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

The JPO/IPR Training Course for IP Protection Lawyers started at the beginning of February for a total of 21 trainees (10 males and 11 females) consisting of patent attorneys, IP-related lawyers, judges, etc. coming from 11 countries: Brazil, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

On the first day of the course, the trainees started by attending a lecture at HIDA, and from the next day, they moved to APIC, and also visited the JPO. On the following day, a lecture titled, "Outline of IPR System," was given by Mr. Hidetaka AIZAWA, a professor of the graduate school of Hitotsubashi University.

Lecture by Mr. AIZAWA

Lecture by Mr. AIZAWA

On the next day, the trainees were divided into two groups, more specifically, nine trainees to the patent group and 11 trainees to the trademark group. Each group attended different lectures over the following four days. Every day, the trainees attended a lecture on each of the following topics: [i] the Japanese Patent Act, [ii] the Japanese Trademark Act, [iii] the Japanese Examination Guidelines for each Act, and [iv] the JPO trial system, lawsuits to rescind a JPO decision, and specific infringement cases. During each lecture, time was allotted for Q&A and discussions in order to deepen trainees' understanding of the Japanese systems and their home countries' systems, and the difference in the approach.

On Thursday, February 16, a lecture titled, "Role and Present Status of Intellectual Property High Court," was given by Judge Kenichi FURUKAWA. In the afternoon, the trainees visited the Intellectual Property High Court and actually observed court proceedings.

Group photo in front of the Intellectual Property High Court

Group photo in front of the Intellectual Property High Court

On Monday, February 20, every trainee gave a presentation about judicial precedents in his/her home country, followed by a discussion. Since all 20 of the trainees in the course gave a presentation, this lasted a whole day, including break time. At the end of the day, some trainees looked tired. However, most of the trainees commented that such presentations gave them an important opportunity to intensively learn about the differences between their home countries' systems and other countries' systems.

On Tuesday, February 21, Mr. Kiyohide OKAMOTO gave a lecture titled, "Rights Enforcement and Licensing," and explained the Japanese industry and the history of licensing in Japan and the management of licenses. This lecture was particularly useful for the trainees who had been in charge of agreements and licenses in their home countries.

Other comments included the following: "The lecture was very practical and beneficial because it was given from the perspective of what measures should be taken to industrially apply and commercialize intellectual property." "The lecture was easy to understand because the lecturer used a lot of graphics in presentation materials." "The lecture was interesting because it addressed various topics from a commercial perspective."

Some trainees requested that, "It would be nice if lectures on business manners and etiquette are added to the curriculum of this course. It would help enhance the relationships between Japanese companies and foreign companies."

Mr. Okamoto and trainees

Mr. Okamoto and trainees

In the afternoon of the last day of this course, the trainees were divided into four groups, each of which gave a presentation. For the last couple of days, each group came together after classes and exchanged opinions to prepare for their presentation. Through these activities, the members of each group deepened mutual understanding. Some trainees commented that, thanks to this lecture that required a presentation, they were able to maintain their concentration until the last day, while other trainees commented that they did not want to give a presentation on the last day because they wanted to enjoy a relaxing time in Japan. It is difficult to create a curriculum that can meet the demands of all of the trainees.

Group presentation in a comprehensive discussion session (1)

Group presentation in a comprehensive discussion session (1)

Group presentation in a comprehensive discussion session (2)

Group presentation in a comprehensive discussion session (2)

This course lasted for slightly less than three weeks in total and offered a comprehensive curriculum. While some lecture topics were not related to the trainees' careers, many trainees commented that all the lectures were useful for them to expand their knowledge and grasp the entire picture. This comment suggests that such a comprehensive course was beneficial to the trainees.

Some trainees commented that more time should have been allotted for explanation of the IP systems and the current IP environments in their home countries. While this course allotted time to explain the IP-related cases in their home countries and gave them some opportunities such as comprehensive discussion sessions to exchange opinions, further improvement needs to be made to the curriculum in order to meet the aforementioned request.

The trainees on this course were divided into two groups, namely the patent group and the trademark group. However, some trainees commented that they wanted to learn about both patents and trademarks, while other trainees commented that they were pleased that different lectures were offered for the patent group and the trademark group respectively because, if they had not been divided this way, the lectures would have been less specialized and less advanced.

This training course started at the beginning of February, which is the coldest time of the year in Japan. However, in mid-February this year, it sometimes was as warm as if it were April. We were glad that all of the trainees were able to maintain their health despite the daily temperature fluctuations and to complete this course.

All of the trainees were diligent, very enthusiastic and committed to this course. Since most of the trainees in this course were legal practitioners such as patent attorneys and lawyers, they are expected to contribute to the development of the IP systems in their home countries.

 

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Developing Country Cooperation Section

International Cooperation Division

Japan Patent Office

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E-mail:PA0870@jpo.go.jp