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. Japan Patent Office 2
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. 3 Brief background of Japanese SME policy
SMEs pursue more R&D in new areas. 301 101300 51100 2150 20 0% 10% More R & D in new area 20% 30%
40% 50% More R & D in competitive area 60% 70% 80% 90% 100%
More R & D in less competitive area Japan SME Research Institute, 2002 4 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 5 Brief background of Japanese patent system With a high number of patent applications and a surge of requests for examination 6 Brief background of Japanese patent system
Backlog of examinations increases and first action pendency becomes longer. 7 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. 8 Outline of comprehensive support for SMEs SMEs need support in each stage of the
IP cycle. 9 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%) 10
Special measures in patent procedure The financial burden for application and request for examination is crucial for SMEs. Application Fee until 2004 from 2004 \21,000 US$180
Special measures in patent procedure Examination fee reduction/exemption are targeted to innovative SMEs and startups. 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. 12
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. 13 Support for patent exploitation
Patent fee reduction helps SMEs to maintain their potential rights... year till 2004 From 2004 SME Exemption 1-3 \13,000+ \2,600+ 4-6 7-9 10- \20,300+ \8,100+
\40,600+ \24,300+ \81,200+ \81,200+ \0 for no profit individuals \1,300 for innovative SMEs 14 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) 15 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.
16 Additional information can be found on the JPO website: http://www.jpo.go.jp/index.htm Thank you. 17
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