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Research Activity Summary of FY1996

 
1. Research and Study on the Actual Condition of the Distribution and Utilization of Intellectual Property

   It has grown to be an important issue to improve the distribution of intellectual property including dormant patents with a view to fostering and promoting new business based on intellectual property. For this purpose, we examined the current situations of patent agent businesses, which are engaging in matching the technological needs and seeds, and extracted successful examples of technological distribution mainly through interviewing research.

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2.  Research and Study on Civil Remedy System for Intellectual Property

   This study was conducted with a view to working out a more proper way in which damages caused by infringement of intellectual study are to be treated.
   We collected cases in which claims for damages are made with regard to infringement of the intellectual property rights and analyzed the relationship between plaintiffs' claimed amount and the decided amount by court.

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3. Research and Study on Protection and Information Exchange of Well-Known Trademarks

   In this research, we studied ways of protection for well-known trademarks, the applicable laws and their practical application in APEC member countries and European countries by submitting questionnaires to the patent offices and practitioners (firms of patent attorneys). We also studied what type of information exchanges about well-known trademarks there should be, keeping in mind the trends in WIPO and APEC member countries. We discussed, in particular, publishing a list of well-known trademarks whose standards for well-known trademarks should be a wider so that they would encompass various countries' standards.

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4. Research and Study on the Evaluation of Design Development

   We extensively researched on the current situations of product and design development activities of enterprises. In this study, a particular emphasis was put on evaluating a newly-developed design, which is one of most important issues regarding design development activities, through analyzing the evaluation methods and example of its application.

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5. Research and Study on Trial System under the Amended Code of Civil Procedure

   In Japan, trials for industrial property right are provided as an administrative trial system, but many of the provisions in the Code of the Civil Procedure are applied mutatis mutandis to the trial system. Although some accompanying modifications are being made on the Patent Law and other related laws as a result of the amendment of the Code of Civil Procedure in the 1996, we further studied how the procedures for keeping confidentiality and presenting issues of point should be at the trial system, taking into consideration the factors beyond the improvement of law systems and especially the needs of enterprises and agents.

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6. Research and Study on the Issues over Claim Interpretation in Domestic and Foreign Patent Laws

   Notable cases on claim interpretation, especially on the doctrine of equivalent, have been issued in Japan and the U.S., such as t-PA cases and Hilton Davis cases. Taking these developments into consideration, we studied notable cases in recent years in Japan, the U.S. and Europe, picked up points of claim interpretation to be examined in the future, and complied basic materials.

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7.  Research and Study on the Unfair Competition Prevention Law

   With the revision of the Unfair Competition Prevention Law in 1990, trade secret has obtained stronger legal protection and is positioned to be one of the major management resources as an important intellectual property. We analyzed the trends of the court decision and academic theories, and did research on the current situations of trade secret related suits and the trade secret management at enterprises in Japan. We also discussed about possible future problems about the trade secret in Japan.

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8. Research and Study on the Relationship between Antitrust Laws and Intellectual Property Laws

   We examined the major issues situated on the boundary between antitrust law and intellectual property law, that is, 1) "Antitrust Guidelines for Licensing of Intellectual Property" in the U.S. and "Technology Transfer Block Exemption (Patent and Know How Block Exemption)" in the EU, 2) Misuse doctrine, 3) Discussions over Article 23 of Japanese antitrust law, and 4) Issues on software. We also discussed the future issues and how to respond to them.

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9. Research and Study on Settlement of Disputes over Intellectual Property

   There is supposed to be a close relation between antitrust laws and intellectual property. In order to work out more suitable civil remedy procedures for improving competition circumstances, we made comparative studies of private action procedures under antitrust laws in Japan, the U.S., and Europe. From these findings, we also discussed about the necessity for the civil remedy system against violation of antitrust laws and about what incentives are appropriate to promote a private action.

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10. Research and Study on the Protection of Intellectual Property in an Advanced Information Society

   We conducted extensive studies about the WIPO new treaties concluded in December 1996 and the draft of database protection treaty scheduled for further discussion, including its legislative history. Based on the findings, we also discussed about how the protection in Japan should be carried out, especially about copyrights.

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11. Research and Study on Professional Services for Intellectual Property Rights

   Efforts of establishing appropriate industrial property law system are under way in Asian nations. However, for the intellectual properties which are not included in industrial property, namely trade secret and copyright, its legislation and actual applications are still unknown to other countries, partially because such rights are not required to register to the authority. We, therefore, studied the various issues concerning such non-registered rights in Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam, and China, and we prepared basic materials for realizing the international harmonization of procedures concerning enforcement and dispute settlement.

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