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Celebrating World IP Day 2021

(image) IP and SMEs : Taking your ideas to market - World Intellectual Property Day 2021 April 26

About World IP Day

On every April 26, we celebrate World Intellectual Property (IP) Day, which was established in 2000 by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). This year 2021 marks the 21st anniversary since World IP Day was established. April 26 is the date on which the convention establishing the WIPO entered into force in 1970. Ever since 2001, World IP Day is observed by holding a variety of events and activities worldwide to increase people’s awareness and understanding of the important role that IP rights play in promoting innovations. And this year is no exception, since public awareness raising activities will be held in many parts of the world based on this year’s theme: “IP & SMEs: Taking your ideas to market”.

The Japan Patent Office (JPO) in celebrating World IP Day 2021 is highlighting the contributions it has made to WIPO, emphasizing the cooperative relationship between itself and WIPO.

Contribution to WIPO under the Support of Voluntary Contributions

The JPO, through a wide variety of cooperative initiatives, has enhanced its cooperative relationship with WIPO over the years. Since 1987, Japan has made voluntary contributions each year to WIPO, and, based on these contributions, has operated a trust fund called "Funds-in-Trust Japan Industrial Property Global (FIT Japan IP Global)". In the 34 years since the fund was set up, Japan has contributed a total of CHF 85 million and has provide support to more than 80 countries. The JPO has implemented a variety of assistance activities for developing countries in Asia and Africa. This includes welcoming more than 1,800 trainees since 1987 from 61 countries among 4 regions of the world, holding various workshops and seminars, sending more than 400 of its own experts to 38 countries since 1987, and supporting the computerizing and upgrading of the IT infrastructure at other IP offices.

Also, the JPO has been working on assistance to Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) in developing countries by using the monies contributed to the FIT Japan IP Global. In February 2020, the JPO held the "Intellectual Property Support Seminar for African Startups/Individual Business Meeting", which was the first initiative of its kind designed to support African startups from the perspective of intellectual property. The seminar was co-sponsored by WIPO and the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO). At the seminar, the JPO invited officials of African governmental agencies and members of startups to Tokyo and explained the JPO’s measures and best practices regarding the utilization of intellectual property rights in startups. The JPO presented examples of support for startups. In addition, the JETRO held a business seminar and individual business meetings with the aim of matching Japanese companies hoping to expand their businesses in Africa, with African startups.

Cooperation with WIPO Japan Office

The WIPO Japan Office (WJO) (External link) was established in 2006 as an external office of the WIPO. The WJO provides information on the significance and role of the intellectual property system in Japan, liaises between WIPO and concerned ministries, agencies, and courts in Japan, and disseminates international applications and registration systems for patents, trademarks, and designs under the jurisdiction of the WIPO. In addition, the WJO contributes to various SDGs initiated by WIPO such as WIPO GREEN (External link) and WIPO Re:Search (External link) to address global issues, conducts cooperation with developing countries through IP Advantage (External link) which uses the funds in the FIT Japan IP Global, and conducts research studies for promoting utilization of the IP system.

Furthermore, in disseminating information on the IP system and international applications/registration systems under the jurisdiction of WIPO, the WJO conducts seminars and makes individual visits to users, as well as provides various information and support to users in Japanese.

Through these public awareness campaigns, responses to global issues, and assistance activities using the FIT Japan IP Global, the JPO has been advancing its cooperative relationship with the WJO.

The JPO has launched a web page that provides the details of cooperation with the WJO, so please visit the webpage and take a look.

(photo)Group photo of Workshop
Workshop through the FIT Japan IP Global
(Photo courtesy of the WIPO Japan Office)

WIPO Service of Assistance to SMEs

WIPO IP Diagnostics

WIPO publishes the WIPO IP Diagnostics for beginners on its web page. By answering questions that users can respond to in a few minutes, they can receive free diagnostic information that is optimal for their individual situations on various fields of intellectual property such as inventions, trademarks, licenses, and designs.

Guides: Intellectual Property for Business

WIPO publishes information on the benefits of utilizing the intellectual property system for SMEs on its web page. The details are written under “Guides: Intellectual Property for Business”.
Through the eight guides published on the web page, users can learn beneficial information including: how SMEs use the patent system in their business strategies; how SMEs use trademarks to build brand images; and how SMEs use design rights to differentiate their products from those of competitors.

Case Studies on the Use of IP by SMEs

WIPO uploads stories on its website of SMEs located around the world, which are using their IP rights to turn ideas into business opportunities and generate value. The stories are written in various languages such as Japanese.
One of the case studies on the website is about a Japanese startup Mamorio, Inc. This company has amassed a solid IP portfolio and then become a leader in its field based on its “smart tracking tag” developed by the company. This tag helps customers by tracking and finding their lost belongings.


Under the 2021 World IP Day theme of “IP & SMEs: Taking your ideas to market”, the WJO held an online, commemorative event on World IP Day. The event consisted of lectures by people who are active in various fields and it included panel discussions too. At the event, Mr. KASUTANI, Commissioner of the JPO, delivered a speech. In addition, even though the event ended, you can still view the event’s content, free of charge, from the special website below.

Content Distribution by WIPO

Under the 2021 World IP Day theme of “IP & SMEs: Taking your ideas to market”, WIPO has been conducting its global campaign to promote and raise awareness of the role of intellectual property in the business of SMEs. As part of this, WIPO has created content, in eight languages including Japanese, which targets SMEs in a wide range of industries and shows examples of how intellectual property is used to support their business. The JPO has cooperated in creating the content by making use of the funds in the FIT Japan IP Global mentioned above and by introducing SME candidates featured in the content.
In the content completed, Crossfor Co., Ltd., which won the "Intellectual Property Achievement Award" in FY2020, is taken up as an example of how the company used intellectual property.

The content can be viewed from the following link.

[Last updated 19 February 2024]

Contact Information

For inquiries on WIPO Japan Funds-in-Trust and related projects:
Developing Country Cooperation Section
International Cooperation Division
E-mail: PA0870@jpo.go.jp

For any other inquiries:
International Organization Section
International Policy Division
E-mail: PA0800@jpo.go.jp

Policy Planning and Coordination Department
Japan Patent Office