercises including case studies and OJT. By dividing the trainees into groups, enough time was able to be allotted for questions and opinion exchanges during the lectures. In particular, the examiners in charge offered concentrated exercise sessions in the OJT program, checking the levels of trainees' understanding.

The three group curricula had many points in common, but also included their own specific topics that reflected the viewpoints of the examination departments in charge.

During the first four days, the Patent Group listened to classroom lectures that were given by external speakers such as patent attorneys, and focused mainly on the topics of examination standards and patent infringement. Over the last four days, JPO patent examiners mainly provided practical topics such as search exercises, case studies, and OJT. The OJT received excellent feedback from the trainees.

scenery at the training

scenery at the training

scenery at the training

scenery at the training

The Design Group members chiefly took part in classroom lectures focusing on examination standards and practices, when they had ample time to exchange opinions about each theme with the lecturers and amongst themselves. The curriculum enabled the trainees not only to learn about Japan's patent system and examinations, but also to compare the systems and examination between their own and other countries. They asked many questions about partial and related designs, about the unique aspects of Japan's design system, and about the practices related to the Hague Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs (Hague Agreement). External lecturers such as patent attorneys and JPO design examiners presented lectures on design systems from various perspectives, broadening the trainees' horizons. This year's course incorporated new material such as a lecture from Hiroshi Maruo, Chief Manager of Nikkei Design, on "ways of thinking" to develop designs under the theme of "Design Development in Japan." The Design Group also visited the office of Seiwa Patent & Law, and learned about application practices from the standpoint of patent attorneys who file patent applications. For trainees who usually examine patent applications, this was a profitable opportunity and proved to be very popular.

scenery at the training

scenery at the training

scenery at the training

scenery at the training

The Trademark Group also listened to classroom lectures from JPO trademark examiners and external lecturers, and received OJT, as the Design Group also did. Although the Patent and Design Groups spent about three days for classroom lectures on examination standards, the Trademark Group spent only one day. The Trademark Group enjoyed a diverse curriculum highlighting knowledge required for examiners, such as well-known and famous trademarks, an outline of the Madrid Protocol, brand strategies and countermeasures against private companies' counterfeit products and trademark infringement, in addition to examination practices. The "Search Exercises," which were newly incorporated into the course this year, used search tools for seeking trademark information, and were favorably reviewed by participants. The case study conducted by each trainee over two days was also popular because it provided a forum for exchanging ideas with examiners from various countries, including Japan.

scenery at the training

scenery at the training

scenery at the training

scenery at the training

On the last day of the course, November 20, all of the trainees visited Toppan Printing Co., Ltd. (Printing Museum) as one of a few common programs, and then attended the evaluation meeting and closing ceremony.

scenery at the training

scenery at the training

A total of 34 participants including four from the secretariat (incl. one interpreter) took part in the visit, listened to lectures on the company's intellectual property management and countermeasures against counterfeit products, and toured the printing museum that showed the company's history. It seemed to be a meaningful experience for the trainees to watch the printing technologies and films from a broad perspective.

In the evaluation meeting, participants mainly discussed useful topics to achieve each trainee's goals and make improvements to the course.

The topics that many trainees evaluated highly or hoped to expand in the future included exercises such as OJT and searches. This evaluation was common among all of the groups. Individually by group, the Patent Group members reported that the explanations with case examples were easy to understand, and that OJT was particularly beneficial. Meanwhile, Design Group members praised the curriculum as being comprehensive and diverse, while those from the Trademark Group valued the useful presentations and discussions among trainees. As these comments indicated, the course curricula received helpful feedback overall.

Many trainees requested that the course be improved, by extending the OJT period, for example, as well as by meeting each trainee's individual request and enhancing course content. In addition, some trainees hoped for more opportunities to exchange opinions in order to compare the intellectual property (IP) system in their own countries with those elsewhere, since individual countries' IP systems have been improving during recent years.

During their stay in Japan, the trainees not only learned about IP, but also visited various places and enjoyed Japanese culture. We sincerely hope that graduates of the course continue to succeed in their careers.

Group photo

Group photo

 

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