Sunday, February 26, 2017

Japanese Megabank Launches IP Marketplace for Clients

The second largest bank in Japan, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC) will start a new fee-based business. According to Nikkei, SMBC is launching a business matching site for their client companies this April. 

Technologies, ideas, intellectual property rights, and personnel resources are traded in this marketplace. An assumed scenario is that a venture company publishes their own technologies or ideas, and a large company who has an interest in them approaches the venture company for business discussion. The trade of intellectual property rights and the mediation of personnel resources will be started this autumn. 

SMBC receives annual membership fees and contingency fees  for successful business matching in the marketplace. 

Recently, business matching services are prevalent in Japan. In the financial sector, Nomura Securities also provides a matching site for universities and companies, Nomura Innovation Market

The SMBC’s marketplace may be a closed site which is available only for their clients. If appropriate security controls are implemented in the marketplace, the users would be willing to disclose their needs and business ideas. Also, if SMBC understands their clients needs, they can promote the business matching and increase its success rate. 

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Japanese Researchers Traumatized in Military Technology Development – Dual-use Technologies Non Concealable

Controversial discussions have been conducted among researchers over Research Promotion Program for Security Technology which started in 2015. In this system, the Ministry of Defense asks for research plans for its designated themes and subsidizes the expense of the adopted researches. 

Many researchers feel nervous about their research outcome being diverted to military use, out of regret that they contributed to the development of weapons in the the Second World War.  Some makes a strong negative remark about receiving financial assistance on this program, and some takes a positive stand if it is for defense purposes.  

In response to such concerns felt by the researchers, the government offered three conditions for the program, as follows. 
  1. The contractors not restricted to publish the research results. 
  2. The contractors not receive secret information from the government, including the specially designated secrets protected under Secret Information Protection Act.
  3. The research results not designated as secret information including the specially designated secrets. 

There should be substantive questions on this matter, as below.
  • Identification of military technologies. Considering dual-use technologies, it is not easy to distinguish. Some military technologies may be diverted to civilian use and become popular, such as GPS and the Internet. Israel has become a high-tech powerhouse with the diversion of military technology to civilian sector. We should improve capabilities of development of most-advanced technologies.
  • Suitability of release of the information regarding military (or self-defense) purpose technologies. Any countries even which is not the allies can freely access to information regarding what technologies the Ministry of Defense is seeking and developing. 

For your reference, the export and disclosure of such military technology are controlled under the export control regulations. However, the disclosure of such information is allowed for filing patent applications. In addition, Japan does not have a “secret” patent system. 

In the past, Japan had the secret patent system under which inventions with military secrets are not disclosed. However, it was abolished in 1948 after the Second World War, and all the registered secret patents were released under the direction of General Headquarters of the Allied Forces (GHQ).

After that, in 2008, Japan conducted a study on the introduction of a new secret patent system which does not disclose patents of consumer technologies which have potential for diversion to military use, in order to prevent such information from being used by other countries. 

It looked positive at the introduction of the secret patent system, according to the report on appropriate management of technical information which was published in July 2008. However, the secret patent system has not yet been introduced.

I hope Japanese researchers improve their capabilities of development of most-advanced technologies, even if such technologies have potential for diversion to military use. Also, such information should be managed as a secret without filing a patent application until a secret patent system is established, and the current operation of the Research Promotion Program for Security Technology should be reconsidered. 

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Japan Supreme Court Not Approved to Delete the Google Search Results

“This badge of shame you'll show until you die.” - Les Miserables

Regarding the case where a man demanding Google delete his past criminal history from the search results, which was covered in the previous article, Japan Supreme Court made a decision on January 31.

The Supreme Court made no reference to “right to be forgotten” or “right to erase” which are recognized in EU. Instead, the court made comparative weighting between his privacy rights and right to freedom of expression on the search site. Then, the court decided that the legal profit of preventing from disclosing public the fact is not obviously superior, because the fact shown up in the search results is relating to child prostitution which is socially prohibited and punished and remains public concern, and the spread of the information is limited to some extent, considering that the fact is shown up only when his name and the name of prefecture where he lives are used in the search engine. 

For your reference, the court introduced the following six measuring factors to decide if the deletion should be approved;
  1. Characteristics and contents of the fact,
  2. The extent to which the fact spreads, and the extent of damage from the spread,
  3. Social status and power of influence of a person demanding for deletion of the information,
  4. Purpose and meaning of the article,
  5. Social circumstances when the article was published and the changes of the circumstances, and
  6. The need to mention the fact in the article.