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Research Activity Summary of FY1997

 
1. Research and Study on the Issues over Claim Interpretation in Domestic and Foreign Patent Laws (II)

   Noteworthy judgments, including Suprime Court decision on Ball Spline case and CAFC decision on Hilton Davis case, have been passed with regard to claim interpretation (especially the doctrine of equivalents) in both Japan and the United States. Considering the above situation, for the second straight year, we have looked into recent noteworthy decisions which have been handed down in Japan and the U.S. and put findings into a basic material for the future study.

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2.  Research and Study on the Economic Effects of Intellectual Properties Management

   In Japan, the importance of intellectual properties as a managerial resource has already been widely recognized in many corporations and the general public. However, the importance of intellectual properties management iteself is still not necessarily widely recognized. We have studied the present situation and actual activities of intellectual properties management in both Japanese and American corporations,and, by comparing this data, worked out the necessary information to determine the appropriate level of resources input from the viewpoint of cost effectiveness (as much as possible,.numerically.)

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3. Research and Study on Intellectual Property Rights and Competition

   With stronger protection of intellectual property rights, a better-balanced competition policy is now required more than ever in Japan, but we have only a few domestic examples which involved a disputed point between intellectual property rights and competition. Thus, we have conducted a study, through the examination of cases in the U.S.and Europe involving the enforcement of intellectual property rights, on principles and application practices of the U.S. Anti-Trust Laws and Art. 85 and Art. 86 of the Treaty of Rome, where many such precedents are available. Based on this analysis, we have investigated what a proper balance between IP protection system and the competition law in Japan should be.

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4. Research and Study on the Dispute Resolution of Intellectual Properties

   Many Japanese corporations which have business ties with Asian countries, tend to consider the use of alternative dispute resolution (ADR), however, it is also worth noting that information on ADR has not been collected to a sufficient level. Considering this situation, we have developed a basic material on the use of ADR measures for those Japanese corporations through research into ADR systems in Asian countries. In the process, we have also examined the possible advantages and disadvantages of using the newly established WIPO Arbitration Center.

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5. Research and Study on Intellectual Property Rights Protection in Asian Countries

   We have studied the situation of intellectual property protection in 10 Asian countries (China including Hong Kong, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, India, and Vietnam), such as IP-related legal system and its application; enforcement of TRIPS Agreement; and legal/practical aspects of patent licensing and technology transfer agreement. This study would provide a basis for our future cooperation with these countries in establishing better legal systems and practice of intellectual property rights protection.

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6. Research and Study on the Way of Damages Compensation and Penal Regulations in Cases of Intellectual Properties Infringement

   We have studied several issues involving intellectual properties litigation, in order to ensure appropriate remedy against the infringement. Particularly examined here were issues involving (i) problems concerning Article102 of the Patent Law, its legislative history and basic policy for its possible revision, (ii) matters relating to compensation for damages for intellectual property infringement (from an economic standpoint), and (iii) problems in practice of intellectual property litigations in Japan.

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7.  Research and Study on International Application and Registration of Trademarks

   With the globalization of economic activities, the overseas acquisition of trademark rights has become increasingly necessary. In fact, several international application and registration systems such as the Madrid Arrangement, the Madrid Protocol and the Community Trade Mark are now in operation. In consideration of the above situation, we have studied the legal systems relating to trademarks in European countries, and also studied the current situation regarding to what extent and how Japanese corporations use these systems. In addition, we have researched into what extent Japanese corporations require Japan to join the Madrid Arrangement or other relevant arrangements and reasons for this request.

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8. Research and Study on the Way of Legal Protection of Databases

   We have conducted a study regarding the way of legal protection of investments in establishing and providing databases from the view points of the necessity of protection, an advisable legal system, and requirements for the protection in digital and network society. This study have been done in consideration of the current usage of databases and contents in industries and progress of international deliberation at the WIPO and other forums.

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9. Research and Study on Issues Involving Industrial Property Rights on Digital Networks

   With the development of a network society, industrial property systems are needed to address various issues different from those ever been experienced. Among the issues to be solved in the future, we have examined the present situations with regard to the effect of patent rights on softwares to be distributed on networks and standards for deciding when or on what conditions electronic information only available on networks should be deemed as being publicly known or having the nature of a publication. Some points to be furtherly studied were developed.

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10. Research and Study on Trends of Intellectual Property Laws and Litigations in Major Foreign Countries

   In recent years, the significance of intellectual properties protection has been recognized more and more in both the U.S. and European countries, and efforts have been made to establish legal and institutional frameworks suitable for each country. This year, we have focused on and studied issues relating to the Economic Espionage Act in the U.S. and Unfair Competition Prevention Laws in Europe and the U.S. As for the Economic Espionage Act, we have studied its legislative background and history and the present situation including court cases, as well as measures how to cope with the Act for Japanese affiliated corporations in the U.S.. With regard to Unfair Competition Prevention Laws in the U.S. and European countries, we have also summarized legal systems (and historical background) in each country and examined current situation of law enforcement based on examples of court decisions.  

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

   In consideration of recent diversified services of patent attorney(s) and intellectual property divisions of corporations, we have researched the present situation of professional services relating to intellectual property rights and need of the services for domestic industries, as well as trends of services overseas. Based on this study, basic materials for studying how these services should be in the future were drawn up.

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12. Research and Study on the Use of Biotechnology Patents in Agriculture

   Biotechnology is particularly exploited in the agricultural field, while in the field,long-lasting unique traditions and customs, such as self-breeding by farmers still remain. Thus, we have focused on this self-breeding and related issues and conducted research into domestic and foreign cases, the present situation and awareness in the agri-bio industry. We have also examined the legal interpretation of these issues and have proposed some practical methods to deal with these issues.

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