Sunday, December 27, 2015

Japan Earned 30.5B Dollars from Technology Exports in 2014

Japanese government released results of the Survey of Research and Development on December 15, and it was found that Japan earned 30.5B dollars (an increase of 7.8% from the previous year) from technology exports in 2014. The technology export includes patent licensing and technical guidance fee. It has increased for three (3) consecutive years since 2012 and showed the highest figure. 

In regional breakdown, the North America is the largest trading partner (44% of export value) and the second is Asia (40%). However, it includes trading between a parent company and its subsidiaries. When such trading with subsidiaries is excluded, Asia gets the first place (49%) and the North America moves to the second place (30%).

Results of the Survey of Research and Development

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Application Screen Will Come Under Protection by Design Law in Japan

Recently, there are many applications which have similar design or layout. However, things may change next year. 

JPO will amend Design Examination Guidelines to protect application screen, e.g. design or layout of video chat application, which is displayed on smart phone, tablet, personal computer etc. from April, 2016. The design law was once amended in 2006 to protect display screen on digital equipment such as portable music player, but application screen was not included at that time. As for Website design or layout, it will not be included for protection in the amendment next year. 

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

"Japanese Sake" Will Not Be Allowed to Be Specified in Goods or Services for Trademark Registration

As reported in the previous post, "Japanese Sake" is going to be protected as a geographical indication. Responding to this, JPO made an announcement about the examination guidelines for trademarks which includes "Japanese sake" in goods or services.

To prevent "Japanese sake" from becoming generic, JPO decided to reject such trademark applications. The applicant may amend the goods or services to indicate more specific goods or services, such as  "refined sake", "unrefined sake", "shochu", "awamori", etc. or "refinded sake which is brewed in Japan using domestic rice". 

JPO's Announcement (Japanese)

Friday, December 11, 2015

Patents of Japanese National Universities Are Liabilities, Not Assets?!

According to the investigation by Board of Audit of Japan, it was found that more than 80% of national universities and independent administrative corporations are in deficit on the patent balance of payments in 2009-2013. They could not earn more money from their patents than patent filing and maintenance fee. They were totally 18M dollars (2.2B JPY) in the red in 2013. 

As a result of the investigation, Board of Audit of Japan instructed them to deal with this issue, e.g. by withdrawing or disposing patents which they cannot commercialize. Therefore, many patents of them may appear on the patent market soon. 

Press Release of Board of Audit of Japan (Japanese)

Monday, December 7, 2015

Selfie Stick, Once Introduced as Japanese Useless Invention

I have learned that selfie stick was invented by Japanese inventors working at Minolta Camera (Current Konica Minolta ) and granted in the United States in 1985. Minolta commercialized this invention but didn't become popular. And it was introduced as a useless Japanese invention in a 1995 book. Camera was too heavy at that time. It was maybe too early to implement the idea.

Seems that Japanese companies are not good at spreading their technologies worldwide, even if they are good ones. I have been thinking it is a critical issue for Japanese companies. Maybe we can find other good ideas in old unused patents.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

JPO Will Pay IP Insurance Fee for SME

It was reported that Japan Patent Office (JPO) will introduce a new IP insurance system for small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) in 2016. This insurance is against IP litigation where SME infringes other party's intellectual property rights abroad. Surprisingly, JPO will go halves with chamber of commerce in such IP insurance fee for SME. The company doesn't have to pay insurance fee, but pay member fee of the chamber of commerce. This is a measure to support overseas expansion for SME.

JPO may conduct preliminary review, but there is no information about it. I don't think of JPO as being such a risk taker. 

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Takeda Pharmaceutical Partners with Teva to Establish a New Company to Sell Generic

Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Ltd. announced on Nov. 30 that they will establish a new company with an Israeli pharmaceutical company Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. after next spring to sell generic drugs. Teva holds 51% of shares, while Takeda holds 49%.

Behind this background, Japanese government is planning to increase prescription rate of generic drugs to more than 80% by 2020, to reduce medical expenses. Therefore, Takeda needs to focus on development of new drugs. Takeda will transfer sale of off-patent drugs to the new company.

Interestingly, as introduced in this blog on Nov. 19, the Supreme Court made a decision which expands the possibility of Patent Term Extension (PTE) being approved for drug patents. The government may be sending the message that new drug development companies should give up making a profit from the drugs that went off-patent and should focus on the development of new drugs, in return for flexible operation of PTE. 

Takeda's Press Release