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Home> Announcements> International topics> Assistance to Developing Countries> International Cooperation in association with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)

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International Cooperation in association with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)

The Japan Patent Office (JPO), in association with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), actively supports human resource development and technical cooperation in developing countries.
Our cooperation in developing countries through collaboration with each organization is outlined below.

(logotype) Sustainable Development Goals

Funds-in-Trust Japan Industrial Property Global(World Intellectual Property Organization(WIPO))

Japan has been making voluntary contributions to WIPO since 1987, and Funds-in-Trust Japan Industrial Property Global (FIT Japan IP Global) was established based on these contributions.
At the time of its establishment, the geographical areas covered by this fund were limited to the Asia-Pacific region, however, in 2008, it was expanded to Africa. Furthermore, in 2019, the fund was shaken up as the "Global Fund" without regional limitations, and has been running ever since. Over the 34 years since its establishment, the fund amounted to a total of approximately 8.5 billion yen and has been providing supports to more than 80 countries. The Fund has contributed to the development of intellectual property (IP) systems in developing countries through a variety of initiatives over the years, including high-level meetings with countries and regions to promote cooperation in the field of IP, dispatching experts to develop IP legal systems and operations, holding various workshops, and supporting the digitization of IP Offices. The JPO also focuses on fostering human resources who will play an important role in the development of IP systems.
The initiatives by FIT Japan IP Global aim to support the sustainable development of developing countries in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set by the United Nations (UN).
The Government of Japan and the Japan Patent Office will continue to implement international cooperation projects through this fund.
The following provides specific initiatives conducted by FIT Japan IP Global.

1. High-level Meeting

The high-level officials from the JPO, WIPO and other IP offices in developing countries gather to exchange their views on IP policies and initiatives and discuss various issues with the aim of deepening cooperation and improving IP systems in developing countries.
In February 2018, the WIPO High Level Forum was held in Maihama, Chiba, to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Japan Funds-In-Trust for Industrial Property (Japan FIT/IP) which was established in 1987. Then WIPO Director-General Dr. Gurry and about 100 participants including the Commissioner/Director General of IP Office from about 60 countries and organizations in Asia Pacific, Middle East, Africa, and Latin America met together and discussed the future cooperation through FIT Japan IP Global, presenting the progress of IP systems in each country and common issues to be addressed in the coming years.

(photo) Group photo of WIPO High Level Forum
Group photo of WIPO High Level Forum
Mr. Gurry, Director-General (then), WIPO: center of the photo in the first row,
Mr. Takagi, Global Infrastructure Division ADG (then): seventh from the right in the first row,
Mr. Natsume, Director, PCT International Cooperation Division Director (then), ADG, Infrastructure Platforms Sector: first row, fifth from right,
Ms. MUNAKATA, then Commissioner, JPO: first row, seventh from left)

In October 2019, the "Dialogue on Utilizing the IP System for Economic, Social and Cultural Development in Digital Era - Japan and Selected Arab Countries" was held in Tokyo, co-hosted by the UAE Ministry of Economy and WIPO.
Ambassadors to Japan and Commissioners/ Director Generals of IP Offices from Arab countries including Bahrain, Egypt, Kuwait, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE discussed the utilization of IP and the role of the JPO in the digital era with the emergence of new technologies such as AI and IoT.

(photo) Group Photo of Arab Policy Dialogue
Group Photo of Arab Policy Dialogue
(Mr. Walid, Director, Division for Arab Countries, Regional and National Development Sector, WIPO: second row, fourth from right,
Mr. Natsume, then PCT Legal and International Affairs Department of WIPO, currently ADG, Infrastructure Platform Sector, WIPO: second row, first from right,
Mr. Mohammed, Undersecretary for Economic Affairs, UAE Ministry of Economy: first row, fifth from left,
Mr. MATSUNAGA, former Director General, WIPO, first row, sixth from left)

The WIPO/African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO)/L'Organisation africaine de la propriete intellectuelle; (OAPI) (WAO Conference) was held in Zimbabwe in November 2019 supported by FIT Japan IP Global. This conference, which has been held since 2018, brought together ministers and IP directors of member states of ARIPO and OAPI, specialists from universities, research institutes and companies, IP consultants, and young innovators. With the aim of exploring challenges and opportunities for Africa in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the participants shared knowledge and exchanged views on how to leverage universities and research institutes to generate new knowledge and IP assets, encourage business communities, and use innovation and IP to support economic growth.

The WAO Conference
(Mr. BOHOUSSOU, Director General, L’Organisation africaine de la propriete intellectuelle; (OAPI): first from left,
Ms. Achta Djibrine Sy, Minister for Mines, Industry, Trade and Promotion of Private Sector, Tchad, Chair of Council of Ministers of OAPI: Center,
Mr. SHIMANO, former Deputy Commissioner, JPO: first from right)

2. Dispatch of experts

FIT Japan IP Global sponsors some workshops to promote accession to the Patent Cooperation Treaty, the Geneva Act of the Hague Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs, and the Madrid Protocol ( Protocol Relating to the Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks).
As a member country of these treaties, the JPO is also committed to sharing knowledge on procedures and preparations upon accession to the treaties by sending its staff to these workshops as lectures.
The JPO began dispatching experts to the Asia-Pacific region in 1987 and to Africa in 2009, and have dispatched approximately 400 experts to developing countries by fiscal 2019. It is worth noting that in 2018, Brazil and Malaysia became parties to the Madrid Protocol, and Vietnam acceded to the Hague Agreement, which could lead to benefits for the Japanese companies as well doing business in those countries.
At the "Sub-regional Meeting of Intellectual Property Office Officials Responsible for the Madrid System" held in Malaysia in February 2020 with the assistance of FIT Japan IP Global, IP Office staff members in charge of operations of the Madrid system in the Asia-Pacific countries as well as practitioners from countries that have not yet acceded to the Madrid system gathered to exchange opinions on improving practices related to the Madrid system and discuss common issues in the Asia-Pacific region, which contributed to improving operations in each country.

In order to support the development of IT human resources in developing countries, FIT Japan IP Global supports the training and workshops based on the needs of each country, and also dispatches JPO officials as lecturers.
At the workshop held in Tanzania in August 2019, where IP Office staff members from ARIPO and OAPI member countries as well as other countries participated, WIPO gave a presentation on the preconditions that the offices have to prepare in advance of the digitization of IP Office operations. The officials from the JPO also participated in the workshop, presenting basic matters that should be prepared beforehand when developing and implementing IT systems, as well as the experience and details of the JPO's various digital systems.
In addition, the JPO officials participated in the "ASEAN Annual conference on applications of IT in industrial property" which was held in Vietnam in October 2019 with IT staffs from each of the 10 ASEAN countries' IP offices, and shared the JPO's initiatives for system development and future outlook with ASEAN countries.

(photo) Exchanging opinions at a regional meeting
Exchanging opinions at a regional meeting

3. Human Resource Development

In order to foster human resources who will take lead role in IP systems in developing countries, the JPO provides an effective support menu. The following are some of the programs offered.

(1) Long-term fellowship program

Since 1997, the JPO has been implementing a long-term fellowship program as one of the human resource development programs in Asia.
This program is designed to invite one staff every year who is in charge of technology transfer at a university or science and technology institution in the Asian region to Japan to spend three months at the Osaka Institute of Technology Graduate School of Intellectual Property to research Japanese Industrial Property Law and IP law in Asia. The JPO provides the trainees with an opportunity to visit the JPO during their stay in Japan and introduce them to the operations of the JPO.

(photo) Group photo of trainees
Long-term trainees visit the JPO (Long-term trainee trainees: Center)

(2) Master's degree in Intellectual Property (MIP) Program

The MIP program is one of the human resource development programs implemented in Africa since 2008 when the Africa Fund was established. This program is committed to fostering future leaders who will lead the national economic and science and technology policies from the aspect of IP. ARIPO and OAPI, which are the Regional IP Offices in Africa, implement this program respectively at Africa University and the University of Yaounde II. About 30 trainees from ARIPO and OAPI member countries participate in this program every year, and FIT Japan IP Global awards scholarships to about 12 trainees from each country every year. There are 189 graduates so far who play an active role in their respective countries.

(photo) Group photo at the MIP program's graduation ceremony
Group photo at the MIP program's graduation ceremony

(photo) Local Embassy staff in Japan presenting certificates to students at the MIP program graduation
Local Embassy staff in Japan presenting certificates to students at the MIP program graduation

4. Digitalization Support

With the aim of improving the efficiency and quality of examinations in developing countries, the JPO supports the development of IT infrastructure in developing countries.
Specifically, the JPO provides the following supports: (1) support for the digitization of application documents; (2) support for the development and data collection of IT systems such as WIPO-IPAS and ASEAN PATENTSCOPE, which are the administrative processing systems of the IP Office of Japan and the ASEAN Intellectual Property Information Portal that enables users to refer to the gazette data of all ASEAN offices at once; (3) support for the development and widespread dissemination of WIPO-CASE, which is a sharing system for patent application and examination information (dossier information); (4) support for IT training and holding workshops for developing countries to develop IT human resources. The JPO has been supporting the development of WIPO-CASE since 2013 and ASEAN PATENTSCOPE since 2015.
In FY 2019, the JPO initiated digitalization support projects in the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Botswana, Madagascar, Malawi, and Zambia, and completed the project in the Philippines. The JPO also organized workshops on how to browse and use dossier information through WIPO-CASE in India and the Philippines, and dispatched patent examiners from the JPO as lecturers. In addition, in November 2019, the JPO invited officials of the Intellectual Property Office of Viet Nam to Japan to conduct training for fostering human resources to build and use an efficient IT infrastructure in the IP Office. Furthermore, as part of the support for the establishment of the Intellectual Property Office of Myanmar, three workshops for the implementation of online services were held, and the experience of the Intellectual Property Office of neighboring countries in the implementation of IT systems was shared with those in charge in Myanmar.

(photo) Group photo of Intellectual Property Office of Vietnam and JPO
Intellectual Property Office of Vietnam Officials Visit Japan Patent Office
(Son, DDG, Intellectual Property Office of Vietnam: fourth from the left in the bottom row,
Mr. Iwasaki, Deputy Commissioner: third from the left in the bottom row)

5. Startup Support Event

In February 2020, the JPO held the first-ever “Seminar on IP Support to Startups in Africa and One-on-One meetings”, jointly with WIPO and Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) to support African startups with IP. At the seminar, the representatives of African governmental organizations and startups were brought together to Tokyo to learn about the measures taken by the Japan Patent Office and best practices in utilizing IPRs in startups, including cases of startup support. JETRO held a business seminar and individual business talks, aiming to match Japanese companies intending to develop their business in Africa with African start-ups.

(photo) Group photo of seminar participants
Group photo of seminar participants

6. Support for utilization of intellectual property

(1) Branding support

FIT Japan IP Global supported the branding for the traditional local products of developing countries since 2016, aiming to contribute to the achievement of the SDGs, the goals set by the United Nations, by encouraging developing countries to utilize their own IP systems to foster local brands and promote the development of local industries.
For the Taita Basket branding project in Kenya, the JPO cooperated with the Kenya Industrial Property Institute to assist in acquiring a collective trademark for traditional baskets woven from sisal hemp by women living in rural areas of Taita Taveta County, Kenya. The JPO supported the establishment of an association to be the right holder of the registered collective trademark, the creation of a logo of the collective trademark, and the drafting of rules for the use of the collective trademark through this project. The JPO also made rules for the use of the collective trademark, such as formulating quality standards for baskets and allowing the use of the trademark only for products that meet certain quality standards, and provided training to more than 400 basket weavers to ensure that they meet the quality standards. As a result of the support for acquiring IP rights for branding initiatives, the cooperative and collective trademarks have been registered in Kenya.
The JPO has also been working with companies and intellectual property authority in Botswana since 2019 to support a project to foster a local brand of traditional Chobe baskets woven from palm leaves. The collective trademark for the Chobe basket is now registered in Botswana.

(photo) Taita Basket
Taita Basket, Kenya, attached with a registered collective trademark tag.

(2) EIE (Enabling IP Environment) Project

The JPO supports EIE:Enabling IP Environment project in Sri Lanka, Thailand, the Philippines, Vietnam, and Malaysia, aiming to achieve sustainable economic development in these regions by utilizing the IP owned by universities and research institutions.
Some workshops and mentoring programs by experts have been implemented with the aim of commercializing their inventions and IP through industry-academia collaboration by building networks among universities and research institutes in these countries. Through this project, the JPO has provided support for more than 140 cases of technology transfer, and has made progress in building a framework for industry-academia collaboration in each country.

  2018 2019 2020 Total
Technical Assistance cases 32 52 60 144
Support for technical transfer cases 27 29 41 97

National Workshop 1 on IP Management and Technology Commercialization for Technology Managers of Spokes Institutions in the framework of the Enabling IP Environment Project (EIE) was held in the Philippines in July 2019 with 33 participants from universities and research institutes. Lectures were given on IP management, technology transfer, and commercialization process in the workshop.

(photo) Group photo of workshop participants
Group photo of workshop participants

Technical Cooperation Projects (Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA))

In cooperation with JICA, the JPO dispatches some staff members to developing countries as experts on IP systems for the purpose of promoting the maintenance of IP legal systems and fostering human resources in developing countries.

(1) Support for Indonesia

The JPO has dispatched a staff member to the Directorate General of Intellectual Property of Indonesia as a long-term expert since FY 1993, and has been promoting the "Project on Intellectual Property Rights Protection and Legal Consistency for Improving Business Environment*1" on an in-house basis, aiming to support the maintenance of the local IP system, cooperation in human resource development, and dissemination and enlightenment activities.

(photo) Group photo at JICA project office
View of the JICA project office
(Expert Sugiyama (Indonesia) as of 2018: third from left)

(photo) Group photo of the Ceremony
The Award Ceremony of the Digital Content Creating Contest for Anti-Counterfeiting and Pirated Goods.

(2) Support for Myanmar

Since FY 2014, a JPO staff member has been dispatched to Myanmar's Ministry of Education as a long-term expert in the field of IP administration*2 on an in-house basis. The JPO has been providing support for the establishment of an IP Office that will be responsible for local application, examination and registration, the development of detailed practical regulations for the operation of the IP system, the establishment of an organizational workflow, and the training of staff, and has made a significant contribution to the establishment of the IP Office, which began full-scale operations for existing trademarks last year.

(photo) Group photo of the meeting
Group photo of the trademark discussion meeting
(Expert Takaoka (Myanmar): the second from the left in the bottom row)

[Last updated 11 May 2020]

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