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Support program for SME IP activity in Japan. WIPO forum on intellectual property and small and medium-sized enterprises 13 September 2007. Naohiko YOKOSHIMA. SME policy and patent policy coordination. SME policy and patent policy are planned and implemented by the same ministry .

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support program for sme ip activity in japan

Support program for SME IP activity in Japan

WIPO forum on intellectual property andsmall and medium-sized enterprises

13 September 2007

Naohiko YOKOSHIMA

slide3

Brief background of Japanese SME policy

SMEs are the economic base of the industrial value chain and the underpinning of the Japanese economy.
  • 99.2% of all businesses are SMEs (5.7million

entities).

  • SMEs have provided a safety net by covering

70-80% of total employment.

  • 60% of SMEs have direct or indirect

transactions with large enterprises in the

manufacturing industry.

new sme policy is to support self help efforts for innovation

Brief background of Japanese SME policy

New SME policy is to support self-help efforts for innovation…

Previous SME Basic Act (1963)

Rectify the gap between large enterprises and SMEs.

  • The New SME Act (1999)
  • Supporting self-efforts for business innovation
  • SMEs have potential in the “Creation of New

Business”, “Promotion of Market Competition”,

“Increase of Attractive Job Opportunities” and

“Vitalization of Regional Economy”

slide7

Brief background of Japanese patent system

Backlog of examinations increases and first action pendency becomes longer.

slide8

Brief background of Japanese patent system

Although an acceleration plan foresees shorter pendency…

  • Examiners 1,105 (2002) 1,468 (2006)
  • FA actions 215,288 (2002)  243,548 (2006)
  • Patent prosecution highway from 2007
  • FA pendency 26 months (2005)  11 months (2010)
  • Outsourcing patent search to the private sector (from 2005)

Additional special measures are necessary to support innovative SMEs.

slide9

Outline of comprehensive support for SMEs

SMEs need support in each stage of the“IP cycle”.

slide10

Support for strategic R&D and application

Education on the IP system and an advanced search environment helps to seek strategic R&D.

  • 700 IP seminars annually
  • Free consulting services (4,000 cases annually) at the patent office
  • 2,500 Regional IP Advisory Counters
  • Free prior art searches for SMEs (3,100 in 2006)
  • Online (1998-)/Internet(2005-) application (94%)
slide11

Special measures in patent procedure

The financial burden for application and request for examination is crucial for SMEs.

slide12

Special measures in patent procedure

Examination fee reduction/exemption are targeted to innovative SMEs and start-ups.

  • Exemption  Non-corporate SMEs reporting no profit
  • 50% reduction  Corporate SMEs reporting no profit, or innovative SMEs with;
    • More than 3% of profit invested for R&D
    • Innovative management plan
    • Fundamental manufacturing technology
    • Joint innovative business with diverse industry

The last three conditions are verified by authorities.

slide13

Special measures in patent procedure

The fee system may support strategic consideration with search support…

Half of the examination fee will be refunded if a request for examination is withdrawn before the first action.

And time is money…

All SMEs may request free “Accelerated Examination”. Average first action pendency is about 2.4 months, compared to 26 months in normal procedure.

slide14

Support for patent exploitation

Patent fee reduction helps SMEs to maintain their potential rights...

slide15

Support for patent exploitation

Matching SMEs’ patents and potential users is difficult, yet crucial.

  • Patent Licensing Advisors (106 in 2006)
  • Patent Licensing Database (21,000 licensable

patents stored in 2006)

  • Patent Business Market
  • Contracts through matching measures

130 (1999)  2,024 (2005)

slide16

Public relations with SMEs

Reaching SMEs is an initial step for support and for the patent office to know its users.

  • SMEs addresses can be obtained from patent

applications.

  • 86% of applications are made through patent

attorneys (7,000 in total).

  • Direct mailings to SMEs and patent attorneys

introducing support.

  • Annual survey of SMEs.
slide17

Additional information can be found on the JPO website: http://www.jpo.go.jp/index.htm

Thank you.