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2012年5月27日 (日)

特許の国際戦略 「知財大国」中国への対策急げ



The Yomiuri Shimbun (May. 27, 2012)
International patent strategy needed against China
特許の国際戦略 「知財大国」中国への対策急げ(5月26日付・読売社説)

Taking advantage of intellectual property rights such as patents and enhancing Japan's industrial competitiveness through them will be an engine for the nation's growth. In that sense, it is urgent to implement measures regarding China, which is becoming a superpower in terms of intellectual property.

A concern for Japan is the increase in patent applications in China.

China surpassed Japan in terms of the number of patent applications in 2010. China's total--about 530,000--became the world's largest last year, exceeding the about 510,000 applications in the United States.

The Chinese government has a plan to boost the annual number of applications for intellectual property rights, including patents and rights of industrial design, to 2.5 million in 2015, nearly twice the current figure.

Reflecting this government policy, Chinese companies are apparently changing their way of thinking and trying to acquire rights on their technology as soon as possible.

In contrast, the number of patent applications was only 340,000 in Japan last year, representing the sixth consecutive year of decline. Behind this might be the fact that Japanese companies apply for patents on only a carefully selected few of the technologies they develop.

Nonetheless, the number of patent applications is one index to show the fundamental strength of the economy and the stances of companies that place importance on technological innovation. The trend of decline in Japan should be stopped.


China a hotbed of piracy

Meanwhile, China is often called a hotbed of piracy, where illicit copying of technologies developed by other countries and trademarks is rampant and causes constant damage to rights holders.

It was learned last year that a Chinese company filed patent applications in the United States for technology used in the chassis of a high-speed railway car that allegedly copied Japanese technology.

The number of disputes on intellectual property rights between China and other countries is increasing.

Apple Inc., manufacturer of the iPad tablet computer, is involved in a dispute with a Chinese company that claims it obtained the iPad trademark right before Apple.

Japanese companies doing business in China need to revamp their strategy. While implementing every countermeasure at hand to deal with piracy, they should shore up defenses of their intellectual property by more actively filing international patent applications.


Govt must support firms

Meanwhile, the Japanese government must support Japanese firms in filing international patent applications by urging Beijing to take measures to prevent violations of intellectual property rights.

We praise the Patent Agency for beginning to consider granting design rights for icons displayed on screens of personal computers and smartphones.

The necessity to protect such design rights is growing quickly. If Japan is slow in taking action, Chinese companies and others may steal their rights.

In the United States, where the patent act was extensively revised last year, President Barack Obama's administration is placing more importance on protection of intellectual property rights. Intensifying competition with the United States will also force the Japanese government and companies to strengthen their countermeasures toward that country.

The government and private sectors should work together to enhance effective utilization of the nation's intellectual property rights.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, May 26, 2012)
(2012年5月26日01時03分  読売新聞)


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